Finding romance in an unfamiliar place

Love makes the world go ‘round: Fan and his fiancee Chee, who is from Johor Baru, are exploring the many sights in Malaysia including Kampung Baru Sedenak in Johor.

JOHOR BARU: A man from China, who decided to take a solo trip around the world in a minivan after his girlfriend of six years jilted him, finally met the woman he will marry in Malaysia after travelling across six continents.

Fuelled by the desire to see the world and heal from the heartbreak brought on by the break-up, Fan Yu Hu from Shanghai beat the odds and visited 77 countries across Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Australia/Oceania and Europe before entering Malaysia via Johor in March.

The 50-year-old former commercial director said his solo journey, which began about four years ago, also earned him a spot in the Guinness World Records for travelling 200,000km alone at one time, covering the countries he visited in a minivan.

“However, my journey was met with challenges such as language barriers and the lack of funds but the Internet and the generosity shown by the many helpful and friendly locals I met along the way kept me going.

“While fulfilling my greatest dream to travel the world, it was also my goal during my travels to find someone I can spend the rest of my life with.

“I met many women throughout my journey but our relationships never lasted long as we had different views towards life and travel, ” he said in an interview.

What was supposed to be a five-day trip in Malaysia soon turned into a long one of more than nine months due to border closures enforced on March 18 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

“I had planned to head north all the way to Thailand and Laos to enter China via the Yunnan province before heading back to Shanghai, which was the starting point of my long journey.

“Since I am here, I took the opportunity to explore all parts of Peninsular Malaysia as I was also planning to write a book about my travels.

“While stranded in Malaysia, I met a 31-year-old woman via Facebook and we hit it off instantly as it was also her dream to travel the world. I eventually proposed to her because our goals and outlook in life aligned, ” Fan added.

His fiancee Chee Shin Yi, from Johor Baru, said meeting Fan was a stroke of fate as the pandemic had led to her decision to return to Malaysia after quitting her freelance media job in the Philippines in March.

“As he was looking for someone to help him with his book, he got in touch with me via Facebook where I also posted that I was looking for job opportunities in the country.

“From there, we started chatting and I found him very intriguing.

“I was freelancing in Kuala Lumpur at that time while he was in Johor and he took a trip to the capital just to meet me. I was touched by his gesture and agreed to start a relationship with him, ” she said.

Chee added that she was also a big fan of travelling and had since joined Fan in travels and they were both currently spending time in Kelantan and visited new places throughout the country.

“We are now waiting for the borders to reopen so that we can travel back to Fan’s home in China where we will get married and settle down for about a year.

“The age gap between us is not an issue for me and both our parents also approve our relationship.

“We hope that we can soon put the pandemic behind us so that we can explore the world together as a newly-wedded couple and make new memories together, ” she said.

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