In countries with traditional gender roles, women rarely get to choose what they want in life.
Familial and societal pressures often force them to take on domestic responsibilities and care for their husband, children, and in-laws—everyone but themselves.
Consequently, their own needs and desires are neglected.
One woman in China, however, decided to do what she wanted for a change, and accidentally became a feminist icon in doing so.
56YO Chinese Retiree Goes on Solo Road Trip Around China; Shares Her Journey With More Than 1.35M Followers
After years of carrying out domestic duties as a wife, mother, and grandmother, Madam Su Min embarked on a solo road trip across China and has been travelling for the last six months.
She spends every night alone in a rooftop tent above her car and eats her meals in parking lots. While that may not sound like the ideal lifestyle for some, she’s brimming with joy.
Not just that, she’s also provided some hope and comfort to more than 1.35 million followers on social media.
Unlike most Instagram travellers, it’s not the picturesque images that Mdm Su uploads that has garnered so much attention.
In her travel posts, the 56-year-old also talks about her abusive marriage and dissatisfaction with domestic life, something many of her female followers can relate to.
As The New York Times noted, this has made Mdm Su into something of a feminist icon.
“Before, I thought I was the only person in the world who wasn’t happy,” she said. It was only after sharing her videos did she realise that there were so many others like her.
Both old and young women share their troubles with Mdm Su; for the latter, Mdm Su often gives advice about marriage and child-rearing.
One such comment read: “I wish my mother could be like Auntie Su and live for herself, instead of being trapped and locked in by life.”
Couldn’t Leave Abusive Marriage Due to Social Stigma
Mdm Su married her husband at the age of 23, five years after moving to Henan, China to work in a fertiliser factory.
Though they had only met a few times, Mdm Su agreed to marry him because she was tired of the countless chores she had to do at home.
But marriage proved to be far worse, as she was forced to take on even more housework and suffered physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her husband too.
Despite this, Mdm Su never thought about leaving her husband due to the social stigma around divorce.
Even after her kids grew up, Mdm Su still had to stay at home to take care of her grandchildren.
She was depressed and lonely, but then one travel video changed everything.
In 2019, Mdm Su stumbled upon a video of someone on a solo road trip. She had never travelled before that, but had always wanted to because of the freedom it granted.
So, she kept watching road trip videos and taking notes on how to save money until one day, she decided to do it herself.
Once her grandchildren entered preschool, the 56-year-old embarked on a solo trip with a small white Volkswagen hatchback she bought several years earlier.
Her family was against the idea, but Mdm Su went ahead with her plans anyway, and she couldn’t be happier.
“I’ve been a wife, a mother and a grandmother,” Mdm Su said. “I came out this time to find myself.”
“Now that I’ve finally come out, now that I want to leave behind that life, I need time to let it melt away,” she said. “There are many things that, as time passes, may have an outcome you never imagined.”
Feature Image: Weibo (50岁阿姨自驾游)