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Amin and Nara (AminoNara)

Today's Explorers

Amin and Nara (AminoNara)

September 12, 2022
7
min read
by
Charles Forman
Saudi Arabia
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Where are you from?

Saudi Arabia

When did you start your interest in exploration?

Our love for exploration and long distance overlanding started before we knew each other, but it grew exponentially when we got married.

It’s taken us to places none of the people around us have ever been to, whether in Saudi or internationally.

Amin got his car, the FJ cruiser that we use right now, in 2010 and he started getting introduced to outdoors activities since then, starting from sand dunes drifting to beach camping around the Red Sea.

Nara has always been that girl with her native tribal spirit, and she always felt like a scene of belonging with nature and being always on the move. being very young and pioneer in the travel and exploration world in Saudi Arabia, has always been fascinating for me " Amin" remembering her still in her early 20s and participating in trips, explorations with the most prestigious schools here in Saudi "KAUST" am I’m not sure but I believe she was the only Saudi female back then, if I’m not mistaken. I see the sparkle in her eyes when she reads books about geophysics or earth science or even environmental management articles. I definitely have done something so good in my previous life to win this amazing person "Nara".

BTW, as much as I have been with an interest in exploration and outdoors, she is the reason why we are doing what we are doing. and that brings me happiness every time I remember how I was introduced to this entire world.

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

We both come from very average and traditional families here in Saudi Arabia. growing up we both have been taught how to be average and just keep doing what everyone else is trying to do. Nothing special about it.

Professionally we both come from a corporate world with well paid jobs throughout the years.

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

We split tasks based on the destination and the journey. Amin: the Pilot of every journey, mechanic and the one who gets things either fixed or really damaged, along with communicating with brands and companies that we partner up with, and all the night drives that we sometimes have to do. Finally, video editing.

Nara: co-pilot and does all the route planning and pinpointing of where we need to be, where and how. She has the basic knowledge of making and reading. all day drives. meal prep and all the planning for those meals.

We are both photographers and we take photographs equally and so as aerial photography, but Nara is our main photographer + videographer.

Luna is our unofficial guard dog and the loudest member of the team. She takes pride in keeping our family safe and providing us with an endless supply of love and comfort.
 Kira is our four-legged co-pilot and the youngest member of our team. She is a certified sweetheart and brings all the fun with her playful spirit.

Where have you explored so far?

We both have had a fair amount of travels, but coming from this part of the world and being late 80s baby boomers, usually our independent lives came later than anyone in the west. The culture of travel solo or at least the way we do it now is something not common at all, we are considered "higgle adventures and risk takers here in Saudi". While we look at it from a very different perspective and maybe because we have done it more than anyone else here, so we don't see the risk they are talking about with the same degree that they are talking about.

Also as Saudis we are extremely family oriented, we leave our parents' nests when we are married, and sometimes we never do, we just continue living with them.

Putting that in mind, I "Amin" have done most of my travels abroad with my parents " and I am an only child " and in my mid twenties started to travel with a group of friends "overlanders" like those you see "Jeepers 😅 "

Nara started travelling in her early 20s on her own -yet this is very unusual for a Saudi woman with a strict tribal family, yet she was able to find a way to do it. Her first solo travel was to the States and from there she went onward travelling either in Saudi with school, for example she went once studying old earthquakes in Saudi and so on.

Together we have covered kms and miles around the world more than being alone.

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

We are hoping to ship our car to Europe and drive the whole continent and every country exploring the roads less travelled and the backcountry. We chose Europe as it's going to be the first international trip with our dogs and we needed a place where they feel welcomed and safe.

Where would you recommend others visit?

Saudi Arabia

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

FJ cruiser 2010. rooftop tent, fridge, removed the back seats and added a platform for the dogs.

What are five pieces of equipment that you always travel with?

First aid kit. recovery equipment, Amin has diabetes type one, so all the sugary snacks and sugar we can have, ticks and flea removal kits for the dogs, cameras.

What inspires you to explore more?

Alec and Jan Forman (Strangers like Angels) and Gunther Holtorf

How do you engage with others?

We meet while we travel or in general like social media. Also Saudi coffee is a great conversation starter.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

Since the beginning of time, human beings have always had the need to belong in communities. In today's world and with the exposure that the internet allows to almost everything and everywhere and since the beginning of trade and travel, cultural exchange has happened. Today the world has become a huge melting pot of all the cultures, traditions, and maybe customs. Embracing this would make the world a better place, would make us more understanding and flexible in accepting our differences.

Yes, we usually try to embrace the similarity of humans around the globe by remembering that we are the same and all human. But from our perspective we are not " positively " the world is big and all humans are different as we come from different cultures, backgrounds, environments etc so instead of hiding all these qualities under the rug and say we are the same, we should embrace our differences as qualities, by exchanging them, learning from each other and inspire each other.

What are your goals when you explore?

To be honest, our goal is to explore. By building human connection all around the world, and enjoy Mother Nature while we can.

What are some challenges you have experienced?

Visas, passport privileges are something real and we are lucky to have the Saudi passport. Yet there are countries with political conflicts with our beloved country and that's preventing us from driving from our home town out of the Middle East.

Also the war in Syria and the one in Yemen is something very unfortunate.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

How travel and exploration keep bringing us closer together as a couple. Being with each other 24 hours is a challenge yet something very profound.

It is hard to count how many meaningful moments, but we chose this one.

How has exploration changed you?

We are never the same people after every trip, destination and that's the journey of growth we are so thankful for.

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

The world is big and is the most valuable asset we human beings have.

How do you explore locally?

We covered around 500K km in exploring Saudi Arabia, yet every time we do " because we are still doing it every winter " it just amazes us in a way that has never been before.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

It's all about the journey, not the destination.

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

Honestly, just do it.

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