posted on 09/07/2012: 597 views
A 5500-km expedition to experience new ways of life
A young Emirati man is on a month-long cycling expedition to Madina in an effort to experience different ways of life in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Fadhel Al Khoury, 33, will randomly visit homes during his 5,500-km road trip to Madina and back, which will cover all the seven emirates in the UAE.
Al Khoury says two similar expeditions last year helped him learn about his country's hidden natural treasures and gave him new insights about himself and life in general.
During his journey that started Saturday evening, Al Khoury will knock on the doors of unknown people and request them to dine with him. "I have heard that food in each village is different as is the way of life,” Al Khoury told Gulf News yesterday in an interview.
He started the journey from Sheikh Zayed grand mosque in Abu Dhabi and plans to ride 100-150 kilometres a day from 5pm to 5am. He will rest during the day to avoid the scorching sun.
The expedition named Karam Khalifa (Kindness of Khalifa) has two purposes. It is Al Khoury's way of expressing his gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other rulers for their kindness towards citizens.
"Sheikh Khalifa's initiatives to assist debt-ridden Emiratis and impoverished people in Yemen touched me. I will highlight the cause of Yemenis during the trip,” he said.
Al Khoury would also like to spread the message of doing something for less–privileged people. "While walking and biking under the sun during my previous expeditions, I realised the hardships of people who toil under the sun. I also thought of people who don't have the luxury of air-conditioned cars and walk or wait for public transport under the sun.”
Al Khoury also set aside a portion of his daily expenses for charity. "I would like to talk about the need of developing such a habit to everyone I meet during the trip,” he said.
In his first expedition in March last year, Al Khoury walked about 350 kilometres from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in five-and-a-half days through the other five emirates. From Fujairah, he purchased a mountain bike and rode back to Abu Dhabi in one-and-a-half day.
Inspired by the experiences during his first trip, Al Khoury took a second trip in June last year. He walked 740 kilometres within two weeks through the seven emirates.
He met different sorts of people and had enjoyed the experience. "I learned a lot of new things about life in general,” Al Khoury said. He was, however, assisted by friends in some place — something he does not intend to fall back on this time.
"I want to know how a family treats a stranger travelling with a purpose. I will carry the ‘Gulf News' report about my trip to prove my credentials,” he explained.
Al Khoury thinks dining with an unknown family at their home will help him know more about their lives. He will shoot videos of his experience on his mobile phone.
Initially, Al Khoury planned a biking expedition across Asia, Europe and Africa, but a lack of sponsors prompted him to scale down his plans and choose Madina. "Although I approached many institutions, there was no positive response,” he says. His original plan was to bike more than 110,000 kilometres within 960 days through more than 80 countries on three continents.
He does not expect much expenses for biking to Madina. "I may rarely use hotels as I may take shelter in mosques and assistance from local people on the way.”
Al Khoury works as a special services officer at Abu Dhabi Distribution Company. His mother is little bit worried about his lone expedition despite his success previously. "But she knows that I can't relax till I accomplish it!” Al Khoury says. – Gulf News
|09 May 2013||Young Emirati inventor wins IT Marathon|
|09 May 2013||Emirati's water collector obtains patent from UK|
|01 May 2013||RCA honours Emirati young inventor|
|17 April 2013||Emirati filmmaker gets buzz for short film|
|15 April 2013||Two young Emiratis’ social travelling takes Internet by storm|