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Bangladeshi hiker sets out on world tour while fasting

Bangladeshi hiker sets out on world tour while fasting

Bangladeshi hiker sets out on world tour while fasting

Bangladeshi hiker sets out on world tour while fasting

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  • Saiful Islam Shanto, a Bangladeshi adventurer, embarked on a solitary journey around the globe.
  • The journey began in Cumilla, eastern Bangladesh, where he explored all the sites he could reach on foot.
  • The journey began from the National Parliament Building in Dhaka, to reach India and explore Central Asian republics.
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Saiful Islam Shanto, who began his adventure by hiking and exploring long-distance trails while still in school, traversed all the sites he could reach in his native Cumilla in eastern Bangladesh on foot.

Over a decade and thousands of kilometers later, he nurtured his passion, ultimately embarking on his solitary journey around the globe, which he initiated on Friday morning.

Accompanied by his father, friends, and members of various Bangladeshi adventure and hiking groups, Shanto commenced his expedition from the National Parliament Building in Dhaka. He set out to first reach India and then explore the Central Asian republics.

“I divided the world tour in seven parts for seven continents. The journey will start with Asia. From Dhaka, I will travel to Delhi through the Benapole crossing. According to the plan, from Delhi, I will take a flight to Uzbekistan and travel to other Central Asian countries,” the 28-year-old traveler told the News.

“Following that, I will either travel to the Middle East or to Russia and China through Mongolia. The plan may change depending on the situation. Maybe after traveling Central Asia, I could go to Makkah and Madinah, which to me as a Muslim are the two most sacred places on earth.”

Imagining walking through the two holy cities has been a long-held dream for Shanto, fueled by his readings of history books and the stories narrated by his father, who spent many years working in Saudi Arabia.

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The study of history also motivated him to commence his journey during the month of Ramadan.

“In the old days, people used to observe fasting in Ramadan as they traveled to new places,” Shanto said. “I wanted to experience this in the modern age.”

Making special preparations for the Ramadan part of his expedition, Shanto will continue to fast.

After consuming the pre-dawn sahoor meal, he plans to walk 10 to 15 km until about 9 a.m., at which point he will take a break before resuming the walk two hours before breaking fast. Subsequently, he intends to complete another 10 km until iftar, after which he will walk a further 10 km.

“I practiced a lot of walking for many hours without having any food and drinks. That made me fit for walking in this Ramadan. I will travel to different new places, will have iftar and sahoor with the new people I will meet,” Shanto said.

“Ramadan is like a festival among the Muslims, and I want to enjoy this festivity with new people. This is what motivated me to begin the journey during the holy month.”

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While at school, Shanto’s friends used to accompany him, but for the past few years, all his long-distance travels have been solitary—a routine he developed after enrolling at a university in the capital.

“During my study period in Dhaka, I started exploring the city walking on foot alone. That was when I found a new pleasure in walking alone. I love to move alone and see things in my way,” he said.

“People travel by different modes, but walking is most interesting to me as it offers the opportunity to understand the socio-economic conditions and cultures of different societies. No other mode of traveling can offer this.”

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