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在线翻译:
szdaily -> People
American businessman bikes toward dream
     2014-October-24  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Anna Zhao

    anna.whizh@yahoo.com

    MATT GALAT, a 35-year-old American who has been getting a lot of attention recently thanks to his around-the-globe trip on a custom-made three-wheeler, is in Shenzhen on a break after riding 2,000 km from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, starting on Aug. 15. He is taking an exciting trip with an entrepreneurial spirit and setting out to prove that one can always do what he or she likes.

    Getting prepared like an entrepreneur

    Galat started to prepare for the trip two years ago. He had a man-powered three-wheeler — which he calls a trike — customized in Germany. He did physical training, handed over his business in Ningbo to his partners and flew to America to visit his parents, whom he probably won’t see again for five years.

    He hitched a small trailer to his trike to carry his precious necessities: cameras, lenses, tripods, laptop, memory cards, audio equipment, tents and clothes.

    “When I told people I was doing this, I wanted them to know I was serious. I am a businessman in my heart, and I’m using my mind for business on the trip. I am stronger if I prepare this way,” Galat said.

    Born to a middle-class family in Detroit, he said his father had to work hard at different jobs to keep the family’s pot boiling but was also very creative when it came to problem solving, and creative solutions to problems can help people live an interesting life.

    “My father once told me, ‘Matt, I want you to do what you love, not what you have to.’ I always think about that,” Galat said. “Now they’re at home and are very excited for me.”

    Adventure on the way

    In the beginning, Galat had planned to go along the coast, but eventually he decided to travel through the provinces of Anhui and Jiangxi because he wants to see China’s interior.

    Riding through these areas was an amazing experience for him because he enjoyed meeting different people and hearing different points of view.

    His strange three-wheeled vehicle never fails to bring him attention along the way. Many times, small crowds would gather around him as he traveled.

    “Many people said ‘hi’ to me, which created a lot of opportunities to talk, and a smile is always the best conversation opener,” he said. “People on electric bikes and trucks would follow me to the next village. They would come up to me, drive alongside and ask me questions. Most people wondered what I was riding, and almost the first thing people asked is ‘is it powered by electricity?’”

    He was also frequently amused by the bright eyes and surprised faces of people who suddenly awoke from absentmindedness when they caught sight of him riding on his trike and would hurry to get their phones to take pictures.

    “Sometimes, I was worried that I might hurt someone because some people do ridiculous things when they see me. They would stop in the middle of traffic and cut in front of me, putting themselves in danger just to talk to me,” he said.

    Galat said he never really worried about his safety, except when dogs would bark at him. He could travel about 150 km a day, and sometimes, he had to ride all night long in uninhabited areas.

    He recalled that one day he was caught in a rainstorm in a mountainous area where he found only a little house to take a shelter in.

    “An old man came to me and I explained to him in Chinese who I was and what I was doing. He walked away, but returned with hot water and a big smile,” he said.

    In Galat’s eyes, the people he met on the way are much more important than the places.

    In Qimen, Anhui Province, an old lady who gave him a foot massage asked him why he travels so much when there are mountains and rivers everywhere. Galat replied that it was the people he met and what they talked about that made each place unique.

    “When you show somebody something they have never seen before, their reaction is amazing, like you’re giving them a gift. When you share with other people your experience, you feel good about yourself, too,” he said.

    “Their smiles are genuine. It’s like ‘jiayou (adding fuel)’ is my brand. When people smile at me, they give me ‘you’ (fuel). I am always receiving energy from people. I am happy, and things are going very well.”

    Visiting Shenzhen

    Galat arrived in Shenzhen in early October and will stay for another week before he heads for Nanning in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

    Galat, who had a brief visit to Shenzhen 10 years ago when he attended the Canton Fair, said much of the city has changed, so this is like his first visit. He said the city is comfortable with its Western-style coffee shops, especially after traveling for one and a half months mostly through small villages.

    He is staying here to refresh himself, to gather more supplies, and to get his visa renewed in Hong Kong while making visits to neighboring areas of Guangzhou and Dongguan. He said he might also look into some business opportunities while he is here.

    A few days ago, he went to an international school in Shekou, Nanshan District, to show children how he made documentaries about his trip with no help. This weekend, he will take his trike back there to do an experiment with the students on a mountain slope to see which way is more effort-saving, riding a trike or a bicycle. “I am curious about the results, too,” he said.

    Choosing a

    different path

    Galat has made nine documentaries about his journey so far. Thanks to his experience doing a TV show in Ningbo, he was able to make good quality films without any help.

    He wants to get people interested in his story and to make money from it. To continue traveling his journey is his dream — he hopes the documentaries can help him fulfill that dream.

    He said he wasn’t an ambitious traveler in the beginning, and he had nothing on his mind but making money when he arrived in Ningbo five years ago after his business in the United States went under.

    But things changed after he met his friend Brian, an American who traveled a lot without much money. “Brian showed me that money was not very important, but the spirit was. He also taught me that I don’t need money to have fun,” Galat said.

    An encounter with two men who were traveling and making a TV show further influenced his ideas on money and traveling. The duo made a video about jazz for fun but later were paid by AirAsia to make videos while traveling around the world after their videos they made previously went viral.

    Their experience inspired him to create his own plan. “Bicycle? I got it. Video camera? I got it. Freedom? I have a lot of that. I changed my life from business to travel, and I am a video traveler with no care on the world. It’s the best life,” he said.

    Galat said his goal is just to enjoy his journey, so he often made unscheduled stops whenever he arrived at an interesting place. He plans to leave his footprints across more than 100 countries on a path winding from southern China to Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Mount Everest in Nepal, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, Africa, Europe, the South Pole and South America before he reaches the United States.

    “I changed my life from business to travel, and I am a video traveler with no care on the world. It’s the best life.”

    — Matt Galat, a 35-year-old American

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