Ilmyrat Ashirov, the famous in Turkmenistan TV host of the popular children’s sports show, the enthusiast-promoter of a healthy lifestyle from Ashgabat, walked four regions of the country over 27 days. He traveled a total distance of more than 1050 km.
He started his walking tour on April 20 and, at the first stage, made a 17-day hike from the city of Turkmenabat, the administrative center of Lebap province, to Aşyk Aydyn pir, the place of pilgrimage of creative people and benefactor of singers and musicians, in Kunyaurgench, Dashoguz region province, having covered 650 km.
The second stage Ilmyrat started at the Monument of Neutrality in Ashgabat, he traveled more than 400 km to reach one of the main tourist destinations of Turkmenistan – the Ancient Merv in the south of the country, Mary province, and the mausoleum of Khoja Yusuf Hamadani, Bayramal district.
As Ilmyrat told the ORIENT correspondent, it all started with a passion for walking as an amateur, and then it turned to be an all-consuming hobby.
He says that during the marathon, the most interesting thing is meeting with people that he meets many on the way. “Each such meeting is like a discovery. The discovery of wonderful, kind and hospitable people. Of course, you discover a lot of new things for yourself in terms of local history studies,” Ilmyrat notes. “After all, it would seem that you know everything about these places, and suddenly you find out something yet unknown.”
“After publishing an article about the first stage of my marathon on the ORIENT website, to be honest, I got a new incentive and even stronger motivation. The number of reviews pleasantly surprised and inspired me, which means that people are interested in story about my travel,” Ilmyrat added.
As to his marching load, he told that during this period of the year – the end of spring and the beginning of summer –there is no need for much in Turkmenistan. On your head, you should have a hat and sunglasses, while in a backpack – a mat, three pairs of shoes, some summer clothes, a flashlight, a small knife, a thermos, water, dried fruits and melted butter. And a smartphone in the hand of – what is to be done without it?!
“I walked about 40 km daily, with a break after every hour of walking. At evening, I tried to get to the village and stay over in a place of friends or strangers who met me very warmly and cordially and asked about my travel, not only along the roads of the country, but also stories of my life,” Ilmyrat says. “During such heartfelt conversations, I myself often found out just amazing life stories, fates.”
“I have begun to be recognized by many along the road; many people called me, being interested in long-distance walking, and there were people who wanted to join me in travels.”
Ilmyrat is already making new plans: to organize a walking marathon outside of Turkmenistan across Astrakhan region of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Iran. These projects would be devoted to the 30th anniversary of independence of Turkmenistan to be celebrated in 2021. He promises to share soon details with readers of the ORIENT website.