A Trip Back In Time: Rub Al-Khali Camel Expedition 2011


One man’s dream has the power to affect many. In this case, it was one Saudi man’s dream to relive the past, which brought together six men (three Saudis and three Americans) of different ages and backgrounds. For the Saudis, it was a chance to reconnect; for the Americans, it was to experience anew what few today have done.

The effect it had for those who participated will last a lifetime and be spread far and wide to those who didn’t as the team included a writer, two professional photographers, a videographer and an archaeologist/geologist from the Dammam Museum.

It began as all great journeys do: with careful, meticulous planning. In late 2010, Geraiyan Al-Hajri, a Saudi Aramco construction engineer and the deep-desert expert and visionary behind the trip, began planning the Travel Back in Time caravan.

“I wanted for us to reconnect with the past, to recognize the hardships the Bedouins faced and to learn more about how they lived in the Rub Al-Khali,” said Al-Hajri. “I began thinking about it two years ago, and last year, I decided it was time to do it and began planning.”

The trip took place in the Rub Al-Khali, known in English as The Empty Quarter, which is the world’s largest uninterrupted sand sea, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula and covering some 650,000 square kilometers.

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