It was never easy but he tried, pulled it off with flying colours and made a mark in history by travelling the world by just using his motorcycle. An adventurer in his own right, a loving husband and father to his family, a businessman, an IT Engineer and an ambitious filmmaker rolled into one, he is none other than Khalid Al Jaber and he is this week's Who's Who personality.
Despite his busy schedule and prior commitments, team ILQ was able to get an interview with this future Hall of Famer of the motorcycling world and get to know him up close and personal. Join us as we reveal the man behind the dreams, the record-breaking adventures, and the accolades and praises. It all began with a single dream and, as they all say, the rest is history!
Khalid's love for motorcycles started when he was a child. He recalled enjoying and liking the smell of the steaming hot motorbike after each long drive with his family. From then on, he was sure that what he wanted to do in his life, was to ride motorbikes and explore different places around the world.
Khalid: "I promised myself to get one when I grow up. I always delayed the project of being a biker or a motorcycle traveller until the right time but that right time never came to me, until I decided to make it. Let us say this career started back in 2012 when I started riding around Europe and continued until I covered 82 countries."
When he was a child, Khalid would usually salute policemen riding motorcycles every time they passed by his house. He would tell his mother he would be a policeman someday for the simple reason that they rode motorcycles. This simple thought fuelled his dream.
Travelling has been part of Khalid's life. He never lived in one country for more than 10 years. He spent his childhood in Geneva, then moved to Japan, Germany, London and finally back to Qatar. That's why it became confusing and hard to decide which one was home. This could explain why until now he's still travelling and constantly looking for new adventures.
The ILQ Team: "Who inspires you"
Khalid: "My grandfather was my biggest inspiration when he told me to chase my dreams even if they are located on a star! He said that when I was seven, and I realized the power of that word just a few years ago. Ted Simon, was a great inspiring story too. He wrote a book called “Jupiter’s Travels” and spent seen years travelling on a motorcycle, from the early 70s. That book inspired me a lot to follow and chase my dreams at all cost."
In his early years, Khalid worked as an IT Engineer for 15 years back in the 1990s. During that time, Qatar needed science and engineering people to fill the vast projects arising back then. Khalid recalls, that he had no choice; the scholarships that were offered were from these industries. Unwillingly, he enrolled and studied computing and information system calculations.
Khalid: " I was working for 15 years in something that I have never loved which was so disappointing and I lost hope in finding my dream, although I did enjoy my education a Richmond University in London and Masters in Computer Crimes from East London, but I only found myself in motorcycling and that was just five days before I turned 40.
Before getting deep with motorbikes, did you know that Khalid was a film producer? He started his small film production company a few years ago, which is still running today, and he's done some interesting projects. Many of his short films went to important film festivals, the biggest being the Cannes film festival. He felt so proud when his short film "Voyager" made it to the festival's cut and got screened for people to appreciate and watch.
Khalid started his competitive motorbiking adventures in 2010, and he plans his every trip carefully, checking every safe route and locating key destinations to visit before actually starting the adventure. Khalid started this as a weekly thing, riding on weekends; these turned into months then eventually years. But as his love for biking grew, he realized that the country was too small for the vision that he had for himself. Khalid wanted more. He wanted to cross boundaries and borders and take his passion on a higher level by touring globally. He began to ride around Europe and left his trail in Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and England.
Khalid has been on several expeditions as an adventure motorbiker. One of those, he recalls as one of oddest challenges.
“I was reading a motorcycle magazine and I read an ad about riding in the Himalayas. I immediately went on the website and booked my seat on the trip.”
20 days later, he was in Delhi, India, preparing for the next excursion. As part of the bold adventure, Khalid rode through the Spiti Valley and reached the Kunzum Pass in the Himalayas which lies 4,600-metres above sea level.
Although Khalid's longest motorbiking adventure was the “Trans Americas” in 2018 which started from the Top Arctic Ocean – Alaska all the way to the bottom of Argentina, which took him 40,000 km of daily riding for five months. He considers “The Silk Road” trip the biggest in 2017. The trip started from the Ace Café in London, UK, and finished at the Ace Café in Beijing, China. The journey was a journey inside of him as he biked through the terrains on the road and in his life, too. It became a journey of finding himself and changing the wrong decisions he had made on his life. That trip was also as important as his personal journey because many people that time doubted he could finish the trip including his close friends and family, so it was a good opportunity to prove them all wrong.
During the trip, Al-Jaber traveled 21,000 km through 19 countries: England, France, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Austria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan and finally China.
The ILQ Team: "What keeps you striving for more? What keeps you going?"
Khalid: "I have two daughters, and I keep asking them whether what I am doing is considered crazy and dangerous; they keep telling me to continue travelling because this “job” makes them always proud of me. My 11-year-old “Noof” is bragging about my travels at school, and my 8-year-old “Layla” keeps drawing me on my motorcycle holding my helmet. This encourages me to continue."
The ILQ Team: "What's the key to your success?"
Khalid: "Believing in myself, insisting on standing up every time I fall, considering everything I loved as a career including my hobbies. Why do we need to separate our hobbies from our career? That what I always asked myself and realised that motorbiking could be a new career for me."
It seems there's no stopping Khalid anytime soon. As a matter of fact, this Thursday, 5 August 2019, he will be officially starting his "Heart of the Planet" adventure. Currently, Khalid is Nairobi, Kenya preparing, and this is where he will start the trip.
The "Heart of the Planet " will begin in Kenya, and he will travel to Tanzania, Zanzibar, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and finally South Africa, covering around 15,000 kilometres of road.
Khalid: "Africa is still an undiscovered continent, I consider it the richest, and its located in the heart of planet earth. It has also the sense and pulse of everything living on this planet. It has the national parks, the treasures, the undiscovered jungles, waterfalls, lakes, and islands. I’ve chosen it because I am trying to promote this content to people of Qatar and the middle east. They should consider travelling to new destinations, and consider moving towards adventure more than a holiday."
The ILQ Team: "What is the best legacy you can leave to the people?"
Khalid: "I am a storyteller, the stories, travels, challenges and adventures I have gone through if they were all gathered in a book I believe they can be a life-changer to many who are stuck in their lives and career. I have managed to change myself through my travels, and I believe others would do if they live my experience."
The ILQ Team: "Any last words you would want to share our readers?"
Khalid: "Travel and leave your comfort zone, so when you are back to it, you feel the joy of walking back to it and feel pride in what you have achieved. Life is not a holiday, its an adventure."
If you were given the chance to bike around the world, would you take it? Just like Khalid, will you do just about anything to chase and reach your dreams? Tell us your thoughts on this and comment below. Also, don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!
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