How covid-19 outbreak aborted my 2020 hajj after 4 year journey to Saudi Arabia on bicycle-Yassine Ghallam
London, August 4, 2020 (AltAfrica)-A 34 year old Moroccan, Yassine Ghallam has told of his coronavirus headache, how the covid-19 pandemic aborted his Hajj dream after a four-year journey from Morocco to Saudi Arabia -only part of the travel he plans to continue across the world on foot.
The 34-year-old Moroccan traversed 26 African countries before reaching Jordan, which was his gate into Asia
With a 26-kilogram bag, Yassine Ghallam took off on January 22, 2017. He walked more than 5,000 kilometers, from Morocco to Senegal, over the course of six months. In Dakar, he finally decided to buy a bicycle to carry him over African roads, from West to East.
Yassine Ghallam’s journey across Africa
The African journey was marked by meeting people of several cultures, including Indigenous tribes, according to the Moroccan traveler. He considered this wide range of fellow Africans to be his family during his journey and temporary stays
Yassine Ghallam caught malaria seven times while crossing the African continent, was hit by a car, and had his bike stolen. However, he kept up his efforts.
The 34-year-old Moroccan traversed 26 African countries before reaching Jordan, which was his gate into Asia.
“The 2017 Yassine is not the same Yassine as today, my vision for things is now different. The city and the country in which I lived cannot give me the answers to all the cosmic questions,” Yassine told a host of Jordan television show Youm Jadded. He added that he also discovered himself and his hidden energy.
Yassine Ghallam, who worked as an electromechanical technician in Morocco, began his journey with $0 in his pocket. He financed his travel by occupying temporary jobs, including translator, cook, mechanic, dish washer, and more
The young Moroccan barely needed money during his journey in Africa. The traveler told Egyptian outlet Sada Elbalad that whenever he tried to pitch a tent, the chief of an African tribe would intervene and invite him home. Yassine saw this as an opportunity to learn more about their daily lives and hear their stories.
The Moroccan adventurer also revealed that he only spent $300 in Egypt in four months, from selling photos and videos.
After traversing the continent, North, South, East, and West, he crossed the Gulf of Aqaba into Jordan and journeyed on to Saudi Arabia.
From Morocco to Saudi Arabia: Yassine Ghallam’s surprise welcome
Saudi Arabia is the 28th country in Yassine Ghallam’s journey from Morocco, and he has so far been in the Gulf nation for seven months.
Following the steps of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, who moved from Mecca to Madinah in the year 622, Yassine Ghallam also crossed the Saudi desert. He walked across the sands for more than 500 kilometers.
Yassine’s intention was to stay in Madinah until Hajj season, but the COVID-19 outbreak prevented him from doing so. Saudi Arabia imposed restrictions on Hajj that only allowed a limited number of pilgrims this year. Due to this, Yassine Ghallam only performed Umrah, and plans to do Hajj next year.
During his stay in the south of Saudi Arabia, some Saudi fans who had been following his journey managed to catch up with the Moroccan man by car. They met him on the road, where he was riding his second bicycle and heading to his tent.
The men stopped Yassine, filming the interaction, and invited him for a cup of coffee. That’s when the group of fans expressed their admiration for his courage and dedication. They offered him a caravan in which he could stay during the rest of his time in Saudi Arabia.
The group of fans offered to take care of Yassine’s expenses for next year’s pilgrimage. They also offered to cover Hajj expenses for his parents, as well as his brother.
Yassine Ghallam told his fans on YouTube that he had been planning to purchase a camel in Saudi Arabia to carry through for the rest of his trip around the world. The plans, however, did not work out due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The young Moroccan’s initial objective was to travel around the world in six years — before the pandemic disrupted his timeline — including performing Hajj in Mecca. He has pledged to document his full journey in a book titled “Moroccan on the Road.”