When poet and author Hasanin Ahmed escaped his home of Abdeia by the banks of the Nile River in Northern Sudan, for the streets of the Egyptian capital Cairo, he knew his journey would lead him to one day publish a novel for the world.
“If you spoke about the [Sudanese] government you were put in jail straight away,” Mr Ahmed said as he gently sipped on a cappuccino in a Bega cafe.
“It was a bad life, with a bad government.”
The 38-year-old began writing poetry aged just 10, and after purchasing novels by authors Gabriel García Márquez and Milan Kundera from street vendors, he fell deeply in love with literature.
“When I was young I was always reading books,” he said with a big smile.
The passionate traveler has been living in Bega for the past month, as he continues work on his debut novel, colourfully describing his life journey spanning 70 countries and almost every continent.
One story details the life of a small child he met in Tokyo, who would stand in front of his mother’s store welcoming customers with a polite Japanese bow, while others tell the stories of fellow African migrants waiting patiently for refugee visas from the United Nations.
“Some [refugees] went to Canada, some to France, and I also write about how different Australia is to other countries,” Mr Ahmed said.
In what was a difficult decision, he left his parents, five siblings, and his life in the Sahara desert 17 years ago, registering as a refugee in Egypt, before arriving at Sydney Airport in 2005.
“While I was flying I wrote about the systems of Australia, how different the airport is to Egypt, Bahrain and Singapore, the Opera House, the Sydney Tower, and how close the airport is to the ocean,” he said.
For three years Mr Ahmed lived and worked in the Western Australian town of Broome, which he ranks alongside the Spanish city of Madrid as one of his favourite parts of the world.
“Scandanavia is also quite nice, I like Sweden,” he said.
“I like very, very quiet, green countries, with lots of rivers.
“I have been everywhere in Australia, I love to travel.”