This Father Is Traveling The World With His Baby Girl
By DeAnna Taylor
Meet Abongi-Gael Bokongo aka Gabbok for short. He is from The Peoples Republic of Congo, but grew up in Paris. He currently lives in Istanbul. Gabbok has visited 108 countries in 9 years, 27 to which he brought his now 6 year-old daughter Deïyna by himself. We spoke with him about his adventures with his daughter.
Travel Noire: How old was your daughter when you took her on her first trip?
Gabbok: She was only 6 months old. We visited Singapore.
TN: Where has been her favorite place to visit?
Gabbok: She loved Tunisia. Her mother has roots in Tunisia and Yemen. She also loves Rome, Italy for the pizzas and ice cream.
TN: What was the most memorable trip you took with her?
Gabbok: Wadi Rum, Jordan was by far one of our most memorable trips. We spent a whole week in the desert with Bedouins family. We were surrounded by nothing but sand and rocks, but felt like we had everything because I had her and she had me.
TN: What struggles do you face as a father traveling with your daughter?
Gabbok: Deïyna is mixed (African father and Arab mom) so we don’t have the same skin complexion. When you go to certain countries( i.e. Central Asian countries) they are still uneducated about this situation. So I’ve had trouble with officers explaining that she is really my daughter and I didn’t kidnap her. Some have even called the embassy to make sure I was telling the truth.
TN: Why was it important to you for your daughter to start traveling at a young age?
Gabbok: So she can open her eyes at a younger age than I did. I want her to understand that our differences as human beings is there to bring us closer and not further from each other. So she can understand that we all live in the same world but with different environments.
I feel like traveling would give her a different education just as interesting as the regular one. We created a pattern of research on stuff that we could do in countries we go visit. That creates interest and she’s really involved in the process of booking.
TN: Any advice to other fathers out there wanting to travel with their kids?
Gabbok: Educating our kids about the world we live in is everything. Showing them the world creates better knowledgeable individuals. I strongly believe it’s our duty to show the path. We can also have fun with them while traveling. And women actually think it’s cute so…. give it a shot.
TN: Where can we find you on social media?
Gabbok: You can find me on Instagram: Gabbok17.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.