Yu Guohua, 87, a female veteran, signed up for a 13-day arctic tour in October 2019 and joined the tour group alone.
With short hair and small stature, Yu is full of energy and looks much younger than her age. She traveled to the Antarctic four years ago on a 19-day trip and was the oldest member of the 45-person tour group.
During that trip, Yu made 14 flights and traveled more than 55,000 kilometers, visiting Sao Paulo, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu, Ushuaia, Buenos Aires and other South American cities and the Antarctic continent.
"When I was young, I climbed snow-capped mountains, but I had never been to an iceberg," Yu said. After the trip to the Antarctic, her desire to set foot on the North Pole grew stronger.
Yu prefers to travel with light packs whether near or far away. "When you are out, don't let your belongings become a burden," she explained. The habit of reducing the luggage also has root in her experience in the army.
In March 1950, Yu joined the army at the age of 17. In November of that year, she took part in the Chinese People's Volunteer Army as a medical officer. Every day, she marched with 20 kilograms of supplies including rations and two grenades.
Going through severe living conditions and harsh tests of survival in the war years greatly tempered Yu's will. After retiring from the army, she became a doctor in Hangzhou, a city of East China's Zhejiang Province.
It is inconceivable that such a spirited elderly woman battled a serious medical condition for 15 years. Yu suffered an injury to her waist at work in 1965 after which she was in bed for 15 years.
Hit by both mental and physical blows she quickly readjusted her life. She did special arm exercises even while lying in bed to build up her body.
Now, Yu is in good health and often participates in square dances and traditional Chinese bodybuilding exercises with her old friends.
Traveling is Yu's biggest passion now, helping her to learn more about the world and broaden her horizons.
Yu has visited more than 40 countries in company with her husband. Because he has been in declining health, she decided to take a trip to the Antarctic Region by herself.
"Despite what people say, I actually don't have much money. I save money to spend on things that I love to do. My favorite hobby now is traveling, which helps to open my mind and increase my understanding of the world," she said.
(Source: China's Veterans/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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