The year of the Snake is winding down and the year of the Horse is dawning upon us. In China, this means the beginning of the annual "Spring Festival Rush" known as "Chun Yun," where millions upon millions of Chinese travel home to celebrate the lunar new year with their families.

While the rest of the country is scrambling and moving about China on trains and planes, five Chinese gamers went on a 12-day journey from Southern China to North Eastern China, on a route spanning over 1,400 miles (close to 2,300 kilometers).

As reported by CCTV, five Chinese gamers decided that this year, instead of taking regular transportation to return home for the spring festival, they would walk from Guangzhou, Guangdong to Ji'nan, Shandong. Forgoing the normal super crowded nature of traveling during a holiday in China, the quintet led by Mai Gufeng traveled on foot, using mobile devices to navigate.

Gamers Walk Over a Thousand Miles with Their Online Friends' Help

Setting off on New Year's Day, the group left Guangdong together, supposedly each carrying only the bare essentials and about $16.50. The idea was to travel by foot up to Ji'nan and meet up with other netizens along the way. During the journey, the group slept in McDonald's restaurants, internet cafes and the like.

Sometimes they met other netizens; in total, 43 people who they've never met face to face before. Along the way they also met with various gamers from all walks of life, who, in their day to day lives, were farmers to government employees to business folk—people whom the group had got to know during their years playing online games.

Gamers Walk Over a Thousand Miles with Their Online Friends' Help

After 12 days, the group successfully made their way up to Shandong province. The travel video was edited and uploaded onto the Chinese CCTV's "Citizen's Documentary" feature, where it garnered praise from the netizens—so much praise that it was then featured on the CCTV channel itself.

While I see no reason to doubt the story or the journey, some parts of the video felt like they were recorded by professional media people. There are scenes where all five members of the travel group are present. Of course, other netizens and people they met along the way could account for the discrepancy.

全民纪录:全民纪录之史上"最牛返乡团"[video Youku]
情义中国行 网游玩家自制春运纪录片登陆央视 [CCTV via QQ.com]

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Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @FatAsianTechie@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie