Bingbing Li made a stop at Cal Poly Feb. 13, spreading his message of “unconditional love for all” on his quest to walk across the globe. A Chinese native and Canadian citizen, Li has walked down the West Coast from British Columbia for one year and two months.
At his Cal Poly stop, the 46-year-old man stood lean yet strong next to a white box, shaped like a house on a set of wheels in the middle of the University Union Plaza. Messages and information about his plan to spend the next 24 years walking across the globe were scrawled all over the box.
“I’m doing this to help everyone including myself reach 100 percent peace,” Li said.
Li said he wants to make the world a better place by the time he concludes his walk. Upon embarking on his journey, he left everything behind: family, friends, a home and technology. Sleeping outside and asking for nothing more than a little bit of food, he has found a way of living that he says brings him the most peace.
“I have been trying to be as poor as possible, voluntarily and willingly, and I have found a lot more peace deep within myself,” Li said.
Li said he received a degree in aerospace engineering in China and later moved to Canada in hopes of finding a job in his field. When he was unable to, he opened a restaurant and managed it independently. Li said as he approached his 40th birthday, he fell into a deep depression that led to 30 suicide attempts over four years.
“It was the morning after my last suicide attempt that the idea came to me,” Li said.
Li will be in San Luis Obispo until Feb. 16 and then will walk to Los Angeles for his next big stop. From there, Li said he will make his way to the East Coast for a six-year trek across the U.S.
Throughout his walk, Li’s main messages are about unconditional love, downsizing and leaving minimal physical impact on the world.
For those who stopped to listen and talk with him, they were greeted by a smiling Li who shared his ideas on simplifying life. When they left, Li sent them off with a cheerful, “Let’s save the world together!”
Liberal arts and engineering senior Jason Ismail listened to Li’s speech and said he hopes to spread peace like Li.
“I’m finding a place where I can minimize,” Ismail said. “Almost everything I have in my life I use or I think about every day. I’m at least at that point in where I have purpose in everything in my life.”
Li has visited 30 college campuses to spread his message. He said at each campus, he hopes to inspire students who he believes are the building blocks for the modern world we live in. He said 25 people have promised to join him on his journey. Though none have yet, Li said he’s hopeful they will meet up with him in the future.
“University students are young, open-minded, searching for a better way forward, rather than being complacent living the way everyone’s living,” Li said.
Although Li can’t share his message on the Internet himself, he will allow his image to be shared with others online and in the news for the next several years. However, after completing a third of his journey, Li said he will completely cut himself off, living independent from society.
“I think the most important thing is to live loving all living things unconditionally,” Li said. “I live by this, I try to talk the talk and walk the walk.”