Q: If we went through your car right now, what three things would we find?

Aziz Ahmed: Glass case. Breaking too many eyeglasses is a perennial headache for a traveller. This one holds it tight, so I always carry it around. Another item might be a tyre changer because I always check for it. Oh, and ORS— that right there is a lifesaver.

Q: What thoughts come to mind when you travel solo?

How incredible my life feels at that moment. It brings me peace of mind and contentment.

Q: Who is the one artist that will remain in your playlist?

Aster Aweke. I enjoy worldwide music, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would be hers.

Q: What was your first camera?

It was a Sony brand. I sold my car and bought the camera before taking a journey to the wild. That was one of the turning points in my life.

Q: When was this?

About 20 years ago. I was in 11th grade at Greek Community School. I never returned.

Q: A second chance in life, what would you change?

I would not come back to the city.

Q: Why did you come back?

To make ends meet. I needed to find a way to earn a living.

Q: If money was not an issue, what would you do?

I could be a park ranger, a driver or a lodge keeper; the list is endless. But it would all be in the wild.

Q: Any talent besides photography?

I would say trip organisation and leading a crowd of people. I believe that risk anticipation and preparation while managing everyone takes some kind of skill.

Q: What was the biggest bill you paid at a restaurant in Addis?

It has to be the 5,000 Br bill at a Japanese restaurant. We were about five, but I was surprised because the price was much higher compared to other countries.

Q: What destinations are on your bucket list?

I want to go to Alaska— to see a polar bear. I've never been to Russia, Japan or Australia either; they are definitely on my list.

Q: You have a chance to dine with a person besides your family. Who would it be?

David Attenborough. You might know him through his narrations in the Life series.

Q: What would you talk about?

Whoa, so many things! I would ask most of the questions you asked me and then some. I wonder which one of the places he had visited was most affected by climate change. It would be an interesting conversation.

Q: If you could transform into any animal what would you choose?

Hands down Lion! I mean, it is the king of the jungle; even its walk in the wild is majestic.

Q: What does a survival kit in the wild entail?

Swiss knife, water, painkiller, headlight and ID card are a must. I usually take garlic, lemon, garden cress, black paper and black cumin to repel insects and reptiles such as snakes that might be dangerous. From a tech aspect, a phone and power banks go a long way.

Q: Do you have any fear?

God. I don't think there is anything else.

Q: Is there an animal that makes you jump up?

Interacting with animals is no different than with humans. They might scare you sometimes but it doesn't mean that they always act that way. It all depends on the approach.

Q: Which animal has closer behaviour to a human?

Q: So science is right?

It looks that way.

Q: You have been present both in the digital and analogue era. How does it compare pertaining to your work?

I began this journey for mere pleasure. The digital platform opened the door for me to share my footage with others. Now, anyone can see the world from the comfort of their home through the phone. Nature is free and everyone deserves to experience it, which is why I release everything I am fortunate enough to capture on my digital platforms.

Q: Which social media platform do you prefer?

Instagram is my favourite. But I am active on TikTok as well.

Q: Do you have a rule in life?

I make an effort to live happily on a daily basis. Of course, I have goals and dreams and hope to achieve them, but I focus on the present moment.

Q: So what does the future hold?

I'm very excited about my upcoming book. It is a guidebook for children up to nine years old. I wish something like that was available while I was growing up. Probably it would be launched around December.

Q: What would be written on your tombstone?

"He lived as he loved."

Q: What meal would you choose as your last?

Q: A meal you did not like?

I don't recall the name but it was in Tanzania where some kind of caterpillar was infused in a drink. I did not like that!

Q: Do you have any pets?

Nope. I don't want to confine them in a small space because I live in a condominium. If I get a spacious place where they could roam around, I may have a dog.

Q: If you were a superhero, who would you be?

I feel boxed up whenever I am in the city. So I try to visualise myself as Superman and fly away to mountainous areas; that is how I fall asleep.

Q: If you had to stay confined in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Langano! We had a second home where I spent most weekends there with my four brothers and sister. The weather, the people, fishing and cruising on the lake, it was all incredible. Everything I want is there.

Q: How do you balance marriage with your unconventional lifestyle?

That is what pulls me back to the city. But it is inevitable and comes with nature as even in the wild, animals procreate. I realised that it was something I needed to do.

Q: Any chance you would all move to the wild at some point in life?

No, no. My wife is currently pregnant, and I would probably wait until my baby is all grown up.

PUBLISHED ON Sep 10,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1219]

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