It is such a scary and daring thing to live alone by yourself, but this Chinese man has managed to survive in complete isolation for 10 long years. Liu Shengjia was recently discovered living all by himself in the completely abandoned village of Xuenshanshe, in northwest China’s Gansu Province, after his mother and brother’s death over a decade ago. Xuenshanshe village was once home to about 20 families, but was slowly abandoned by its residents as resources became scarce. Families ended up moving away to towns and cities in search of work, and those left behind eventually passed away.
By 2006, he was left alone to take care of his bedridden mother and younger brother, both of whom died within a year, making him the only inhabitant of the village. Anyone else in his position might have left for better prospects, if only for fear of losing their mind to loneliness, but Liu stayed behind and made a life for himslef.
According to The Peoples' Daily, Liu said: “In the beginning, I wasn’t able to sleep at night while listening to the howling of wild dogs. But after I started to tend a few sheep and they’ve become my companions, I slowly got used to living alone.”
Liu admits that there are some perks to having a village all to himself, like getting to sleep in whichever house he likes, but the hardships definitely outweigh them. Not only is he completely devoid of human company, but he also has to trek for miles regularly in order to get basic supplies like food and drinking water. He does have cellphone coverage, though, and even a job to keep him busy – he works at the local forestry protection station and earns 700 yuan ($108) a month.
Despite having become accustomed to a life on complete and utter loneliness, Liu Shengjia says he intends to one day leave his native village behind. “Surviving here is not a problem for me, but I still prefer to move to a more populous area when the time comes,”he said. As to when that may be, he didn’t say.
Xuenshanshe is an example of the growing number of ‘ghost villages’ in China, where vast numbers of rural laborers choose to leave their traditional homes in search of better opportunities in towns and cities. 250 million Chinese citizens are expected to move out of villages and into cities by 2030.