Tales from world’s greatest traveller

Andre Antoine Brugiroux  Photo: Jeff Shea
Andre Antoine Brugiroux Photo: Jeff Shea

He has visited every country and territory in the world and the lesson learnt is: “The earth is but one country and all mankind its citizens.”

The words are those of French traveller and author Andre Antoine Brugiroux, named the ‘greatest living traveller on earth’ following his epic 250,000 miles hitch-hike around the world between 1955 and 2005.

And next week he visits a small corner he has yet to see when he is guest speaker at a free Western Isles Baha’i Faith public talk in An Lanntair on Friday, August 29th, 7pm.

“I already had the travel bug when I was 17 and criss-crossed Scotland all over. I only missed the Outer Hebrides,” he admitted, eager now at the age of 76 to still discover new places and people.

“I have noticed you don’t kick any more in the tomb. So I’ll try to kick around as long as I can,” Andre continued. “I have realised my dream: to see all countries and territories of the world. But I am missing a lot of details. I can still fill up a copybook of all I want to see.”

Andre travelled only by hitch-hiking and was imprisoned seven times, almost killed on several occasions, deported, robbed and more.

Yet despite the low points, the highlight of his feat was to find the Baha’i Faith.

“It is a miracle that I am still alive. ‘Luck’ is a very weak word as far as I am concerned!” he said. “When you have a high fever, for example, on the bottom of a ditch in a country where you don’t know anybody and you don’t even speak the language, let me tell you morale is at the bottom.

“Maybe I came out of all this because I had faith in my destiny,” Andre continued. “Discovering the Baha’i writings was the highest highlight of my travelling. It answered all my questions and beyond.

“Suddenly everything was clear to me and made sense. My life of travelling without the Baha’i discovery would have made no sense. In other words, this was my Graal [grail]. Those writings have changed totally my way of seeing and acting. They made me happy.”