I won’t go into massive details about how our situation was resolved. Sometimes the best stories just don’t need to be shared.
I’ll put it like this though! You cannot just randomly “claim” Bir Tawil, it is the historic land of the Ababda people, and they do not want anyone claiming their land. Yes kingdom of North Sudan we mean you. I was actually accused of being “king” Heaton. I explained I wasn’t and was told about a silly man that came in 2014 and wrote nonsense online. Sorry mate, but no matter how much you talk about getting Saudi mercenaries (that you can’t afford) the people of Bir Tawil do not welcome you, or me as their colonial overlords. The white saviour is from a bygone age.
What made this situation whole lot sadder was I’d always bought into the story of a guy who made a kingdom so his daughter could be a princess. The reality, alas seems to be a whole lot more sinister.
Overall we found that The Ababda largely just want to be left alone. I’ll write in much more detail about this at some point, whether through this channel or another. We found them very friendly, we found they do not recognise others claims to sovereignty (despite online claims), and we left after a goat had been killed in our honour. The ends truly justified the means.
I’ll say this loud and clear, Bir Tawil belongs to the Ababda. And, they are not fans of people claiming it. I’m sure micronations will keep claiming Bir Tawil, but in reality there’s zero true Terra Nullius on the planet, and for Bir Tawil at least there’s a local population that have their own thoughts and feelings on the matter.
Frivolities over and we had to get back to Abu Hamed (it’s a town). Condensed version. Long drive, nice sunset, no hotels.
Dinner though was one positive, Sudanese Street Food in Abu Hamed. Not all that different to normal, but with fried goat, fried egg and Sudanese coke.
We camped outside Abu Hamed, our last night camping, and probably my last time camping for a while.
It has been an educating day. I did plant a flag, but I didn’t claim Bir Tawil for Islandia, myself, or anyone else.
That being said, if I did decide to, I’d have just as much right as all the keyboard warriors out there (as I’ve actually been), although much less right that the tribe that actually live there.
It’s a strange world in general, but nothing is weirder than the self entitlement of Micronationslists.
Viva Bir Tawil and the Ababda.
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.