A University of Nottingham student has arrived back in the UK just in time for the resumption of his course, after travelling more than 12,000 miles on the back of an 110cc scooter.
Ahmed Mashadani decided to drive from the University’s Malaysia campus — where he completed the second year of his Management degree — to Nottingham during the summer holidays, in order to raise money for the Red Cross.
On a student budget of just £1,000 and carrying only the most essential of items, Ahmad battled treacherous roads, bad weather and bureaucracy as he travelled through South East Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Driven by the challenge
After completing the epic journey, he said: “20,385 km, 22 countries, a lot of flat tyres and three months of sleeping in the ‘wild’ is now done. No more asking for directions, fighting traffic, being cold and having to deal with passport control. And I miss it all already.
“I will not remember the challenges I have faced as being as heart tearing as they seemed when they appeared, but simply as part of the whole experience. Who wants to drive halfway across the world without facing any challenges... Just driving? No sir, not me.”
But for every challenge, there was a reward. Ahmed describes the people and the experience of India, Pakistan and Iran particularly warmly, while picking his arrival in Istanbul and the return to his home town of Norrkoeping, Sweden as the highlights of his summer adventure.
He explained: “The bridge crossing over the Bosporus, symbolising the end of Asia and the beginning of Europe was just a perfect day. After not being there for a year, arriving into my hometown was also special after the cold and bike troubles that I had struggled with through Europe. It felt even better ending the day eating my mum’s food and sleeping in my own bed.
Belief is the key
“I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone thinking about doing something similar. I have proved you can do it on a low budget without much equipment. For me not planning every single step was my greatest success. Meticulous planning can heighten your expectations; individual experiences will leave a greater print if you don’t expect anything beforehand.
“We might be afraid of some of the places we go through and wonder if we are capable of overcoming some of the challenges we might encounter. But we have more capacity than we allow ourselves to believe. I would say that anyone with some spare money in the bank and a little bit of belief can do this.”
The experience of overcoming the challenges faced, as well as the people he met and the countries that he explored has convinced Ahmed to pursue further challenges on the completion of his degree. A world record attempt and a polar expedition have already been pencilled in, but for the moment Ahmed is looking forward to getting back to his books and meeting up with his course mates.
Having waved Ahmed off on the start of his travels, Vice-Provost of Teaching and Learning at UNMC Professor Stephen Doughty, is delighted that Ahmed has arrived safely in Nottingham.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted that Ahmed has completed his epic journey. He will be a model for many more students to realise their potential. It is typical of a Nottingham student to want to push the boundaries, experience the world around them and overcome challenges, while at the same time raising money for a worthy cause. I am sure that Ahmed’s journey from the Malaysia Campus back to the UK will be one that he will remember for many years to come and will add to his memories of his time in South East Asia.”
If you would like to hear more about Ahmed’s incredible journey, please visit the GoingNotts blog or facebook page.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia; according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2012, ‘Of all the British universities, Nottingham has embraced internationalism the most.’ It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK by application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…