I used to work 14-hour days in a factory – I quit the rat race to ‘retire’ at 21 & live in a bamboo shack I built myself

I used to work 14-hour days in a factory – I quit the rat race to ‘retire’ at 21 & live in a bamboo shack I built myself

A YOUNGSTER new to the workforce but already tired of the rat race decided to “retire” and relocate to a bamboo shack in the mountains.

Liu Youwen, 21, spent three years working labour-intensive jobs in the bustling city of Shantou in Guangdong, China before deciding he’d prefer to live a “simple life”.

A high school dropout has built himself a bamboo shack on the edge of a cliff

Liu Youwen moved here after years of labour-intensive jobs in the city

He currently earns some money from vlogging his life in the mountains

Ignoring the protests of his parents and his older brother, Youwen switched out the sounds and sights of traffic and high-rises for that of the rolling hills and rivers in China’s southwest Guizhou province.

The high school dropout built himself a bamboo shack on the edge of a cliff and settled into his new home after a stressful few years working as a car mechanic, a construction worker, and at a clothing factory.

He told CNN: “In the factory, I used to work from 8am to 10pm plus overtime, my time was not my own.

“Now I get to wake up to the sounds of birds chirping.”

But living in the mountains is not all roses, Youwen admits.

There are safety concerns – which his parents attempted to quell by installing CCTV cameras in the area around him, so they can personally keep tabs on him – and the small problem of no electricity.

The 21-year-old installed solar panels which now power his shack.

Youwen is also in the process of carving out a new career path for himself which he feels suits him better than the farm work and blue-collar jobs usually encouraged by Chinese authorities.

Each week, he uploads a vlog showcasing how he spends his days in the mountains, much like a growing number of Chinese influencers including Li Ziqi and Gen Z “retirees” Xiao Chun Zi and Xin Xin.

His videos – filmed using just a phone and a tripod – show him completing a range of tasks and enjoying the freedoms of living in the mountains, such as building a pig pen, working in a field to grow vegetables, and playing with his dogs Lucky and Flower.

Youwen said he makes a small income from his social media, through advertising and product placement, which he uses to improve his living conditions and expand his home.

One day, he said he hopes he will be able to be build a chicken pen so he can sell meat online.

With access to a television and his animals to keep him company, he claims he doesn’t struggle with loneliness as some might expect.

Since September, Youwen has racked up more 350,000 likes across all of his social media accounts – and countless comments from admirers.

One fan wrote: “He clearly knows what he’s doing, has a healthy lifestyle, unlike some other Gen Z’ers who are addicted to video games.”

Another said: “The 00’s are starting to retire, what about those of us born in the 80s?”

Others were more sceptical. One person asked: “Do you have nothing to do at home? Doing all this meaningless stuff and ‘lying flat’?”

In response to his critics, Youwen said: “Perhaps those who don’t know me would see it as a form of ‘lying flat’, but I would disagree.

“I’ve built my entire home from scratch … life in the mountains isn’t that much easier than working in the city.”

But he says it is better, and encouraged others to follow his lead.

He said: “Life in the mountains is much better than city life – even drinking water costs money in the city.”

Liu Youwen’s home on the edge of the cliff was built entirely from scratch

He admits that living in the mountains isn’t the perfect situation, but it works for him

One day, Liu Youwen hopes to be able to sell meat online

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