Monday, October 15, 2007

Russian wants to traverse the world by 2010

• Heads to Pokhara from City on foot
• Aims to act in Bollywood flicks

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, October 14:

After travelling in Kathmandu for a week, 33-year-old Russian world-traveller Sergej Chikachev headed to Pokhara on foot today.
He was uncertain of his future when he left his home near Moscow on August 2004 with some 2,000 US dollars in his pocket, but as time passed, after going through ups and downs on the way, he is now pretty sure that he would leave his footprints in 100 countries by the end of 2010.
“What you need during long-distance travelling is your brain. You need language, friends, information, attention and curiosity, but on top of it all, brain guides you all the way,” he said talking to this daily.
Most of the time, he travels on foot. With a 35-plus-kg rucksack on his back, he has walked over 10,000 kilometres till date. “Among others, I cannot forget walking across the Gobi desert and the dense jungle of Indonesia,” he said, adding that he had to draw water from fog using a cup and T-shirt when he was lost in the Gobi desert. Still, he thinks the frost, snowfall, hunger, thirst and fatigue in Tibet are the most unbearable.
He has travelled in dozens of countries in Asia, but he has never stayed in any hotel or guesthouse. He always finds friends in new countries, who offer him bed and meals. He said: “Besides food and bed, I get information about the country.”
From Russia, he travelled across Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia before going across scores of small countries in the Pacific and then to China again.
“Apart from walking, I hitch-hike or get free tickets — for bus, train, ship and even for airplanes in business class. I don’t beg, they offer me,” he said.
He spent most of his money in acquiring a visa. “I wish the whole world terminates the visa system; international travel would become tremendously easy if that happened,” he said. Quite often, language causes problem for him. By using Esperanto language, he contacts the local people, who help him on the way.
After travelling in Nepal, he is planning to go to India, where he aims to work as an actor in Mumbai.
Then, he will proceed to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Africa, Latin America, the USA and Europe. “After completing this round, I will travel around the world on an off-road vehicle,” he said.
He shares his experience by writing articles in a Russian web magazine “Argumenty A Facty”, the remuneration from which goes to his wife and son.