That Time When I Decided To Go To Saudi Arabia

That Time When I Decided To Go To Saudi Arabia

berlin air
Air Berlin to Qatar and from Doha to Saudi

Sometimes I tend to agree with my friends when they say that I may be crazy. But the mundane is boring. Who wants to go only to the places that others have been and relive their experiences? Certainly not me.

I haven’t kept a permanent home since 2008 and to be honest I never really planned on doing so until a certain person entered my life in 2010. And when she walked out of it due to irreconcilable differences I could not put up with anymore, life took on a new meaning. At first it was a scary meaning; confusion, distrust of heart related matters.

But I had good friends around me. And with good friends you can get through anything. And that’s when it hit me.

Being on the road is where I find true freedom. The kind that can’t be taken away.

And just like that life took on a new meaning.

A good meaning. A light shun from afar that I had been missing, a new day came of it and when the sun set, I wasn’t scared of the dark.

I started traveling again, made some wonderful new friends in Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic and of course Germany. I spent a few months in Berlin studying German and when someone new entered my life, loving wasn’t so hard again. But this post it’s not about that; it’s about taking on new adventures, new challenges, breaking norms and doing whatever the hell you want to do with your life.

And when you do that, in time you learn who your real friends are, who loves you beyond just words and who you can call family. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Why Saudi Arabia?

When asked this I tend to think why not? It’s just like any other country in the world except with some really really really harsh rules. The first document I got on my way to Saudi Arabia threatened my life.
Saudi warning
Okay maybe not exactly but who puts that on their declaration form? No other country I have been to has drug smugglers put to death on their form. Scary stuff. It just shows how strict the rules are here. And does explain and justifies the comments by my buddy this morning who wrote me asking

Still alive? Still have both of your hands?

Yes I still do and luckily I am not a drug smuggler otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. But I still haven’t answered the question why Saudi.

Because what is true about me today would make my ten year old self really happy. We all had dreams as children. We wanted to be superheros, doctors, chefs, presidents, ninjas, travel and see the world and whatever.

Although I had all those dreams that we all had as children, some of them stayed with me. I always wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted to be a Poet, a Teacher like my grandfather and a more simple one, a good person. That’s what my ten year old self wanted.

I want to be able to sit on a rocking chair one day with my grand kids and tell them about that time when I decided to go to Saudi Arabia. It will be a story that will remain with them and hopefully inspire their own dream.

Dreams are all we have and making them come true is what all of us strive for. Like Einstein said, “imagination is more important than knowledge” but in my adventure, I gain knowledge while fostering my imagination and reaching new heights. And that’s what Saudi Arabia represents. But if we wanted to go into details here is what it also offers:

  1. It’s a well paid contract
  2. I teach the same hours I have taught in other countries
  3. It’s a new job with great potential
  4. They pay for everything; I just show up and do what I do
  5. It’s in a country I know little to nothing about
  6. and best of all, it’s an adventure and I love adventures.

What’s not to like with this deal?

How did I come about this gig?

Like any other job I applied. Like teaching in Korea, Japan, Taiwan or any where else the process is pretty much the same. You contact the recruiter seeking Teachers for that particular region. They ask you to submit your information, education, qualifications etc and they start job hunting for you.

If and when they find a position that’s a match for your qualifications, they present it to you. If you are interested then you are interviewed by the recruiter first, then the school they represent. If you like the perks which in most cases include, housing, health insurance, airfare, moving allowance and so forth, then you accept. And the rest is hunky dory.

A lot of countries are seeking English Teachers because the language has become more and more important with each passing year.
And what better way to travel and see the world than having someone else pay for it? When you have your weekends and time off, you can explore nearby countries like I did for 3 years in Asia. Nothing beats that.

It gets addictive though

Many times I have wanted to return home and stay. For example this previous trip home; the longest I have had, I almost stayed but things didn’t work out the way I wanted at the job I was at. And once again I was reminded and reunited with my dream to see as much of the world as possible. And one day be able to sit down on a rocking chair and tell my grand kids about that time when I decided to go to Saudi Arabia. It will be a legendary story that will create a wonderful memory for them.

It does get addictive because once a traveler always a traveler. Either you are doing it physically or you are thinking about where you would like to go and making plans to go there. It never stops. If you doubt me check out Wandering Earl, Nomadic Matt or Expert Vagabond. These guys have been at it for quite sometime. They all have their own ways that allow them to keep doing it and each of their story is unique.

What do I expect?

I expect to have a blast. To ride camels and go desert surfing as often as possible. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I landed and when viewing the landscape from the plane. The entire country is a f**king desert. A filthy rich f**king desert.

My driver (Hussein) was telling me while driving me from the airport that there are oil reserves in Saudi Arabia for the next two hundred years and that’s not even a tip of the iceberg. He said everywhere they dig just over flows with oil. And that there are two mountains said to be full of gold. And the gold you buy here is pure one hundred percent gold.

So I expect to get me a piece of that gold in a form of a nice watch for now since all the leather ones I buy tend to break after a year or so of use.

I expect to be at orientation on Sunday morning. That’s when I will see Hussein again unless I need him to take me anywhere anytime then I can call him. But that’s boring. Why call him to drive me around when I can put on my shoes of disobedient and go explore Al-Khobar? Too dangerous? Nah, then what’s fun without a tiny bit of danger.

Just last night I was in Berlin saying goodbye to the most lovely person in the world. Then I was hopping on the plan to Qatar where I spent two hours doodling online. And now I am at Al Nimran Hotel in Al Khobar. Hussein is gone. The regional manager called me a few minutes ago to let me know about the schedule and that Hussein will be back on Sunday to drop me off to work unless I need him before then. But I am exhausted because I didn’t sleep at all in the plane so now I will go out, grab a bit and catch up on a little reading then hit the sack.

Two other Teachers arrive today from Canada and South Africa and a third one tomorrow from California. I look forward to meeting them and hoping they are good people on this here new adventure I am about to share with them.

I am a little nervous but less so now than excited.
I am interested to know if Saudi Arabia is like the stories I have read online. After all, it’s the most restrictive Muslim country in the world. How will I fare here? Will I crack under pressure and cave because of the restrictions? Or will I embrace it and adapt like I have done in other countries. Who knows!

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