A FAMILY is setting out on a 6,500-mile challenge which will see them pass through more than 30 countries to reach their homeland.
Jamal Ismail, 44, wife Sofinee, 38, daughters Sabeera, 17, and Sumrah, 13, and sons Syameem, 15, and Seif, 10, will travel in an 1998 Mercedes Sprinter motorhome as they head to Malaysia.
The Dawdon couple, who were born and raised in the country, aim to make the trip an educational journey for their home-schooled children, making stops to take in each area’s culture and lifestyle and seek out its museums.
Their final destination is the hometown where Jamal grew up, 200km from Kuala Lumpur, so they can help look after his sick father.
Jamal, who resigned from his engineering job at Caterpillar in Peterlee to start the journey, said: “We will try and stop every 200 miles to look at museums and information centres, and in the evening we will try and meet local people.
“We’re planning to do about three or four hours a day of studies and also looking for a publisher to support a book.”
He added: “We’ll be taking photos and have our mobiles phones.”
The family have also been approached by a television company in south east Asia about the possibility of recording a video diary of the trip to broadcast.