Abu Dhabi: Twenty-four days after he began his journey, Jalal Bin Thaneya completed his 600-km trek across the UAE in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

"I have a better understanding of life in the UAE. It was a painful journey for me, but I learned to be patient, strong and how to rely on myself," he told Gulf News.

Bin Thaneya, who set off on January 3 to raise funds for the Dubai Autism Centre, also became the first UAE national to walk across the country.

"Since the UAE was formed, no Emirati has walked across the UAE; I believe I am the first one." Bin Thaneya, 20, covered up to 40km everyday.

"It's exhausting and energy-sapping, especially when you don't have a shower. But I ate properly every three hours. Every day I slept for eight hours in a van at night, and I used to stretch before I went to sleep," he said.

Bin Thaneya ended his journey with a visit to the UAE flag pole in Abu Dhabi. "I wanted to touch the pole, which is a symbol of the UAE," he added.

"I feel I have an obligation to do good things to people, I believe I have accomplished it and I think everybody should think like that."

He said he was unsure of the amount of money he raised during his trek, but was getting the feedback from newspapers everyday.

"The feedback I'm getting is very good; I read that people are calling the Dubai Autism Centre, asking about me and my project and asking how they can help out, I guess the awareness about Autism is spreading," he added.