JEDDAH: Saudi adventurer Badr Al-Shibani will be on top of the world when he ticks off the latest lifetime ambition on his bucket list.
Hot on the heels of realizing his childhood dream of seeing an active volcano, the 39-year-old entrepreneur is now training to climb Everest, the highest mountain on Earth.
And if Al-Shibani manages to scale the 8,848-meter-high Himalayan peak later this year, he will become only the fifth Saudi to do so.
“I think traveling, and wondering, and doing adventure is the new way of living,” he said.
Al-Shibani’s passion for adventure started 15 years ago when he made a bucket list of goals which included reaching the summits of the world’s highest seven mountains, jumping out of a plane, diving into the deepest cave, and visiting an active volcano, something he did recently.
Volcanoes had fascinated him from the age of 10, and eventually he set his mind to going to see one at firsthand.
After preparing for a year, Al-Shibani journeyed to Nicaragua to experience seeing the famous Masaya lake of molten lava. Formed during an eruption 2,500 years ago, the so-called lake is contained in a volcanic vent and with expert help he was able to hang above it.
“I cannot find a word to describe how I was feeling, but it was a mix of thrill, adrenaline rush and maybe scared a little bit, especially when I was in the middle of the robe and seeing the volcano beneath me,” he said.
And he only told his family and friends about his daring escapade after he had done it, sharing photos with them of his experience.
He now plans to visit another active volcano, Mount Nyiragongo, in Congo, in the next two or three years.
Other items on his bucket list include summiting the highest mountain on each continent, and he has already conquered four of them — Kosciuszko in Australia, Elbrus in Europe, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Vinson in Antarctica.
But the biggest challenge, Mount Everest, is yet to come.
Al-Shibani has been training for six months for the trip and still has four months of preparation to go. “It is not an easy mountain. It’ll take us two months there in the mountain just to reach the summit and come back,” he said.
Calling himself a “life-seeker,” Al-Shibani said adventure and experiences were something that would benefit most Saudis, helping to broaden their minds, connect with the world, and discover and try new things.