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    Couples find ideal place at the end of a long road

    Tourists visit Jinli, a traditional lane in Chengdu, which is home to teahouses, bars, restaurants and shops. Photos by Zhu Xingxin / CHINA DAILY

    Chengdu is renowned for its livable environment and the laid-back way of life, so it is hardly surprising that even those suffering from severe wanderlust are prone to decide that this is the place for them once they come across the city in Southwest China.

    One of those is Gu Shaoqiang, who two years ago caused a bit of a stir on social media.

    “The world is so big, and I want to explore it,” the teacher said in a resignation letter to her bosses at a middle school in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

    However, today, instead of still being on the road in some distant corner of the planet, Gu Shaoqiang has settled down and found fulfillment in an ancient town in Chengdu called Jiezi.

    Gu says she never expected to stay in Chengdu. She went with her husband Yu Fu to Yunnan province, where they met each other for the first time.

    Before setting out they hiked on Qingcheng Mountain in northwestern Chengdu and visited Jiezi at the base of the mountain. That day’s visit made her decide to stay.

    “I’m sure this is the way God planned things,” she says. “Everything seems so natural.”

    The couple opened an inn in the town, held a wedding there and raised a daughter.

    “Life here is simple, as it should be. The clean air, fresh vegetables, mountains and rivers, history and culture. … These are just what we need and want.”

    An artist performs magical mask-changing Sichuan Opera in Chengdu.

    She named the inn Yuangui, which means “coming back from far away”.

    “We hope every one of our guests, no matter how many roads they have traveled, can find a feeling of home and rest their soul here.”

    Another couple who have settled down in Chengdu are Zhang Xin and his wife Wang Xinhui, from Beijing, who run a homestay in Luodai township, in Chengdu’s east.

    Luodai, an ancient town established during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), is known as the largest gathering place for Hakka people in Southwest China.

    Zhang went to France after graduating from the Beijing Dance Academy. He worked with the Jeune Ballet de France and Opera de Paris, and won awards in the Lausanne International Ballet Competition and the Shanghai International Ballet Competition.

    After living abroad for 13 years he returned to China in 2009 and met Wang at the Beijing Dance Academy, where both worked as teachers.

    They wanted to live a more relaxed life, they said, so they began looking for a place where they could settle down.

    “We went to Hainan, Yunnan, Guangzhou, Wuhan, all over the country. Finally, we came to Chengdu and found out this is just the place we were looking for,” Zhang said.

    “Chengdu is a city with rich and inclusive culture, as well as laid-back lifestyle, a bit like Paris,” he said.

    Zhang plans to establish a vineyard on nearby Longquan Mountain and introduce grapes from Bordeaux, where he lived for six years.