India, the final stop for globetrotting Egyptian
"I am making real my 14-year-old dream of travelling the world. As a kid I was constantly obsessing about travelling, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures. One ought to stay focused and positive. Good things happen to people who believe," he says during his stopover here. He is scheduled to visit Mumbai and Jaipur too.
Haggagovic raises the Egyptian flag in every country he visits, hoping to represent Egypt at an international level and proving his ineffable passion for travelling. Haggagovic defied convention, gave up his job and sold his flat in Cairo to facilitate his travel expenses.
"I have had to make difficult decisions in my life to pursue my passion. I quit my job and sold my flat as I needed funds for my travels. My girlfriend and I split up as it would be challenging for us to spend time apart. Now I don't have a job, house or family but I am pursuing my dream. My travels are not politically or religiously motivated. I just wish to unite mankind on the grounds of freedom, happiness and peace," he says.
Haggagovic, who is referred to as the "Unusual Ambassador of Egypt" wishes to promote benevolence and goodwill and feels very strongly against racism. The voyager hands out his country's flag, stickers and other keepsakes bearing the slogan "Happiness is Contagious" accompanied with his dancing silhouette.
On a tattered sheet of paper, carefully held together by strips of cello tape, Haggagovic carries a to-do list prepared when he was 14 years old. Most of the items jotted in crooked letters and mirroring his dreams and aspirations have been ticked off.
Others like his desire to travel on the roof of a train in India still remains undone. Assuming his wish was inspired by Bollywood's unrealistic impressions of entertainment, it was understood he saw something similar in a music video or movie but Haggagovic was quick to reject the idea.
"When I was young I saw pictures of people sitting rather comfortably on the roof of a train. It was not in a movie. I wish to do the same before I leave. I need to cross that off my list," he says.
The Egyptian messenger of peace and goodwill travels with a cameraman who helps him document his journey. Haggagovic is currently touring with Mohamed El Kahky, a dentist by profession who has accompanied the traveler for his Asian expedition, "Finding India from Japan through Indonesia".
The duo travelled through Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and back to India, covering thirteen countries. Previously photographer Ahmed Zoky accompanied him. "I am a dentist but I decided to travel with Ahmed Hagga for this trip and it has been a great learning experience. Photography was a hobby but under the tutelage of Haggagovic I have grown a lot," says Kahky.
Describing his trans-Siberian journey as his biggest experience Haggagovic believes he does not have adventures only experiences. "I am lucky to have interacted with people from all over the world, experiencing such rich and diverse cultures.
My greatest experience was my trans-Siberian trip when I spent 10 days on a train from Moscow to Vladivostok in the freezing cold. The train had no heating system and I would wake up my photographer every time the train stopped at a station so we could continue filming my documentary," he says.
Haggagovic who worked while he was in Brazil, Portugal and Argentina to pay for his travel expenses, speaks Arabic and English, and learned Spanish, Portuguese, and French during his journeys.
Haggagovic wishes to publish a book or release a documentary encompassing his experiences as a globetrotter in order to share with people the importance of peace, unity and happiness and to promote the essence of Egypt at a global level.