London to Mecca for Hajj; Cancer survivor walks over 4600 km but stuck at Jordan

Amman: Here is a historical sacrifice from a British citizen who determined to walk over 4600 km from London to Mecca for performing Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage. Briton Farid Feyadi, a Manchester based fashion designer, considers his venture as ‘Walk for Peace’ aiming at dispelling the misconcepts and exaggerations about Islam. But the global pandemic came in the way of his dream just 150 km before Mecca at Jordan, where Feyadi is waiting for his chance to enter the holy city. The officials had closed the Jordan border to Saudi in lieu of the Covid 19 pandemic just before his arrival.

Feyadi (the first from right) welcomed at Italy

While the Saudi government is still considering whether to approve Hajj this year, Feyadi expects with prayers that the officials would allow him to enter Saudi. “I am perhaps the first man in history to attempt walking from London to Mecca. When I set out for this seemingly impossible mission many thought I won’t be able to make it. But here I am, on the last leg of my journey”, Feyadi said to the local reporters.

Feyadi reached Jordan on March 3rd after an adventurous self-funded journey that started on November 3rd 2019 covering 4600 km, passing 11 countries.  Five days since he started walking, he reached the port of Dover from where he boarded a ferry to Calais, France, in mainland Europe. “Great Britain is an island so I had to take a ferry; it was the only way,” he explained as he recounted his astonishing journey through many countries including Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey and Jordan.”

Feyadi was welcomed with affection throughout his route. “Strangers hosted me in their homes. People gasped in awe and admiration when I told them about the purpose of my trip. In France, Bosnia and Italy, restaurants refused to let me pay for my meals. In Albania, the owner of a hotel knitted socks for me; in Jordan and Turkey, senior government representatives welcomed me with open arms. When they learnt that I was headed to Mecca they hugged and kissed me. I am overwhelmed by everyone’s thoughtfulness and generosity,” said Feyadi during an honouring function given by a footwear brand as he used not less than 7 pairs for the journey. Feyadi, on an average, walked 30 km to 60 km per day; the longest being 83 km in a day. He used to walk at day time while choosing the night to camp. He had to face several dangers on his route. Feyadi remembers one night when wild boars had attacked his tent while he had a narrow escape. He was attacked another time by a pack of wolves; again, saved by luck and he was even bitten by a dog while covering a village in Albania. The only places where he had to discard walking was one ride through a ferry from Dover to Calais – as Britain is an island – and another through an airline from Ankara (capital of Turkey) to Amman (capital of Jordan) – to avoid civil war situations in Syria and Iraq.