Feature

Egypt’s Youngest Solo-Cyclist Returns Home After Five Months

Egypt’s Youngest Solo-Cyclist Returns Home After Five Months

Galal Zekri-Chatilla upon returning to Cairo. Credit: Galal Zekri-Chatilla's Facebook page.
Galal Zekri-Chatila upon returning to Cairo. Credit: Galal Zekri-Chatilla’s Facebook page.

By Nada Deyaa’, Daily News Egypt

Last Friday, while returning to his home town Cairo after completing 7,000km on the road with his beloved bicycle, as part of the Cairo Half Marathon, cheers from the participants welcomed Galal Zekri-Chatila, who had just ended his journey around Egypt.

While trying to promote domestic tourism, Zekri-Chatila, who hit the road five months ago with only the basic needs for survival, never thought that the day he returned from his journey would see so many people waiting and celebrating his success.

“I never thought I would find this huge amount of interaction from people,” he said. Being stopped every now and then in the middle of the marathon for a selfie or people screaming his name out loud, were all new experiences for him. “It was like I’m a celebrity!” he laughed.

Recalling the start of his 145 days away from home, he assured that he would never have changed anything he went through.

Zekri-Chatila wanted to prove to people that Egypt is safe, and that all the terrorism people hear about from is far away from the nature of “pure-hearted Egyptians”. It was also a trip for him to also follow a dream that he always believed was impossible to achieve.

“We have a lot of breath-taking places at Egypt, that normal people don’t get to see every day,” Zekri-Chatila continued. “I wanted to show people these places through my camera while going after my dream.”

As for the lessons he learned from the journey, overcoming obstacles with a high spirit was on the top of the list.

galal2

“There were days when I would wake up at the morning forcing myself to ride the bicycle without feeling the spirit of doing anything, but going back to sleep in the middle of nowhere, the temperature would be extremely high and my muscles would be sore. But reminding myself of my goal and the success waiting for me would always keep my legs moving on the pedal,” he said.

Also, he remembers the day a severe sand storm hit his path, at a speed of 70km/h leaving him struggling just to complete 1km.

“We face challenges, sometimes they are really tough, but as long as you’re moving, you’ll reach somewhere,” he said.

The obstacles he faced changed the way Zekri-Chatila thinks about a lot of things; another benefit of the trip from his point of view. “Now I know for sure that I can’t change what’s happening around me, but I can change the way I look and deal with it,” he added.

“No matter how hard it got, I never gave up on my goal or my dream,” he mentioned.

Moreover, the time spent with one’s self is precious, and a must have for everyone, in his point of view.

On the happy moments of his trip, he spoke of the moment he reached his destination every day, and realise he had accomplished the mission of that day, and the number of sunrises and sunsets he had the chance to witness every day.

Zekri-Chatila considers the things he gained from the trip to be priceless. “People master their working fields, and that trip was my master at the thing I love the most, which is travelling and adventure,” he said.

Galal is now compiling the scenes and pictures he took from the trip into a movie and writing a book about the gains from living such an experience.

His next plan is to look for another trip, “but [which] definitely includes, adventure, travelling and film making,” he concluded.

Check out Egyptian Streets’ Interview with Galal From When He Was On The Road

71 Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torching Church in Egypt
No Parliamentary Elections In Egypt Until After Ramadan


Subscribe to our newsletter


Feature
@DailyNewsEgypt

Daily News Egypt is a completely independent news provider for Egypt and the wider MENA region.

More in Feature

El Nokta: How Egyptians Use Jokes To Vent

Mona Abdou28 November 2021

It’s A Man’s World: Exploring the Double Lives of Arab Men Through Art

Mirna Abdulaal25 November 2021

Library of Alexandria: A Lost Millennium of Knowledge

Mona Abdou23 November 2021

Rayya and Sakina: The True Story Behind Egypt’s Notorious Serial Killers

Nadine Khaled16 November 2021

How Egyptian Platform ‘techQualia’ Aims to Localise AI and Bridge Knowledge Gaps

Mirna Abdulaal16 November 2021

Could 2021 Be the Year Salah Becomes Egypt’s First Ballon d’Or Winner?

Amina Zaineldine7 November 2021

‘Muslim-American Women are Not a Monolith’: Egyptian-American Filmmaker Iman Zawahry

Mirna Abdulaal5 November 2021

Locals Struggle as Tourists Have Egypt All to Themselves

Gregory Holyoke13 October 2021