Najmun has been traveling the world with Bangladesh’s flag for the last 17 years, and Zimbabwe marked the 100th country she stepped on to represent the country’s national flag
On June 1, Najmun Nahar visited her 100th country with the flag of Bangladesh hoisted high.
Najmun has been traveling the world with Bangladesh’s flag for the last 17 years, and Zimbabwe marked the 100th country she stepped on to represent the country’s national flag.
Najmun’s journey began in 2000, when she lifted the flag in the first India International Adventure program.
Originally hailing from Lakshmipur, Najmun returned to Bangladesh on June 28 after completing her tour of traveling to 105 countries, and shared her stories with the Dhaka Tribune.
“I have been traveling the world with my country’s flag for the last 17 years,” said Najmun. “It was a glorious moment for me when I reached the Victoria Falls Bridge on June 1, as it marked the 100th country I had gone to with the flag.”
After graduating from Rajshahi University, Najmun started applying for scholarships in universities abroad with the dream to travel the world.
When she received a scholarship to Lund University in Sweden in 2006, Najmun’s dream finally came true, and since then she has never had to look back.
The journey into African nations
In her journey across the world, Najmun’s trip to the African nations was more adventurous and wilder than others.
Sometimes, she had to raw meat or food so she would not have to starve.
Najmun has visited 12 African countries so far- Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique.
During her travel through the mountainous regions, sometimes she had to eat raw potatoes or nuts out of hunger.
“Visiting the remotest regions in Africa was wild,” Najmun told the Dhaka Tribune. “I had to eat raw meat in Ethiopia, I visited places where there was no water and had to survive through means the locals adopt.”
But even though Najmun’s hands were burned in the summer heat in South Ethiopia, they did not tremble when hoisting the flag of her country.
Some of the best traveling moments
For Najmun, stepping on the 100th country with Bangladesh’s flag was the best moment during her world tour.
“When Governor of Livingstone in Zimbabwe, Harriet Kaina, gave me the title of ‘Flag Girl’ for visiting 100 countries, it was the best moment for me,” said Najmun.
However, Najmun’s trips were not always fun and easy.
“I almost died when above 14,000ft in Peru’s Rainbow Mountains because of low air pressure at the high altitude,” she said. “I only recovered after using an inhaler from a fellow tourist.”
But despite the problems, the beauty of her surroundings awed her, Najmun said.
Najmun recalled another beautiful memory when she was returning from the hills in Iceland.
“Everything around me was purple, yet there were no trees,” she said. “Sometimes, there would be seven or eight colours together. I pitched a tent at the foot of the mountains, and at night I caught a glimpse of the full moon.”
‘It does not cost millions to travel the world’
Najmun disagrees with the notion that millions of dollars are needed to visit the globe.
“I do not come from a very affluent background,” she said. “My father was a middle-class businessman. But I wanted to finance my trips by myself. Since I do not have a lot of money, I have to research on how to travel affordably.”
Whenever she gets the chance, she travels by road instead of air, Najmun said.
She advised the girls of Bangladesh to travel more despite the obstacles present.
“I will advise women to travel,” she said. “Go to the hills, the sea, or the forest. Travel inside Bangladesh, and then go out for a world tour.”
Najmun now plans to visit different schools in the country to share her stories with the children.
She also hopes to visit the rest of the countries in the world to complete her world tour.