Najmun Nahar’s childhood was different from most of her friends. Her father had different plans in teaching her the lessons of life, which ultimately scattered her soul all over the earth. And having visited some 125 countries across the globe in the last nine years, you could say her body seems determined to match her soul.
“My father used to tell me that I was not meant to be confined within the four walls like other girls of my time,” Nahar told UNB on a recent visit to the Cosmos Group’s headquarters in Dhaka. “In my childhood, I watched flying birds, butterflies which moved me to extend myself, cross my limitations and just go on and on.”
Another reason fuelling her wanderlust, she says, is her love of cartography - the study of maps and mapmaking. “I used to read a lot and in those stories I could find myself wandering in different locations, I could realise that the thing I was born to do is travel,” she added.
This passion for travel runs deep in her family. Her grandfather travelled several locations in Middle East in the period of 1926 to 1931. Nahar said that her grandfather’s adventures gave her hope and served as a great inspiration.
“In his times, travelling abroad was a serious labour and risky affair. If he could’ve endured such loads, then I must too,” she said, explaining how she started out in chasing her passion.
Najmun Nahar started her journey in 2000 as a participant in the ‘India International Adventure Program’ visiting Bhopal in India. Up until 2018, she has visited 110 countries across the globe, with 32 countries covered in 2018 alone.
Already in 2019, Nahar has completed a route taking in 15 countries in Western Africa, including Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone and other countries along the Gold Coast.
“People of Western Africa in general are economically deprived but they embrace tourists like me with love. From their humble acts, I’ve learnt the language of love and harmony which connects all of humanity,” Nahar said.The young Bangladeshi got the accolade of ‘Flag Girl’ from the government of the Gambia as she carried the flag of Bangladesh all-around the globe and represented her beloved country.
She told UNB about her interactions on foreign soil introducing Bangladesh in a positive tone. “I visited many schools, colleges and other educational institutions in the countries I visited. I tried to hold a presentation in all of them to introduce Bangladesh and its culture to the students there,” she said.
Nahar is eyeing to reach the 200 mark in travelling countries across the earth within 2021.
“If I get the chance, I’ll pay a visit to Iceland again for its unearthly natural beauty,” she said when asked to name her favourite among all the destinations she has been to so far.
For those who are interested to follow her footsteps, Nahar left some encouraging and instructive words. “Our lives are short and within this short period, we all must do something; for humanity, for our country and ourselves. So I would urge our youth to be fearless and self-dependent in order to set foot out for the world,” she said, adding that one needs to be adaptive and tactful to face critical situations.
“No matter which country you reach you have to keep a cordial relation with the natives there. It will come to help in numerous ways,” she gave her insights. She also stressed extensive research on countries to lay out a tour plan and travel economically.
“It is much more convenient to visit neighbouring countries of Europe and Africa by road. I completed many trips this way,” she said. She urged the parents of Bangladeshi youth not to confine the future generation to a maze of strict rules, especially the girls.
“Now is the time to prosper as a nation for us removing the discrimination between males and females. We girls can reach unthinkable heights and my story can be an example too,” she said.
“I have a dream that one day Bangladesh will be a name that will symbolise peace and harmony. We will spread the language of solidarity and embrace every opportunity of progress,” she said in conclusion.
Clearly Nahar sees life as a learning ground where to take new lessons and keep growing, you have to keep yourself on the move.