Alexis Sofocleous, 51, from Nicosia, on Saturday started a month-long trek along the island’s perimeter in a bid to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.
His 700-kilometre journey started on Saturday morning from the Oroklini sea front and he is expecting to return to the same spot a month later, on March 23.
“That’s my ambitious goal,” Sofocleous told the Cyprus Mail.
The idea to do this journey came to him after seeing a “vivid dream” last autumn.
“I was walking with the sea to my right and the wind in my face,” he said.
After seeing this as an omen, despite the fact he has never been the athletic type, he decided to trek around the island.
“I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I believe in omens; I don’t know if I will seek the answer to something; besides, it has not been done before,” Sofocleous said.
To be able to cope with this demanding task, he prepared himself for eight months, by undergoing medical checkups and improving his physical condition, proudly announcing he is now, at 51, in the best shape he has ever been. He also attributes never smoking as his “reward” for his excellent medical test results.
He has also secured sponsorship from some companies that have offered him the gear he will be wearing, the food he will be eating during his journey in addition to hotels that will host him while on the road. “There was no exchange of money, they just offered me what I need for this trip,” he said.
From Oroklini Sofocleous will walk along the coast towards Ayia Napa and Protaras and cross to occupied Famagusta, where he plans on walking along the fence of Varosha, since despite requesting permission by the UN to enter the fenced-off area, he does not feel optimistic his wish will be granted, before heading on to Trikomo. He will then walk along the coast all the way to Rizokarpaso, Apostolos Andreas, and from there to Kyrenia, Lapithos, Kormakitis, the Morphou area, cross to Kato Pyrgos, walk to Pomos, Akamas, Paphos, Limassol and back to Larnaca.
“My goal is walk on average 25 km per day,” he said.
Sofocleous said he is determined to complete his goal, regardless any obstacles he may find, such as adverse weather conditions.
“I taught myself to remove any obstacles in my head,” he said, adding that his philosophy is dealing with situations if and when he has to and not worrying about what might go wrong.
Sofocleous says he wants through this journey to raise awareness on the importance of well-being, both physical and mental.
He plans on walking on his own, but those close to him might choose to escort him parts of the way to say hello or check if he is well, he said.
A cameraman will also meet him at some parts of the journey to help him document his adventure.
Sofocleous has also set up a Facebook page where anyone can follow his trek around the island.