Photo posted on this forum.

A Chinese expat in Russia who dreamt of returning to China alone on horseback, Li Jing set off on 21 August 2007, giving himself a year to get to the 2008 Olympic Games. He didn't arrive until last Sunday however, with hopes of reaching the event long gone.

Li Jing crossed 9,000 kilometres, wearing out ten different horses in the process. His 19-month trip cost him 150,000 Yuan (€17,000) which he put together by emptying his savings account and borrowing money from friends. He didn't make it to the Beijing Olympics, but now he's got a new plan... London 2012, starting out in April. It's an even longer trek (17,000km), but a slightly less lonely one - this time he's travelling with two companions; an English and a Chinese friend.

Photos from the trail

Zabaikalsk, Siberia. Photo sent to us by Li Jing.


Zabaikalsk, Siberia. Photo sent to us by Li Jing.

Harbin, Heilongjiang province. Photo posted on this forum.

Place unknown. Photo posted on this forum.

Place unknown. Posted on this forum.

Ununbuir, Mongolia. Photo posted on this forum.

In the Ununbuir daily newspaper. Photo posted on this forum.

Place unknown.

"Villagers took me for a loony"

Li Jing, 46, was born and brought up in Hubei province (central China). He now lives in Moscow with his Russian wife and nine-year-old son.

I got scared sometimes when I was in Russia. When I was in Irkutsk [southeast] for example, I was attacked by three completely drunk youths. But it was in China that the trip was most difficult. The terrain makes it very difficult to travel by horse. There are no vast Siberian prairies for him to eat in. Besides, travelling by horse isn't part of the Chinese culture and people don't quite get what you're doing. Villagers took me for a loony and didn't offer much help.

I constantly thought about giving up. Each time I couldn't find a place to sleep, I was forced to carry on despite being completely depleted. But as soon as I was able to rest, I would completely change my mind. I never felt lonely - the landscapes were so incredible. It was my childhood dream to find myself like that; in the middle of nature."