Puducherry

She is going places, literally

Kazi Asma Azmery

Kazi Asma Azmery   | Photo Credit: S.S. KUMAR

Kazi Asma Azmery, from Bangladesh, has travelled to 115 countries and counting

Her home-town in Bangladesh may not have an airport, but a combination of passion and grit has helped Kazi Asma Azmery realise her dream of flying far and wide across the world.

The young woman from Khulna, in the city after a tour of Madurai, has visited 115 countries, and the bucket-list isn’t half complete.

Perhaps, her story could not have panned out any differently given her childhood fascination with the exploits of Ibn Battuta, the 14th century Moroccan traveller, read out to her by her mother.

Ms. Azmery began her remarkable journey of smashing gender, identity and language barriers with her small savings and by selling off jewellery which she saw no use for.

Her friends, who had visited about 25 countries, showed her that globe-trotting was not an impossible feat for a woman.

“In 2009 I resolved to explore the world beginning with Nepal” she says.

Travel blog

Ms. Azmery, who maintains a travel blog, says she chalks out her travel plans after browsing through publications like the Loney Planet and by getting inputs from her now widespread circle of travel buddies.

She has wanted to visit Puducherry ever since she watched the movie Life of Pi. Of all the places she has toured, Turkmenistan is special, she says since it commemorated her 100th journey.

She has run into her share of rough weather — once detained for over 24 hours in Cyprus and getting deported, losing passport and other belongings in Milan and starving on the street until help arrived from friends and the Embassy another time.

Extra scrutiny

Holding a Bangladeshi passport invites some extra scrutiny, she says. “I sometimes wonder why immigration authorities across the world cannot adopt a kinder view towards travellers from developing countries”.

“People everywhere are generally kind,” she said, adding “In spite of being a solo woman traveller I never felt unsafe.” Language has not been a barrier as she has communicated with sign and body language.

Ms. Azmery engages with organisations like the Red Cross and Rotary to undertake social work in the places she visits.

She shares here experience with youth on college campuses. Her advice to them is: “If you have the ambition and the patience, no goal is beyond the achievable”.

The backpacker sticks to budget accommodation and food. She foregoes the smallest of luxuries to add to the corpus of a new destination. “You won’t find me shopping for new sarees. For me, that money is better spent on tickets to a new place!”

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 6:31:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/she-is-going-places-literally/article30857507.ece

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