After 30 years of working as a banker, Egyptian-Swiss Sherif Loutfi, 59, decided to drop his professional career and follow his long-life passion, his dream ever since he was five years old when he took his first ride on a small motorcycle.
That experience sparked a passion within him to work hard to make his dream come true, brushing aside the people who called him crazy.
Loutfi is a solo adventurer and motorcycle enthusiast who decided to cross the world from the extreme south in Ushuaia city in Argentina to the north in Alaska. The trip starts early April and will last 120 days, in which Loutfi will cross 30,000km across 13 countries with both the Egyptian and Swiss flag on his motorcycle.
Throughout the trip, he aims to promote tourism in Egypt and raise people’s awareness about the peaceful Egyptian culture. Moreover he hopes to prove that the media portrayal Egypt, of how it is not safe and that there is war throughout the state, is not correct.
“I always knew I would not be like ordinary people, who reach retirement age and have done nothing with their lives other than work,” Loutfi said. “I decided that my life needs to have another adventure, other than work and studies.”
His main dream is to carry the Egyptian and Swiss flag for the longest recorded time on a solo bike trip in history.
Throughout his three month trip, Loutfi will mainly survive on dates and dry food, with little water that can be refilled from every city he passes through. “I expect this trip will be very hard, especially since I will cross through some jungles and the weather might not be so helpful,” he said but he never lost his enthusiasm and excitement for his upcoming adventure.
The passion Loutfi had for motorbikes started when he used to ride them across his neighbourhood when he was just a little kid. “Motorbikes set your soul free,” he said. “You connect to nature as the air strikes your face and you get to smell it, feel it, and enjoy it. You also get to see the true meaning of beauty and nature change. What motorbikes do to my soul cannot be described with words!”
Raised to a father who was a pilot, Loutfi got to see most of the world as a child, “but it was all from above and you can’t taste the meaning of nature unless you are a part of it”.
For several months, he has been preparing for his trip with a team of supporters who will follow up on navigation and routes he will taking, his health care, and the safety of where he will bike.
The event is sponsored by the Swiss Embassy in Egypt, which will organise meetings for Loutfi with both Swiss and Egyptian ambassadors of the countries he visits in cooperation with Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. In each country he visits, he will give speeches and talks about Egypt and tourism as well as following one’s passion and dreams.
“It’s a very challenging adventurous trip to do but it’s a very positive thing to do,” Ambassador of Switzerland in Egypt Markus Leitner said. “This is the perfect symbol of cooperation between Switzerland and Egypt.”
This trip is not the first he has done: in 2014, Loutfi drove for 17,000 kilometres in two months from Zurich to Tokyo through Europe and Asia.