JEDDAH: Meet Abdullah Al-Qurashi, 30, who is redefining road trips in Saudi Arabia with the help of a campervan nicknamed Aladdin, which he describes as a “little home on wheels.”
Al-Qurashi was studying for a digital media master’s degree in Canada in 2014 but quit after two months of the program to travel and volunteer around the world.
But, before quitting his master’s, he met some travelers from Australia and Germany. “We became very good friends so they invited me to join them for a trip to Colombia,” he told Arab News.
“After we finished the trip I decided to stop my master’s degree program to be able to travel as much as I could. Through my travels, I learned many different styles of traveling. One of them was traveling in a campervan.”
He said the idea of living and traveling in a campervan was very common in Canada.
In 2019, he went back to Canada to work and travel, working on an organic farm, and at the same time, he bought an old van and started converting it into something more liveable.
I could see the beauty of Saudi Arabia and how big our country is. The people I have met along the way and their generosity, inviting me for coffee or meals. In my experience, Saudis are one of the easiest going personalities to start a conversation with, and they would help immediately should you need anything.
“I named my campervan Aladdin. Aladdin has all essentials you need or you have in your house, from the bed, sink, small kitchen, storage, air conditioning, tables, refrigerator, solar panels for electricity and lights, and finally a fan,” he said. “We can say it’s a little home on wheels.”
And, because he liked road trips, his “Aladdin” allowed him to experience that adventure and lifestyle.
“Every single day is a totally different day, from the view I would wake to early morning, to the people I meet in every single stop I make, and living on the road here in the Kingdom is different from Canada,” he said.
“By that, I mean the community of campervans here is still new and, until today, I only met one couple living in their car. Also, where I can stop to sleep at night sometimes could be an issue here because there are no decent places for a campervan to camp overnight.”
Since he moved into his campervan on Jan. 2, 2022, he has traveled in the west of the Kingdom, along the Red Sea, and the north.
“I just came back from AlUla. For now, I’m preparing to go to the southern part of the Kingdom, and I am so excited to discover that part as I have never visited it in my life.”
He said his experience traveling around the Kingdom had been great so far.
“I could see the beauty of Saudi Arabia and how big our country is. The people I have met along the way and their generosity, inviting me for coffee or meals.”
He highlighted the diversity of the Kingdom, with each part having its own tradition, accent, food, and weather.
“In my experience, Saudis are one of the easiest-going personalities to start a conversation with, and they would help immediately should you need anything,” he said.