The Kuwait Embassy in Phnom Penh opened its doors last week to welcome a fellow Kuwaiti, Abdul Mohsin T. Albaghli, who was on a unique mission to travel the world on two wheels.
After approximately 120 days on the road, the 55-year-old and his 1000cc superbike made it safely to the Kingdom on Thursday, where he was welcomed with an intimate dinner and a short stay at the residence of H.E. Zaher alkhurainej, Charges d’affaire of the Kuwait Embassy.
This was not his first long-distance trip on a motorcycle as he had previously “conquered” Europe, travelling over 17 countries and covering a span of 60,000 kilometres within just 60 days back in 2013.
Following that, he also took on Middle Asia, where he spent a little over five months covering 45,000 kilometres, just before he embarked on this particular trip.
This time, Mr Albaghli travelled over 30,000 kilometres to get to Cambodia – passing through Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, China, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
“Wherever I go, people would ask me – why do I do this? And my answer is that I want to start a new chapter in life. As a former engineer for an oil refinery back home, I was used to a luxurious lifestyle. I want to step away from that.
“Firstly, I want to explore my limits. The human body can stand extremes but we are not utilising them to the max. Fear somehow always stops us. I figured if I want to truly push myself, the first thing to do was to step away from my comfort zone,” he quips.
To be able to go on such a journey, one would have to be physically and emotionally prepared to acclimatise to the ever-changing weather and manoeuvre the various terrains, while abiding by the rules set by each of the countries involved.
“It is not easy, that is for sure. But if there is a will, there is always a way,” Mr Albaghli says.
On top of that, he says he wishes to be an informal ambassador of all Kuwaitis and Muslims in Kuwait. This trip, he adds, allows him the opportunity to interact with the global community and at the same time, quash some misconceptions about his “people”.
“Kuwait is just a small dot on the globe. Not many people know about Kuwaitis, how we live or essentially who we are. A lot of people think we live far away from civilisations – like we don’t know anything. That is untrue.
“I also want to show people that we are not terrorists. We love peace and our religion, Islam, is based on peaceful dealings with others. Our Holy Book forbids us from harming others,” Mr Albaghli says. “We are all humans. There is no reason to spread hate although we believe in different Creators or speak different languages.”
Sharing some highlights from his extraordinary journey, Mr Albaghli says he felt fortunate that he was able to see the world in a more personal way and that he got to meet so many wonderful people.
“Cambodia, for instance, is very welcoming. From what I saw, I already love it here. There are friendly faces everywhere. Even the officials at the border were highly accommodating and friendly, in spite of the understandably arduous nature of their jobs. I’m very lucky.
“I also got to document my journey so I can share with others. For instance, I’ll never forget driving up to the world’s highest-altitude ATM in Pakistan at about 4,800 metres above sea level. It is just amazing,” he says.
While he had not encountered any security or safety issues during his solo trip, Mr Albaghli adds there were moments that seemed almost like they were taken straight out of a Hollywood movie.
“From the Nepalese border Rasuwa, I had to drive to Kathmandu, which was approximately 140 kilometres. For that specific part of the journey, there were no roads. The path was muddy and tricky as it is a part of the forests.
“You might not know this but that particular area is home to the Nepalese tigers known for having the strongest jaws and extremely ferocious. This is not a joke, I could have easily been eaten with just one bite. Luckily, I focused solely on the driving and made it through in about 20 hours,” he says.
Unfortunately, his mission had been brought to a halt due to the current threat of the global COVID-19 outbreak. After assessing the current situation, Mr Albaghli says he decided to end his trip in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he will be taking a flight home to Kuwait.
“Due to ongoing health issues I will not be able to visit Singapore and Indonesia. After Cambodia, I will go back to the Southern part of Thailand and conclude my journey in Malaysia.
“It is rather unfortunate as this will be the first time that I will be shipping my motorcycle back home. Previously, I had always started and ended in Kuwait itself,” he explains.