From Egypt to Japan without flying – Omar Nok

I came across a very interesting reel while scrolling on Instagram. A guy from Egypt began his reel with a title that will immediately catch your attention: “From Egypt to Japan without Flying.” I was interested in discovering more about the guy behind the video, Omar, and his journey. After that, I followed Omar on Instagram and found myself interested in learning more about his journey. I reached out to Omar for an interview to learn more about his story and incredible adventure, and the rest is history.

Omar is a 29-year-old Egyptian-German traveler who loves traveling and discovering the world. He has traveled around Europe and the Americas for around two years but has never been to the eastern part of the world. Initially, there wasn’t a specific place in Asia, but Omar wanted to travel without flying to discover more of the region. To make it happen, he decided to take an extended vacation from work, which he had previously done as he had traveled a lot.

Taking the First Step From Egypt to Japan

One would wonder why Japan specifically, but Omar explained that it is because it is the furthest in the region. Plus, it will add a level of challenge to the journey. For example, it will be a longer distance and allow him to see as much as possible in Asia. Surprisingly, Omar only planned this adventure two or three months before traveling. He thought he would travel in January of this year, but due to delays in finalizing some paperwork, he started his journey in February 2024.

Day 7 – Omar in Madina – Saudi Arabia (from Egypt to Japan without flying)

Prior to his trip, Omar worked full-time and managed to make savings for this trip specifically. As he started the journey from Egypt, passing through the UAE and Saudi Arabia, he required a visa to enter some countries. Omar would apply at the embassy of the country he would enter. As an Egyptian, for instance, he didn’t need a visa to enter Iran, which many don’t know. While in Iran, he applied through the embassy of Afghanistan before entering it. It is the same process for applying for a visa in your home country, though he did it based on location.

Omar also holds a German passport, so he didn’t need visas in some countries he entered. His travels focus on limited spending to have an extended period of traveling. For example, he uses public transportation and eats on a budget. Through his Instagram account, many began following Omar’s journey with his videos, which is equivalent to the total number of days he has traveled so far. In fact, Omar expressed that this journey connected him with people from around the world, and people have been supporting him in many ways, including financially, so he could reach his final destination.

Learning As He Goes

His trip from Egypt to Japan has been flexible, and he does not follow a strict schedule. Envisioning the travel track, he thought he would arrive early next year. However, plans changed due to conditions in certain countries, including Myanmar, where it is not possible for foreigners to pass over land. In addition, it is located down the continent, a dead end if he wants to pass through India.

So, it will now be more of a straight line once he enters China. So far, the journey is estimated to end in 8 or 9 months. Unfortunately, India and Myanmar will not be part of his current journey. Omar did not make extensive plans while in Egypt before starting this trip. Therefore, he did not know that for China, he must apply for a visa from Egypt, unlike other countries where he applied for visas from where he was before entering. Omar only has 15 days as a transit period to pass China entirely from west to east.

Every Challenge is an Opportunity

For the audience, it is impressive to watch his journey so far, the people he is meeting, and the food he is eating. However, given that it is a considerably long journey, it includes challenges. One of the main challenges Omar highlighted is the language barrier. It is one of the main challenges as it requires a lot of communication and interaction with locals in the countries he passed. For him to transfer his ideas he uses signs with his hands to transfer his ideas to people.

Crossing Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan
Omar with a local in Afghanistan

However, one of the things he appreciates and hopes more people know about is how welcoming and kind people are in Asia. They have no problem putting additional effort into helping him out. Thanks to people in this region, things have been easier for him. Security-wise, he hasn’t faced a serious security threat; he was lucky to dodge some indirect threats while in Afghanistan, which he mentioned in one of his videos.

Through his journey, he explained that many Asian countries are safer than many countries people usually choose to visit, such as Latin America, where they think some Asian countries are more dangerous. However, Omar explained that he felt safe in the countries he visited so far in Asia, such as Iran, unlike what the media is trying to convince people. He expressed how safe Iran, Kazakhstan (where he is now), and Uzbekistan are. Through this adventure, I strongly believe he is helping to change the mainstream media and the narratives they push on certain parts of the world.

Planning His Stays

One of my questions for Omar was about accommodation, and he said it was mostly last minute. Sometimes, he plans it only two days before he arrives at his destination. As I highlighted in the beginning, flexibility is a huge part of this adventure, so he doesn’t make plans ahead of time to avoid feeling stuck or bound by reservations. It lifts the pressure on him.

As a huge fan of South Korea and hoping to visit it one day, I wanted to ask him if he would go. Omar mentioned that he would access South Korea from China by ship and arrive in the northern part of the country. From there, he would move through the country all the way to the south, allowing him to discover South Korea before taking a ship to Japan.

The duration of his stay in each country depends on what he wants to see or experience and whether there is something specific he wants to discover in a particular area within each country. Thus, his decision is based on the region of the country. However, it’s important to keep in mind that visa restrictions may also influence his choices, and he respects that aspect as well.

Remaining Connected, How Does it Work for Omar?

Omar emphasized the importance of having an internet connection because he is frequently on the go. He primarily depends on Wi-Fi, although he does have a SIM card. He only uses his SIM card when needed and keeps his phone on airplane mode when he is out and about. This approach allows him to be more present during his travels and less preoccupied with social media. In his travels, he has never depended on the media to shape his knowledge or ideas about a country, especially on the people of the country.

However, he didn’t have a huge reference to Asia, which is the main difference from his previous travels since information is abundant. The level of information he already had on this part of the world is very limited. One of the surprising things for him was the high level of hospitality of the people in this region. He had heard that people are hospitable and welcoming, but as he dealt directly with locals, it exceeded what he had heard.

Without Flying from Egypt to Japan,

Omar has traveled over 20,000 kilometers on land, more than the distance from Cairo to Tokyo by plane, totaling 9,600 kilometers. This demonstrates that his journey has not been a straight line but rather more of a zigzag. Regarding documenting his journey, he began posting videos on Instagram on day 49 and has 392,000 followers. So far, Omar is on his way to Kyrgyzstan from Kazakhstan.

Omar visiting Salt flat in Khara desert in Iran – Day 50

When his account was initially private, his friends encouraged him to share his journey publicly. He also made YouTube videos. For now, he only wants to share the videos on Instagram, but he hopes that after the trip, he can turn the journey into a short documentary if he can find support to make it possible.

Documenting Memories

In our conversation, I discussed video-taking with Omar. He captures videos using his phone, which involves planning and making the most of the available time. There are days when he already has a plan in mind and finds something interesting to film, so he remembers to capture it. However, on other days, he may forget to record specific events due to being busy.

On Instagram, he narrates events, including things he didn’t capture on video. Throughout the day, he records snippets of videos, which he later uses to create a cohesive video. Some people suggested that he return to Egypt without flying, but he clarified that he plans to fly back to Egypt once he reaches his final destination.

Lessons & Messages From Egypt to Japan

Omar wants to emphasize that not everyone is suited for adventurous trips. It’s important to consider the risks involved and whether you really want to take on such an adventure. These kinds of trips are risky and require careful consideration, which is why they are not for everyone. One must have the mental, physical, and financial capacities to make this step. Once you take the first step, things become less scary or stressful, and the journey begins moving forward, so fear will no longer be part of it. You go with the flow, enjoy, and focus on the journey, ensuring you make the best of it.

First step is difficult but once you take it, fear diminishes

Omar’s journey is truly inspiring as it showcases the beauty of many countries and their regions in Asia, highlighting the diversity of this region. It reminds us that it’s not just about reaching the destination, but also about the journey itself and the people encountered along the way. Most importantly, his experience serves as a reminder of the vastness and beauty of the world, encouraging us to discover and appreciate its wonders. Overall, Omar’s journey is evidence that we should cherish the journey and take time to appreciate the small details.

You can follow Omar’s journey and updates on his Instagram account: Omar Nok | عُمَر (@omar.nok).