One Man’s Journey to the Top

This is the story of an Iraqi-Canadian man who I meet back in the 90s while we were doing our Master’s in Computer Science in Malaysia.  Ahmad Wasfi was known of his love to martial arts but no one expected, not even himself, that one day he will have a passion to hike snow-covered mountains all year round. Especially, when you know he was born and raised in Baghdad were the maximum average temperature is above 100 F (> 40 C) and the lowest temperature reaches no less than 38 F (above zero Celsius).

In 2000, I went back to Jordan and he immigrated to Canada. We lost contact since then. But thanks to social networking websites we meet again on Facebook. He now lives in Vancouver, one of the most beautiful places in the world I was told.

Recently, Vacouver Courier wrote about his success story of becoming a hiker and creating a social network website  ( dedicated to hikers. Check livetrail for the amazing pictures of Canada’s trails and nature.

I am very proud of him. He is doing something he likes. Go Ahmad go!

Here is an excerpt of the article:

image_thumb[7]For some people, a snow-covered gorge bathed by the last fading rays of sunset is a screen saver. For others, it’s a hiking destination.

For Ahmad Wasfi, it’s both.

Wasfi, 38, is the Metro Vancouver creator of, a comprehensive hiking website showcasing more than 2,000 trails–most of them in B.C. "We’re trying to form this community connected by technology to connect to nature," he said.

The free site is part information resource and part social network.

Wasfi said encouraging people to hike is about more than getting out of the house, it’s about learning to value nature. "To protect something, you need to see it first, you need to enjoy it," he said.

The website, which launched in April 2009, has 354 members connected to each other through Facebook. Wasfi said using the social networking site is designed to form a community of people who appreciate and enjoy hiking. 

via [Vancouver Courier]


Some pictures from Ahmad’s Facebook photo album:

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A lesson in world geography

Subject: A conversation between me and a salesperson who wanted to exchange pleasantry, mistakenly thinking I am a rich tourist, before trying to sell me something which I forgot what it was.

Place: South Asia

Time: 1998

sp: Hello!

jaraad: Hi!

sp: Where are you from?

jaraad: Jordan

sp: Oh! Where is that? (smiling)

jaraad: It is near Iraq. (At that time I assumed everyone knows Iraq because of the Kuwait invasion and desert storm, etc.)

sp: I am not sure where that is.

jaraad: You know, near Saudi Arabia. (Thinking he should have seen pictures on TV of Muslims, Hajj, Mecca (Makkah), etc)

sp: I am sorry. (Shaking his head with some embarrassment)

jaraad: You know Palestine and Israel? (I though again okay there is no way he never heard of the Middle East conflict. This is it!)

sp: (still have no clue where in the world are all these countries.) Is it somewhere near Argentina?

jaraad: Exactly!

You may think that this salesperson was trying to goof around or make fun of this foreigner but no he was an extreme case of no geographic sense what so ever.