Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning how to ride in the rain. Meet Mr. Khalid Al – Jaber, the first Arab to ride a motorcycle through the Silk Route, the first Arab to ride a motorcycle on the trans-American terrain starting all the way from Alaska and ending in Argentina in a journey of over 40,000 kilometres in 2018. In addition to this, in 2017, he went on a ride from London to Beijing covering over 22,000 kilometres and in 2019, he went from Kenya to South Africa covering over 13,000 kilometres. In addition, Mr Khalid has visited more than 82 countries around the world with the core purpose of spreading the noble values of Qatar.
Covering millions of kilometres throughout the globe over his motorcycle, we present you an interaction with him where he explains and motivates everyone to be what they truly are.
1) How did your journey begin?
My journey began since I was a kid. I am from a diplomatic family as my father was an ambassador. So whole my life, I’ve lived in multiple countries like Geneva, Japan, Germany and many more. So I was always on the move, meeting new people and making new friends. As soon as I made some friends at a place, we would have to move to a new country. That’s why I always considered myself a wanderer and a voyager since I was a kid. I always said I wanted to become either a traveler or a police officer. Luckily, I became both. Though I’m no longer a police officer, but I’ll always be a traveler. When I became a teenager, I started traveling in Europe since I was living in Germany. It happened in 90s and since we had no technology, I was using real paper maps which was more challenging in a fun way. When I was a kid, I once saw a police man and I saluted him, he saluted me back. I felt a strange feeling of happiness and decided I wanted to become a police officer.
2) Who has been your inspiration?
I’ve always been saying that my inspiration was my grandfather. I call him ‘tharian man’. Tharian means stars in Arabic. But it also means chandelier. When I was a kid, he asked me why wasn’t I studying, I said because I didn’t feel like studying. He said that we have to chase our dreams even if they are in Tharian. I mocked him thinking who would dream about chandelier. Later on, in 2016, before riding through India, I remembered his words and Googled it. Then I understood that he meant stars and not chandelier. I always looked up to him as he was the most successful person I’ve ever seen. He started as a security man and then worked hard to set up a successful business. He was above 50 years when he actually became successful. He always taught me to never give up and to keep on working for whatever we want in life. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2014 but I still feel his presence around me all the time.
3) Tell us about your very first motorcycle adventure.
I’d say that being on a motorcycle is itself an adventure. The biggest problem was that my mother was strictly against me driving a motorcycle as she considered it to be a very dangerous sport, which it actually is. So my first adventure would be to convince my parents let me ride a bike. I decided to take my driving test and go home driving a bike to surprise my parent. My mother was angry but she accepted my decision after some time. After that, I decided to ride my bike from Germany to Austria. It was my first cross country adventure. Though it was not exactly an adventure compared to what I’m doing now. One of my first tough adventures was a ride I did in the summers of July from Qatar to Muscat. I was riding through the scorching heat of the desert. The temperature as per my bike indicator was 58°C. I was wearing my full gear and riding in the humid, dry and hot weather of the desert. It was really dangerous as I could’ve died from the heat. I could’ve had a heat stroke while riding which might’ve turned out to be fatal. It was a stupid adventure but I was testing my endurance. It turned out to be successful and a lot of fun. I did a lot of rides since then, in India, Argentina, America and many more.
4) How was the experience of being the first Arab who rode the silk route in the middle East?
I’m really proud of this feat. I never announced it earlier as I never did this for this feat. I did it because I loved doing it. It was announced later on on the news. I didn’t even know I was the first Arabic to complete this ride. Hearing that this was a really inspiring story throughout the world among bike lovers. I felt really proud and satisfied. I met a biker who had been travelling around the globe for the last 20 years. He told me that I did what he had been planning and telling everyone to do for the past 20 years. This made me feel tremendously proud and it felt like something that I have achieved.
5) Tell us about your journey of 40,000 km from Alaska to Argentina.
The journey started exactly from the Anchorage in Alaska, all the way to the Dead horse which is facing to the Arctic Ocean. And then riding to Ushuaia Argentina for the next 147 days. Crossing 15 countries, going through 9 different time zones, all seasons like summer, winter, autumn, spring and all others. The biggest problem was crossing Central America because of the ongoing issues with the govt. at that time. It was very angry and the citizens sometimes made me run away before crossing the border. Riding through Nicaragua, they had lots of issues with govt. Riding through Costa Rica, it was filled with protests and roadblocks. Riding through humid Panama, through Columbia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador was really tough. It was a very big challenge and also very beautiful. Especially the chilling Argentina. 40,000 km and these 5 months were the best 5 months of my life. People ask me what was the best part, I say that it was all an unforgettable experience. Starting all the way from Alaska to Ecuador, it was all very beautiful and lovely. I’d always see it in my dreams.
6) Which has been your most memorable ride?
My most memorable ride was the one I rode through Tajikistan. The main memorable thing was that the place had almost no technology and people were so happy seeing anyone. They had no electricity, no technology, gravel road and a big smile on their faces. I always love people who are happy to meet new people. I stayed there for about 6-7 days and they were really fun. Also, I rode in India in 2016 which is also one of the most memorable ride. I took a train from Delhi to Shimla and then rode through the Spiti valley. Entering Tibet from the Indian side, this ride was also filled with lots and lots of beautiful scenarios. Since then, I’ve had many followers throughout India and many people have informed me that they started riding after watching my film and videos.
7) Which has been the most dangerous ride?
As I said, in motorcycle, the adventures will always be on the corner. Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous and risky. Getting a bike out of your house can also be fatal. But I’d say that my most dangerous ride would be the one I rode through Tibet. The terrain was very tough and the roads were very slippery. It was raining heavily and we had to cross water logged roads. The mountainous region got really risky but it was very beautiful. I drove for about 7-8 hours without seeing a single human. It was very risky technically and those places were where no one could reach easily. Just like these, I have multiple experiences of dangerous as well as criminal incidents. Once I was almost kidnapped by organ trafficking gang in South America. They even pointed a gun to my head. But I am lucky that I survived all such incidents and have so many memories of different places.
8) What are your upcoming projects?
In 2020, I was planning to ride to Iraq, crossing from Turkey and leaving Iraq to Kuwait. But due to covid, all my plans came on hold. I was also planning to ride through Scandinavia. All the way from Germany to Finland and then from Finland to Norway. Then Norway to Sweden and then back over to Germany. So this was my plan for the summers of 2020 which I will be continuing once this pandemic is over. Then by 2022 I’ve thought of riding to Australia and London. Maybe, not sure yet, that I’ll be doing a ride from London to Thailand. Which is another part of the silk route. Riding through Siberia, Mongolia and all the way to Thailand. I’ve though of calling it Silk Route 2.
9) How was life in quarantine?
I made a very good use of quarantine. I started writing my book, started writing a bit more on my blogs and sorted my pictures and videos. I also created many short videos which are available on my social media accounts. I opened my business in Germany which is also associated with what I love. I started my Royal Enfield Dealership and a restaurant in Germany. So now I am a full-time business owner in Germany. I consider this as a big achievement during quarantine. I also went to multiple bike rallies in Qatar. Did some technical rides. I think quarantine helped me a lot as a person as it made me understand myself more and be a little more compassionate. I hope whatever I learned during my quarantine period stays with me for long and helps me throughout my life.
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