Dubai: Three Arab travelers, who explored different cultures and nations and tried to document what they saw through their own perspective, spoke about their experiences and their journeys before becoming travel writers during a session held as part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
The session titled ‘Travelling the Globe’ invited the three well-known writers to share their tales and adventures, including how they came to choose the tools that would help them best document their travels.
Nasir Al Daheri, an award-winning Emirati author, journalist and photographer who writes travel features for regional publications spoke about his experiences as a travel writer and, in particular, how he came to have a collection of photographs of old people from around the world.
“When I began documenting daily events and moments that stood out to me, I only had my pen and my camera,” he said. “I was particularly interested in one major theme when taking these photographs and it was of old faces and men with white beards. There is a philosophical idea behind this, which is related to the speed of time and how time can be paused with a click [of the camera],” said Al Daheri, who named his collection Third Eye.
Speaking about his decision to become a travel writer, Abdullah Al Jumah said he was inspired to write a book called Tales of a Saudi in Europe going by the encouraging response he received from his followers on twitter every time he tweeted about his travels.
The author and lecturer in law, who has travelled to over 50 countries, decided to combine accounts of his travels that he had shared with his followers in a book, which discussed his adventures as a Saudi relating to completely different cultures.
“It was all about travelling as a traveller and not as a tourist. It’s a different experience that people should try once in a while, because it gives them a chance to deeply explore the country they are visiting and engage with other cultures in a more meaningful way,” Al Jumah said.
Travel experiences becomes far more richer this way, he said. “I always tried to reflect my own personality and find links between other people and myself. I tried to mingle with others instead of following the same exact programme my friends had when travelling to the same place,” he added.
Emirati poet, journalist and writer Talal Salem Al Sabri, who recorded his travel experiences in Nigeria for the sake of Emirati audiences, said he tried to gain insights into the smallest details of the Nigerian culture, including their music, language, cuisine, customs, and behaviours after being sent to work there by his company.
Speaking about his frame of mind when visiting a country portrayed as unsafe in the media, he said, “everything changed when I got there”.
“I wrote about myself as a citizen in Nigeria,” he said. “I was unfamiliar with many things happening around me, but I learnt to adapt and accept and I eventually was able to adjust. I moved from a state of shock to familiarity.”