Jerome and Sabina Bergami are a French couple who got tired of the animosity between people worldwide and decided to make an initiative to alleviate the problem. They began to march across the globe to remind the denizens of the blue planet of the unique bond that unites all men: The link between humanity and nature.
They set off from Venice, Italy, and began covering about 10 kilometers a day for two years along a road that that would eventually take them to the ancient Silk Road.
The decision to start their journey from Venice was a symbolic move.
“Similar to Marco Polo leaving his father and uncle in the 13th century,” said Jerome.
So far, their journey has taken them through Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and now they have arrived in Iran.
Intrigued, the Iran Federation of Tourist Guides Association invited Jerome and Sabina to a gathering where they spoke with Financial Tribune about their motives and shared details of their travels thus far.
– Sharing Is Caring
The couple carry a purse full of soil collected from every land they travel through and share the “pieces of Earth” with the people they meet, “from school to school and culture to culture”.
“We share the land with the people of the countries we meet to cultivate a sense of unity and peace,” Jerome said, adding that the gesture is also a reminder that it is earth that feeds every life form on the planet.
“Yet, our attitude toward [the planet] is criminal—suicidal even.”
They believe worldwide peace leads to the preservation of nature, which is equal to protecting life.
Jerome and Sabina figured it was essential to instill a sense of unity and tolerance in children who are tomorrow’s potential leaders. Therefore, they spread their message in schools.
By speaking to students, the couple hopes to encourage their young minds to share the planet with others, regardless of color and creed, and pave the way for enhanced international cooperation.
“We believe our simple message is better heard at schools,” Jerome offered.
– Transcending Greed
Sabina laments the destructive power of conflict that fuels hatred and causes a rift between people.
“Wars, massacres and looting of natural resources—all driven by human greed—must not be allowed to separate people,” she said.
“We aim to cultivate a culture of tolerance and acceptance through our journey.”
Since its inception, the Silk Road has served as a means for peoples of distant lands to cross paths and share knowledge, which helped those lucky enough to live along the road to develop a sense of kinship with others.
That is precisely why the couple chose to travel on this road, because bringing people together runs deep in its history.
Sabina and Jerome stayed at least one night in every city they traveled through, meeting the locals and sharing stories.
“But due to visa limits, we had to move quickly,” she said, barely able to hide the disappointment in her voice.
Their journey has been anything by boring; from encounters with wild animals to having to cross seas with boats, the unofficial ambassadors of peace have had to quickly adapt to different situations for the sake of their mission.
“Iranians are incredibly helpful and friendly,” Sabina said. “The country is extremely safe and I cannot wait to return.”
Next, the couple will travel to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan before making their final stop in China.