Creature comforts aren’t a priority for Albara Alohali. In just the last year alone, the Saudi adventurer has walked 500 miles across Japan in the snow, trekked across the Moroccan desert on a camel, and camped out in open fields and under bridges.
Why? Because the intrepid travel blogger/vlogger is a happier person when on the road. Alohali made a stop at National YoungArts Foundation Thursday to discuss his minimalist lifestyle and shared a few lessons he’s learned along the way.
What’s your current situation?
I have been vagabonding almost 200 days. This is the longest time I have been on the road on the go. I have felt the urge to find a place to recharge. I have realized the importance of having a place called home and settle for a bit.
What’s the secret to your stamina?
I don’t know if there is a secret to walking, I just walk. Walking is simple. It is the simplest activity you can do. Almost everyone born grows up to learn how to walk. It does not need technical skills or training. Doing more of it makes it easier. There is something magical about it. Because it is slow, after a very long time, you will see you have done a lot. Small steps accumulate to big distances afterward and it is rewarding in that way.
What was the most challenging part of logging so many miles all over the world?
Adapting to several new things at the same time was both exciting and challenging. I think, for me, the physical tiredness and not being able to speak or express that pain were the biggest challenges. For the whole journey, sleeping was the most difficult part. You walked so much and then you have to sleep so little in a small tent in very cold (subzero) temperatures. Sleeping was the last resort to charge you for the day; if it does not happen well, you will find it extremely tough to move on. You are in nature; you are not at five star hotel.
What do most people ask you when you make appearances?
It’s obviously the question of why. Why torture yourself? Why do all of this? It’s not required for a lot of people. Naturally, as human beings, we avoid pain and go for comfort. We avoid being embarrassed and in uncomfortable situations. For me, [travel] is all about curiosity of exploring myself. I never recalled finding a discovery about myself or a moment that I cherished that did not happen in a comfort zone. This is a tool for self-discovery and appreciation of the things we take for granted.
What about you makes you the right man for the job, so to speak?
For me, it is all about curiosity of exploring myself. I never recalled finding a discovery about myself or a moment that I cherished that did not happen in a comfort zone. This is a tool for self-discovery and appreciation of the things we take for granted. No matter what, the things we take for granted — like getting sick is something that overcomes us. But while we are going through [the illness] we see everyone healthy as lucky and we want to go back to that. Once we get cured, we have this appreciation for a few days or hours of health, and then go back to taking health for granted. That’s why, for me, the bigger the challenge, the longer lasting the effect. We always need to keep ourselves reminded.
For tickets to the event at the NYAF, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday click here