By Afshin Majlesi

Meet Iranian man who couch-surfs around the world in his wheelchair

September 25, 2020 - 21:1

TEHRAN - Mohammad Moghadamshad, 44, has been suffering from a genetic muscle condition since he was 20. He is developing muscular dystrophy, an incurable condition that ultimately weakens body muscles over time, to some extent that endangers the functioning of the lungs and heart.

The weakening has been steady and some two years ago he could no longer walk by himself and had to use a walker for some time and a wheelchair afterward. For the time being, his hand muscles are so weak that he cannot easily uncork a water bottle by himself.

These severe health issues, however, have not put a barrier on his path to make his dreams come true. Couch-surfing, as a way to meet locals, make friends for life, feel new destinations and cultures, is what he dies for. He has so far traveled to many countries including Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Kenya.

Moghadamshad started his world adventure in 2018 when he arrived in South America. He then extended his journey to West Africa last September. He usually carries only a small backpack wherever he goes; containing some shirts, pairs of trousers, and some health products.

“I wanted to travel cheap; not to go to hotels or luxury establishments,” he told Nation, a popular Kenyan media outlet while visiting the country earlier this year.

“I believe in humanity; I try to be nice. Wherever I go, I try to be kind to people, to communicate well with them,” he says. “I came here completely by accident, but I’m very happy now.”

“I don’t have too much time… But I don’t care. The quality of life is what is important to me, not the quantity,” the globetrotter says.

Moghadamshad is married to a wheelchair-bound Iranian lady woman. He is also a psychologist and sometimes holds online consultations mainly to those living in rural and remote areas.

Based on official statistics, over 1.3 million people suffering from disabilities live in Iran and the figure rises by 50,000 every year. About 15 percent of the world's population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4 percent experience significant difficulties in functioning.


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