Globetrotting for peace and harmony

Globetrotting for peace and harmony

PASSING BY

Globetrotting for peace and harmony

As a kid, one must have read Around the World in 80 Days. But this young Egyptian took it rather seriously. At the age of four, when a TV presenter asked this swimming enthusiast ‘where do you want to go?’ Ahmed Haggagovic replied “Japan” and why? “Because that is the farthest country I can imagine.”

Eleven years later, he ventured to make his dream come true but by then the dream had expanded. Now he aimed to travel all over the world to spread the message of “peace and harmony.”

And since 2007, he has been globe-trotting to fulfil his dream and has travelled 92 countries so far. Now in India, Ahmed spoke to Metrolife, to share his experiences, motive and long held dream to visit India and travel on the top of a train!

“When I was a 14-year old, I shared my dream to travel all over the world with my mother but she was furious at the thought. Still when I turned 15, I left home.”

Today he says that his mother has not only given up her anger but “she is proud of me because when I go back, my people welcome me as ‘The unofficial ambassador of Egypt’.” 

The 27-year old Computer Science graduate is fluent in five languages (Portuguese, Spanish, English, French nd Arabic) yet keeps a torn yet preserved paper of his wish-list, neatly in a pouch and carries it with him wherever he goes. “I have some 30 odd wishes jotted on this and one of them is to travel on the top of a train in India.”

He goes on to add, “I have been long wanting to visit this country since it is the second most magnificent country after Egypt.” While people around the world consider Egypt as exotic, India caught the fancy of this youngster. “India has varied cultures across various states but the unity in diversity is its strength and I feel this lesson should also be learnt by Egyptians.”

Exotic or not apart, the day he landed in India, he was bitten by a monkey. “I was near the Rashtrapati Bhavan when I saw monkeys and stopped to feed them but just then a monkey pounced on my back and bit me,” he says. How did he take this unusual welc­o­me? “It was not scary but opportune because I will rem­e­m­ber it for the rest of my life. The bite on my back will rem­ain with me until I die.” But then cheekily adds, “I hope it will not lead to my death due to some infection.”

He has been to Agra and has plans to visit Jaipur and Mumbai before he leaves for Egypt. “Youth can make a change and this is what Egyptians have done post the democratic movement last year.” The interesting part is that during his visit, Ahmed strikes conversations with strangers and presents them gifts of papyrus with their names written in Arabic.

While in Delhi, he has visited Humayun Tomb, India Gate and Akshardham Temple and given people the Egyptian flag as a symbol of peace. He adds, “I want to meet Amitabh Bachchan as to me he is a very fine personality. He is more popular in Egypt than in India.”

Ahmed travels with his personal photographer and documents all his trips. Initially, he had to sell his apartment in Cairo to finance his trip but now his government is sponsoring him. For future, he is “planning to make a documentary of these trips and also write a book to fund my trips.”

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