The world is filled with amazing places to explore which is why travel and hospitality is a multi-billion dollar industry. For many people, travelling is not only about embarking on a new adventure but it's actually learning from different places and people and using that knowledge to enhance one's lifestyle.
This trend of world travel has not escaped the Omanis. Having a powerful passport that allows them to enter several countries all over the world visa-free, many are embarking on their separate journeys, not just for the sake of travelling alone but to wander and see places and things beyond Oman.
Ibrahim bin Ali Al-Saadi from the Wilayat of Al Suwaiq has toured the world in his classic car and he does it not just for tourism purposes but also in exchange, to introduce Oman to people in places that he has visited.
Al Saadi has been to dozens of countries. Wherever he goes, he collects stickers of flags which he then decorates the hood of his car.
He shared that he embarks on this trip with his classic car not just to see new sceneries but to also understand different cultures.
His first trip began in 2015 when he visited Turkey. Falling in love with the amazing contrast the country offers — from green forests to fantastic bare mountains, he then decided to explore the European continent.
Ibrahim successfully navigated his way into the complexities of travelling requirements and has explored Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
In 2019, Ibrahim and his friends started thinking about a road trip that was built upon the outcome of their rich experiences of travelling in Europe. They set a special plan that was distinct from the ones set by other Gulf travellers. So a route was planned to start from the Sultanate of Oman and end in the Kingdom of Norway, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this plan was unfortunately postponed.
Ibrahim shared that there had been several people who travel from the Middle East by land to Europe. Learning from those different accounts, they eventually pushed through with their plans in May starting from Oman and passing through UAE, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Serbia, Belgium, and France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
While travelling with a classic car has several challenges including getting the necessary permits, Ibrahim was dedicated to his goal.
Accompanied by his friends, they took 3 cars that they felt can last the long leg of their journey. Aside from his classic car, two modern cars joined the adventure and his friends Muath Al-Saadi, Nasser, Badr, Ahmed, Talib Al-Qarini, and Khalil Al-Kharusi were all game for the daunting task.
“My choice of the classic car was kind of a challenge and fun at the same time, and on the other hand, it is a means of attracting and promoting the itinerary. As you know, classic cars have many fans. We decorated it and the rest of the cars with the flags of the Sultanate and the countries that we will pass by. Additionally, We have prepared in advance in anticipation of any malfunction that may occur to the cars through maintenance, purchase and exchange of some consumable parts, to carry throughout the trip in case of anything that may happen to the cars,” Said Al Saadi, one of the participants said.
Throughout this long trip, the group faced many challenges along the way.
"We faced some difficulties during our travels from one country to another, especially in language and dealing with currencies, and we also noticed the difference in oil prices from one country to another," Al Saadi said.
"Embarking on such a long trip, you are bringing the burden of representing your country which is why it was important to act decently," he added.
"There are many people who stopped us to ask about my country and my journey and where I started, so I passionately told them about that brown land, its picturesque nature, its authentic culture, its charming tourist places and warm blue waters," Ibrahim shared.
Ibrahim said that they learned many things on the said adventure. Preparedness is one of the primary things one should consider.
"If you intend to travel, you must choose the right company, learn about the laws of the country and the requirements of border crossings, take health and comprehensive insurance for cars, respect the laws of the country and the policy of housing reservation, and do not forget to show the character and traits of a gentle Omani through your interactions with people, as well as to set a sufficient budget for a trip and not to forget the maintenance of cars comprehensively," Ibrahim said.