New Delhi: This 27-year-old Egyptian wants to travel to every country in the world.
So far, Ahmed Haggagovic has visited 93 countries, India being the 93rd, carrying the message of “freedom, happiness and peace”.
A massive flag he carries with him bears the signatures of people from every country he has visited.
Wherever he goes, Haggagovic gifts that country’s people papyrus bookmarks with their names in Arabic and his own in English.
The globetrotter is currently passing through Delhi on the last leg of his trip across Asia.
“Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to travel,” said Haggagovic.
His first trip abroad was to Germany. Not a stickler for itineraries or even modes of travel, he says that every journey has its own stories.
“Twelve years have passed and I have been to every continent, crossed Russia in a seven-day train ride to Siberia, travelled to Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world, crossed Mongolia and lived in the amazon basin in Brazil,” he said.
Then, he arrived in India.
“I came to New Delhi, and the first thing that happens is a monkey bites me. I spent the rest of the day in a hospital getting injections. It could happen only in India!” he said.
From monuments to people, he can’t get enough of India.
Saying India was very much like Egypt, he hoped Egyptians could find a similar sense of unity like Indians.
“Last year, we united and there was a magnificent, massive revolution, which made the world sit up and take note of Egypt and Egyptians.
“But after that, we lost that unity. It was like you baked the most wonderful cake in the world and then put sand in it.
“We need to stay united, like Indians do, despite their diversity,” he said.
Travelling half the world has not been without a price. It meant selling his house to fund his travel and not settling down, often to the indignation of his family.
But Haggagovic remains cheerful. For him, problems come later. For the moment, his thoughts are on Mumbai.
“Mumbai is my next destination. And while in India, I want to travel on the top of a train,” he said, with twinkling eyes.