Filmmakers: Cristina Bocchialini and Ayman El Gazwy
Al Jazeera World presents ‘Son of the Desert’, an inspirational story following Italian marathon runner and desert explorer Max Calderan and his ability to survive alone in the desert without food or medical help for unusually long periods of time. His dream is to cross some of the world’s most dangerous and unexplored deserts on foot.
When you are child, you have your dreams. Then, the people around you, is going to destroy your dream, because they want to condition your thoughts. Nobody has the right to stop your dream. It's your dream. That means that it belongs to your soul. Nobody can permit to fight your soul.
In 2013, Calderan realised that dream and decided to make it a spiritual journey by crossing the desert of the Sinai Peninsula. He started on the first day of Ramadan and followed in the footsteps of Moses who led the Jewish people out of Egypt towards the Promised Land according to religious text.
Calderan left Suez for the Gulf of Aqaba where he converted to Islam. He then fasted from sunrise to sunset, stopping five times a day to observe the times of Islamic prayer. Temperatures reached 45 degrees as he started his run from Oyun Musa to Nuweba, accomplishing 240km in around 72 hours.
The lesson of his spiritual journey was ‘Al Saber’, patience, or the ‘fruit of the spirit’ in adversity. Calderan came to believe that we all have an inner strength and that with strong belief we can go beyond our normal limits. He decided that if he can cross the desert in extreme summer conditions while fasting, then anyone can achieve their own goals no matter how remote they may be.