The journey to the capital of Kazakhstan took approximately two months.
Yesbol Askaruly, an ethnic Kazakh, has become a social media sensation after walking from China to Astana. Carrying only a large backpack with a tent and essential items, he covered approximately 3000 km on foot. In an exclusive interview with Sarbaz.kz, Yesbol shared his reasons for taking this remarkable journey and the challenges he faced along the way.
Born and raised in China, 26-year-old Yesbol Askaruly began his journey from his native region, Manas, in the Chanzhi-Huay Autonomous District of the People's Republic of China.
"Kazakhstan is a place left by our ancestors, a sacred place. We respect and honor our batyr-ancestors, from whom we have inherited this land. So, I wanted to see everything with my own eyes and travel across this land,"- Yesbol said.
The young man has stated that he was also inspired by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's visit to China in 2019.
"During that visit, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivered a speech in Beijing, and it was shown on Chinese television. He spoke in Kazakh, and we were all impressed by his words. In that speech, he emphasized the significance of the word “kandas” (kaz. “қандас”- Blood-Mate). I vividly remember when the President said, 'We don't have “oralmans”, we have “kandas.” We heard that, and understood that if we decide to return to our homeland, we will be warmly welcomed. Remembering these words, I decided to embark on my journey."
During his months-long travel, Yesbol has worn out three pairs of sneakers and occasionally slept in rather perilous places.
"There were many difficulties on this journey. I crossed small deserts and traversed areas where wild animals roam - bears, wolves. But I was not always alone. Sometimes my compatriots joined me and accompanied me for a part of the way. So, I wasn't afraid. I walked 40-50 km daily," - Yesbol recalls.
After this incredible journey, Yesbol plans to stay in Kazakhstan. He has already applied for Kazakhstani citizenship.
"I am in Kazakhstan for the first time, and everywhere I go, I encounter kind and hospitable people. I have fulfilled my dream of seeing the land of my ancestors with my own eyes, breathing this air. It's an incredible feeling. Perhaps my story will inspire other kandas living abroad to return and live in Kazakhstan."
During his journey, Yesbol was greeted in various settlements and was provided with food and shelter. Yesbol Askaruly is an economist by education and speaks three languages - Kazakh, Chinese, and English.