Some people have it pretty hard. Most of them don’t complain. They just go on with their burden.
The shocking truth that you will discover if you start traveling the world, is how many people have to struggle for daily survival. And I mean struggle. Asia is one of the places that will teach you to appreciate what you have. Or make you give it all up and go back to the basics.
The thing is, their entire existence is hard but simple. Thus, they have simple joys, that are easier to achieve when compared to ours. And usually more meaningful. I think that’s why many westerners are fascinated when they see these people smiling very often and looking surprisingly happy, even if they don’t have the latest iPhone, or even heard of it.
The kind of work people do varies greatly from place to place. Some spend their lives in the rice fields, others are fishermen, others cook on the street for tourists from sunrise to midnight and some climb thousands of steps every single day of their lives, with more than their body weight on their shoulders.
I photographed this man while climbing the Huangshan Mountain in China. It has steps carved in rock from the bottom to the top. But if you think that makes it easier, you are so wrong… Instead of the usual zig-zag going up the mountain, in this case the trail goes mostly straight up, meaning it’s a lot steeper. It will literally take your breath away even if you don’t have more than a bottle of water in your backpack. And while you’re working your way up, you’ll see these guys carrying incredible weights with a steady pace. They carry everything the hotels on the top need. Even the hotels themselves, piece by piece, when they’re building new ones. One climb usually takes about 5 hours, while the descent takes about 2 or 3. They do this twice per day. Every day.
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