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Iranian Woman Traveler Promotes Peace on Foot
Travel

Iranian Woman Traveler Promotes Peace on Foot

In a 16-year journey on foot or by bicycle, this Iranian lady has traveled over 78,000 km to promote tourism, preserve nature and the environment, and to introduce Iran’s attractions to the public.
Roya Loqmaniyan, in her latest trip, cycled around Alborz Province to promote preservation of the environment in the province.
She started her sport activities 16 years ago with mountain climbing and has climbed so far all of Iran’s major mountains as well as Ararat and Suphan Mountains in Turkey. The 53-year old globe-trotter has a 2-month walking journey in her stunning list of adventures, the story of which she has told in the book ‘Step by Step from Mazandaran to Persian Gulf’; a captivating narration of her explorations in the provinces of Mazandaran, Alborz, Qom, Markazi, Isfahan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Fars, Bushehr, Hormozgan, and the Kish Island.
Loqmaniyan has succeeded to make Iran’s name reverberate in Asia and Africa and now is thinking of travelling to European countries to promote peace and be an ambassador of Iranian rich culture. She says: “A tourist knows when her/his travel begins and when it comes to an end but a globe-trotter never really knows what awaits her/him.”

 High Aims
She remembers when she decided to explore her homeland on foot and speaks of her bitter-sweet experience, emerging rays of hope at the last moment of being on the verge of complete despair, and her undying dream to travel around the world for humanitarian purposes, children rights, world peace, preserving the environment and ancient historical monuments and sites, and also encouraging people to travel with the simplest facilities.
She explains: “I have always struggled with an inner urge to do something beyond ordinary life. I did not intend to suffice with the life I had. My ambition was to start something for human unity and life in peace as I witnessed the bitter truth that people were losing the sense of unity and the interest in living together and helping each other.
“I began with mountain climbing and came to see myself climbing for solid 12 hours. This gave me the idea to start walking through Iranian cities,” she added.

 All around Iran in Hiking Shoes
Loqmaniyan launched her project on traveling around Iran on foot in 2002 after several correspondences with various organizations to provide necessary permits and possible sponsors. Finally the Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) issued the permit and supplied her some facilities and support for food and accommodation.
“In the year 1385 (2006) which was named the year of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and unity between Shia and Sunni, I decided to do a symbolic act of unity. Therefore I took a bottle form the Caspian Sea water and walked 1500 km, all the way down to the south of Iran in 57 days and poured the water into the Persian Gulf”, Loqmaniyan recalls.
The diary and the pictures of the trip are published in her book.
She has also gathered in a book the information on etymology of the names of towns, villages and historical places on her path to the south. “For instance in the south of Semirom county, Isfahan Province, I passed a village called ‘Ab Malakh’ (water – grasshopper) in which there is a fountain. The water of the fountain works as a pesticide for grasshoppers that swarm village farms so local people call it the Miracle Fountain”, she notes.

 Stopped at the Great Wall
“I considered Olympic games as a very good chance to promote my peace and unity slogan. I started contacting companies and other organizations to find sponsors but none of them accepted to collaborate. Finally only ICHTO issued me the permit and the Foreign Ministry corresponded with the relevant Iranian ministry to facilitate my trip.”
She took the Iranian flag and added the support of orphans and children without legal guardians to her aims and slogans. In an adventerous journey, she passed several countries starting from Pakistan and passing through India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam where she enjoyed spectacular rituals, celebrations, traditions, life styles, and tasted the hospitality of the Asian nations.
Her journey ended in China where she was not given the visa. “I could not attain my goal to use the Olympic Games as an opportunity to convey my message of peace and unity from Persia to the world,” she rues.

 A Fresh Start
To support the safeguarding of Mazandaran Leopard and preserving the environment, Loqmaniyan walked 200 km from Alborz Province to Mazandaran twice. “This fresh start gave me the energy to choose Africa as my next destination in my world peace tour. I began my trip on the bicycle 4 years ago and went to Turkey to later pass Syria which was not possible due to the civil war. I flew to Kenya and wanted to continue cycling from there but changed my mind because of the dangers and warnings I received from Iran Embassy in South Africa”, she points out.

 Motivation
She says walking or cycling a very long distance is tiring but “nature energizes me. My children also encourage me all the time to carry on. Another thing that keeps me motivated is to speak with Iranian women and remind them of the capabilities of Iranian woman.” Roya Loqmaniyan asserts that she feels the presence of God in all her journeys. “I feel God when I travel alone. I have witnessed numerous miracles with my own eyes when I was absolutely hopeless. The love of God and faith in Him is my real motive.”

 

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