Show Notes for Podcast #89 

Overland Destination: Saudi Arabia

Summary: 

Scott Brady discusses travel to Saudi Arabia with Ashley Giordano, as she reflects on her recent journey to the kingdom with Richard, traveling around the country in a Toyota Fortuner. 



Guest Bio: 

ASHLEY GIORDANO

Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or researching wild medicinal plants. Ashley is a co-founder of Women Overlanding the World and crew member of Expedition Overland. You’ll find this Canadian-born couple exploring a different continent in 2021, and sharing their trip every step of the way at Desk to Glory. @desktoglory_ash

 

Host Bio:

Scott Brady

Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady

 

This episode sponsored in part by:

Black Series Trailers 

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Full Transcript

Saudi Ashley and Scott

Scott Brady:[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I am your host, Scott Brady, and I am here with my co-host Ashley Giordano. Ashley, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Ashley Giordano: Thank you so much for having me.

Scott Brady: Yeah. We're going to talk about some fun stuff today. We're going to talk a lot about Saudi Arabia. We're going to talk about the Dakar. We're going to talk about Richard and your trip over there to the middle east, which is extremely interesting to talk about.

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First of all, I want to acknowledge that we are recording this the day after International Women's Day, and unfortunately we didn't record it on that day, but it has been so exciting to see the continued change within the marketplace. We have more and more stories being told and you are a big part of that. So one of the things that I wanted to ask you about given that we're celebrating International Women's Day and Women's Month as well, talk about some of the most inspiring women's stories that you have learned in your research.

Ashley Giordano: That's a great one. I totally acknowledged that there are so many women traveling today that are very inspiring, and of course there are so many to choose from, but, um, for some reason, for me, the women of the past have just been something I'm very passionate about and very drawn to for different reasons. For some reason, Barbara Toy's always the one that I keep coming back to, I think it's for a variety of reasons. Had [00:02:00] extensive travels all over the world in her Land Rover, and she did multiple around the world trips and she did them solo. Yeah. She got to some places like Saudi Arabia that a lot of other women, or even travelers couldn't get to at that time. I think for me too, the thrill of the chase or the thrill of the hunt is very important and she has nine books that she published and I can get my hands on too, easily. And the rest are out of print and either very expensive to get your hands on or almost impossible. I am definitely looking forward to getting a copy of her books and looking into her a bit more. So you'll see more coming up about her. I'm going to dive pretty deep into her history and I'm looking forward to sharing that with everybody.

Scott Brady: That's great. Well, and if anyone is listening that has seen some of her books, please reach out to Ashley, so that way we can, we can hunt them down. I like that the thrill of the hunt. Yeah, for me, I would say that one of the most inspiring women travelers for me is Lois Pryce. [00:03:00] I've followed her travels for a long time. I would say that she's absolutely one of my travel heroes. I think that she travels in such a way that we can all learn from that. She travels on a small motorcycle. She travels solo and it's all about interacting with the people that she gets to see along the way. So it has nothing to do with the vehicle, or very little, and nothing to do with the gear. And she wears a pair of off the shelf, Frye boots and an open face helmet. So it just says a lot about traveling for the sake of joy of travel. So I think Lois is a big inspiration for that. So those that are listening, checkout Lois Pryce, she's got a bunch of books available as well, that are all excellent reads. And of course we have many editors within our own team that are telling stories as well, like Ashley and Heather Lee. And of course our editor in chief, Tena Overacker. So I'm so grateful for. All of the women that are part of our team and celebrating international women's day today. What else is going on? Ashley? What's new?

Ashley Giordano: We're back in Calgary, which has a bit of a shock with the cold weather, obviously it's March now. So, [00:04:00] um, the snow is still here. It's still cold. It's cold and Prescott. It's like 30 degrees this morning. The cool thing is that, um, we've been reunited with our Tundra here doing a little bit of work on that, which is very exciting.

Scott Brady: Yeah. You guys are starting to get it ready for some travels, and then you've been looking at different campers. What are some things that you guys have kind of decided that you most want to see in a camper for your trip?

Ashley Giordano: That's a great question. I think the more time we spend inside or looking at the campers, I think we get a, more of an idea, but it's not really common knowledge at this point, which it is now. So people will probably be like, why aren't you taking your red truck on your next adventure? And it's an excellent platform that we absolutely, we love. I think for our lifestyle now we're working on the road and we're a bit older. They're just the reasons why we need a little bit more comfort, uh, when we're going to be pretty much working full time on the road. So to answer your question, the camper, I think one of the biggest things for us would be, [00:05:00] um, just a place to sit and be able to do that work. So a table and like a bench seat or something is probably one of the biggest reasons why we're going in this direction and also storage space, which is not necessarily intuitive in a lot of the campers that we've looked at because they are for the weekend warrior, because that's really what the products are targeted towards.

Scott Brady: Some of the real advantages of a camper is when you're having a bad day, when you're sick, when you're not feeling well that you have a place to retreat and get well. When you're traveling for the weekend, if you're not feeling well, you just don't go. But when you're crossing a continent or when you're in some other place of the world, you're in your home, it's with you. And if it's a little more comfortable. And the second reason I find is just really just dealing with the huge variety of elements that you experience over a longer trip. Normally, when we do, when all of us do short trips, we may even plan those trips around weather. So maybe we want to go on a snow trip and then [00:06:00] we plan accordingly. Or maybe we want to go down to Baja where we know the weather's going to be great on months long trips then we have to deal with a huge variety of weather. And that's where a well-insulated camper, even with a heater or at least a way to get out of the rain makes such a big difference.

Ashley Giordano: We've been running into a lot of wind lately, the last couple of years, I don't know what it's about, but I think that's another thing to take into consideration, especially trying to decide between, um, like a hard shell versus a pop-up camper. That's another thing that we've kind of trying to figure out or feel out what the best for us is going to be.

Scott Brady: It all complicates the shipping. It does. I mean, if you have a pop-up camper, Some people will do is they will remove they'll back the truck in, you know, close to the, to the container. And then they'll just pick a forklift and move, you know, a non popping up camper in there. Cause normally they're not too tall to fit inside a container. And then you back the truck in very carefully, just right underneath the overhang. Um, so [00:07:00] that's always a possibility, but it certainly is a lot easier, a lot less work if you've got a pop top.

Ashley Giordano: Sure. It was a weird process for us too, to realize that this is the direction that we wanted to go in, because I think sometimes your vehicle can be kind of an extension of yourself and your identity. And we go, you know, PRI we're priding ourselves on just the build and what it was about and kind of be like being tough and roughing it makes you a stronger person sometimes. And so we really were like, this is part of who we are and we had to be like this isn't right for us anymore, which I think was a big shift.

Scott Brady: You got the t-shirt, you did rough it, you totally got the, you, you have like the certificate on the wall, you got the t-shirt, you got to experience all those things. And now you're deciding that you want to be more sustainable long-term and you want to be able to work and you want to be able to change that experience. And that's totally normal. I think it's normal to do that.

Ashley Giordano: I'm kind of over like working when my sheet, [00:08:00] my computer's overheating when I'm in the passenger seat with no AC like driving.

Scott Brady: Well, very, very fun. And let's talk about Saudi Arabia. So let's give a little context around your recent trip.

Ashley Giordano: Back in, I think it was the beginning of January, we went to Saudi for 20 days, which is not nearly enough to be fair. Like we felt like we barely scratched the surface at all, uh, the country is huge and..

Scott Brady: Yeah, I saw that it was, it was the second largest country in the middle east and it's the fifth largest country in all of Asia. So it's, it's massive.

Ashley Giordano: Which we knew that, but I don't think once you're on the ground, you're like, oh wow. Like we literally drove the equivalent of driving across Canada, and we only had kind of like the Northern and the middle part, nothing in down south, not, not anything towards Oman or the empty quarter or the other side. So yeah, it's a lot, it's a big country, [00:09:00] which is awesome. Yeah. So we flew in obviously, and we rented a car and that's how we traveled through the country.

Scott Brady: Well, let's talk about one of the questions that I have is what was the process like of being able to get into Saudi Arabia? When I looked at it the last time I needed to have a letter of invitation, there was some additional processes around getting a visa. How does that look now that the Dakar is there and they're starting to open up more towards tourism?

Ashley Giordano: 2019 I believe they opened up to, oh my gosh, I can't remember how many countries. It was like 40 something countries that they've approved that can apply for an e-visa online. Or you could also do a visa on arrival now. Right now with COVID they've suspended the visa on arrival. So you have to go through the e-visa process and it was really easy for us. You just go onto the website, I think it's like visit Saudi or something, we can figure that out and put it in the show notes if people are interested and I'm also doing a piece on it for [00:10:00] Overland Journal, so all that information will be in there. So yeah, you apply for your e-visa and, uh, we had issues with our Canadian credit card on there. I don't know why it was so weird. We were like, trying to fight this whole thing and it wasn't the bank and it wasn't the website and it wasn't the tourism board. And eventually we got it figured out, super straight forward and the visa comes really quickly. I think it came within a few hours or something like that. And it was in Arabic, which was pretty fun. I think that was the only thing that we needed, uh, aside from they have some pretty strict COVID regulations for tourists coming in, which are changing all the time. What we had to do back in January has already changed.

Scott Brady: Yeah. It seems to be changing rapidly in most of the world. A lot of that has eased for sure. Which is great news for those of us that want to travel for sure. Was there any other considerations around the visa? Are there areas of the country that require additional permitting or did that give you access to pretty much travel around the country?

Ashley Giordano: That gave us [00:11:00] access to everything. There was a road that I heard of that you can apply to drive on that's on the west coast. That takes about a month or something. We didn't do that because we didn't have time. I'm not really sure the details of that, but otherwise the, your visa covers the entire country.

Scott Brady: I think it's worth talking a little bit about the culture of Saudi Arabia, which is, I think one of the main reasons to go visit is to experience something so unique. And so ancient. This is a very old culture. It's been a monarchy since 1932, which I think is very interesting. There's very few countries that are still monarchy run countries. So these are all very interesting things for the traveler to experience. What did you find about the culture? What kind of research did you do ahead of time? And then what cultural considerations do you think that we need to have as travelers when we go to visit their country?

Ashley Giordano: This is such a big topic. It's so awesome. And we learned a lot through research that we did beforehand, while we were there experiencing it, and then [00:12:00] after we got home, we did more research. We wanted to understand. And a lot of people speak English, but not as many spoke English as fluently as we had heard are expected. And so there were a lot of question marks that we had when we were there. I would say in terms of practicality of clothing, that's one thing that you definitely should be aware of, uh, for women, there's no mandate that says that you have to wear a scarf or a robe or any sort of covering at all, especially as a foreign woman, you can, you could in theory wear what you want there. I would definitely recommend not doing that. Sticking with loose pants. Uh, a loose shirt, long sleeved, t-shirt even a t-shirt with short sleeves, I probably wouldn't go that far. And I also picked up an Abaya, which is a, it's like a black robe that you can just throw on over your clothes. And I felt pretty comfortable in that. And then in [00:13:00] terms of a headscarf, you don't have to wear one unless you're going into a mosque. Oh, for women. It's interesting, I think people have different levels of comfort, but the country there aren't a lot of international tourists there, and so the only place we really saw tourists was in maybe Riyadh and Alula, and they were few and far between. And so I felt more comfortable with the robe on top of my clothes. And I just didn't want people to feel uncomfortable, I guess, because of my presence. So, yeah, especially in those remote areas, in the smaller towns and we were going to a lot of gas stations, you know, it's shocking enough to see us pull up. So yeah, it was out of consideration. And then for men it's pretty relaxed, but they did suggest, you know, like loose pants and not a really tight t-shirt and no shorts.

Scott Brady: Yeah, the sh the shorts is definitely a good one that a lot of people don't know or think about. It's not considered respectful to [00:14:00] their values and beliefs were a man to wear shorts in Saudi Arabia. And I think that that's one of the most important lessons that we learn as a traveler. We're going to visit them by choice. So it should be part of the experience to also adopt the components of their culture that honor them the most as a guest. It just like you would in someone's home, you wouldn't track your muddy boots through their carpet. You would do all of these things to be considerate of your host if you were going to have dinner with someone. It's the same thing when we visit a country that has a different culture than ours, that's part of the fun is to, and it's part of the joy I think of travel is to begin to understand how they live and honor them in as many ways as we see as appropriate. I think that that's really important. So those are all really great insights. Thanks for sharing that. What other things did you notice about the culture that you really enjoyed?

Ashley Giordano: Oh, gosh. Okay. Like the food was really wonderful. And I think the thing that I didn't know, going into the country was how much of an influence other countries have had [00:15:00] on the cuisine there. So they have really amazing, delicious traditional food. We definitely tasted some of that, which was great. We went to a traditional restaurant in Riyadh and I did, I was like, I don't know what any of this is, but it's all delicious, you know, like flatbreads and meat dishes and veggie dishes and yeah, it was very, very good. We also noticed, uh, like in certain areas, like a Lebanese influence or a Syrian influence, that was really good too. So that's like your hummus and flat bread and pickles and all sorts of things like that. Yeah. And then coffee and tea culture, very fascinating there. They love their tea and coffee and it comes in so many different shapes and sizes, I guess, or modes of experiencing it. From really high end coffee shops that are beautifully decorated, almost like you're kind of like a niche, unique coffee shop in the states, but like even more kind of feels luxurious to me [00:16:00] anyway.

Scott Brady: A lot of Tim Horton's?

Ashley Giordano: No, there was a Tim Horton's in Jetta. Yeah. Yeah. Fascinating stuff. But yeah. So you've got your, like your typical kind of boutique coffee shop and you go there and get your latte and you really enjoy the experience. And often those shops are really big with a lot of glass and contemporary kind of architecture and design inside. Pretty much every gas station there was a little coffee kiosk, like in the US they'll have those little, I don't know what those are called, you drive through and get whatever. So we had all sorts of fun, sugary like sugary drinks from those or just tea. And I don't know if the menus were like those really long extensive offerings and the tea and coffee culture of the people just like pulling up beside you and say, welcome to Saudi and handing you a cup of Arabic coffee out of their vehicle with a big teapot inside. They carry these little [00:17:00] like paper cups with them everywhere they go so they can share the experience with others. That has nothing to do with us being there. This is like a, anybody like anybody living there, would they just be sharing with them. Yeah. So we experienced Arab coffee in that way, just being shared out of somebody's vehicle. And it's like a milky kind of yellow color and has a bunch of spices, like cardamom in it. And it's, I thought it was delicious. I'm not though. My opinion's not like the only one coming from America. It can be kind of weird, but I loved it. The black tea with sugar is another one that they just make it. I don't know how they do it, but it tastes so good.

Scott Brady: They always get it just, well they've been doing it for so long, they just have it totally nailed. And I love how they'll pour, you know, like so far away from the cup and it kind of like foams the sugar in there. It's just amazing. Yeah.

Ashley Giordano: There were some, uh, cops for military police or something just outside of where the Dakar Rally was running and [00:18:00] a bunch of us stop by and they were like serving us all tea. Yeah, it was quite an amazing experience.

Scott Brady: This content is brought to you by Overland Journal, our premium quality print publication. The magazine was founded in 2006 with the goal of providing independent equipment and vehicle reviews. Along with the most stunning adventures and photography, we cared deeply about the countries and cultures we visit, and share our experiences freely with our readers. We also have zero advertorial policy and do not accept any advertiser compensation for our reviews. By subscribing to Overland Journal, you're helping to support our employee owned and veteran owned publication. Your support also provides resources and funding for content like you are watching or listening to right now. You can subscribe directly [00:19:00] on our website at overlandjournal.com.

Oh, that's wonderful. So let's talk a little bit about overlanding in the country. So you were able to access a four wheel drive. What did you guys rent or how was the process of renting? Was it easy? What was the cost of renting the vehicle?

Ashley Giordano: And so we went with Sixt, it's spelled S I X T, and I think they're the, one of the go-to for vehicle rental. And one of the only ones, I think that offers four wheel drive, which if you need four wheel drive, which I feel like it's necessary there, if you want to go into dunes or sand or Wattis, um, it's more expensive. Like it's quite expensive, like over a hundred dollars less a day. Every day that was taking by where like, oh my gosh, here's another money flying away out of..

Scott Brady: Did you get a discount for longer? Was there like a weekly..

Ashley Giordano: So there was a sale going on, which we took advantage of that. And then the [00:20:00] man that signed us up initially, he was really sweet and he gave us unlimited kilometers, which was, we were like, thank you so much. Like we have so much to see. So that was really great. And the process was easy. You could either go to the airport uh, in Riyadh and pick up those vehicles or at the train station in Riyadh. And then there was another place we stopped in at, I think it was Hail, and we wanted to extend our time so we went there and talked to them about that. And the whole thing was pretty easy, but I would definitely love to go back in my own vehicle because I think it just financially, like, even if we shipped over, it would be worth it to have your own.

Scott Brady: And then you could stay much longer too.

Ashley Giordano: For sure.

Scott Brady: Well, that's very interesting about the vehicle. Another thing that I think is really cool about overlanding in Saudi Arabia is the price of fuel, which is of course, on people's minds right now. How much is fuel per liter [00:21:00] over there? It's so cheap. You don't remember. I think it's in the 60 to 70 cent range. It's very inexpensive per liter.

Ashley Giordano: Yeah. The other cool thing is that there are so many borders nearby, like Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Yemen, but obviously you don't want to go there, uh, Iraq cause over there too. So yeah. Lots of opportunities to explore more in that area. Good idea.

Scott Brady: It is, uh, okay, so per gallon in, in Riyadh is 91 cents a gallon. Isn't that amazing. And then in Kuwait it's, it's even less. In Nigeria it's 38 cents a gallon. That's fascinating. Fascinating. So yeah, less than a dollar, a gallon for fuel in Saudi Arabia.

Ashley Giordano: It makes it, you can add, you can really overland and therefore quite you could, Saudi can be really budget friendly if you know how to do it, right, yeah. There aren't [00:22:00] really campgrounds or like overlander camps, which was super interesting for us. I feel like we didn't really realize how our travels through the Latin America shaped what we thought that the rest of the world would be like. We had no clue till we got there and we're like, wait, there aren't any of these overlander camps anywhere in Saudi, they just don't have them because the tourist infrastructure or the it's not like the Pan-American highway, you don't have people overlanding through to that extent you know, and the people aren't going to go to a camp ground they're going to go..

Scott Brady: Which is perfect. So it's kind of like what we experienced in North America where we just go wild camping, but you get to go do it in massive sand dunes. So talk a little bit about what made it more budget friendly. Did you guys make that made it less expensive.

Ashley Giordano: For us, I would say it wasn't budget friendly because we were in, we had the rental car, first of all. And then we were spending money on flights. And then, because we were in the rental car, we needed to stay in like an, a part hotel or an Airbnb or something more [00:23:00] frequently. I think too, when you're you're first visiting somewhere. You don't really have your finger on the pulse of what's happening and understanding what's going on, especially with the language barrier. And so we weren't necessarily making those smart decisions because we just didn't know. However, it could be a good budget destination for somebody with their own vehicle, because you could really, you can get as long as you are outside an urban center and you can literally camp anywhere.

Scott Brady: Yeah.

Ashley Giordano: I think there's just no reason to get a hotel room if, unless you need to, you know what I mean? Like you could literally just camp the whole time.

Scott Brady: It looked like you guys camped a lot.

Ashley Giordano: We did camp a lot. Yeah. We needed those resets for sure. And actually some of the apart hotels, which is basically like, it's kind of like a hotel room but slightly different. Some of those can be quite inexpensive in certain areas as well. So that's another way that it can be quite budget-friendly. What was really interesting is those are set up around the culture, so they will have you walk [00:24:00] in and there's a little kitchen and then that room is separated, like their doors. And then it goes into like the next kind of room area of the bathroom.

Scott Brady: Sure.

Ashley Giordano: And bedroom because of the way that the men and women can sometimes be separated. And so we found like there were lots of doors and things separating different parts of the rooms out, which I thought was really interesting.

Scott Brady: What was the most humorous thing that happened when you were on your trip? Kind of the stand away kind of funny experience?

Ashley Giordano: Okay, this is funny and heart warming. So when we were there, we met up with a group of eight American guys. Kurt Williams was one of them, uh, and they were all there to watch the Dakar. And so we stopped into this little town for dinner one night. All the guys were inside ordering and I was outside with one of the other guys just standing outside and seeing what was going on. And then this car pulled up with this like, it seems like it was full of women to have, like one lady [00:25:00] was driving when it was in the passenger seat, there were like three in the back and they were all like, fully robed up. She started talking to us because she had studied in London, I believe. And so she spoke English really well, and she was asking us a bunch of questions and handed over a box of sweets. And we were like, wow, this is amazing. And so I was asking her where I could find an Avaya, cause I'd been looking to buy one. I didn't really know where to get one. And so she gave me some advice and gave some tips, pointed to a few like shops and stuff like that. And so, yeah, we said goodbye, blah, blah, blah. And, uh, she drove away and I kind of walked around looking for this place. And half an hour went by and I was, we were still standing there. She came back up and the lady in the passenger seat rolled down her window and held this bag outside of the passenger window. And it had an Avaya in it and she purchased it one for me. And to me, the effort of coming all the way back. And anyway, it was a really nice one, [00:26:00] too. It smelled really perfumey and really lovely. This has never happened to me before. They just bought me an Abaya, so yeah, that was really cool.

Scott Brady: And I've heard stories like that consistently. A friend of mine, actually, he used to go to Embry-Riddle here in Prescott. His name is Luai, and you guys worked with Luai a little bit. I think his whole drive shop in Saudi is called Four-Wheel Station. Yeah, and Luai listenes to the podcast. Amazing guy. He rolled into the Overland Journal offices in his, in his AEV TJ. And it was all set up and he's just a really neat person. And he was really helpful around some of your other questions too. So what were some things you learned from Luai?

Ashley Giordano: Oh my gosh, we had such a good time with him. And so we went by the shop and did a podcast episode with him and..

Scott Brady: Awesome.

Ashley Giordano: Which everybody hopefully will look forward to hearing that in the upcoming weeks. He just explained the differences between North American [00:27:00] overlanding and overlanding in that area of the world and the mindset and the vehicle differences. We just like went out for a few meals and went on in the desert and did a shoot for a vehicle. And we just asked him everything. He speaks really good English. And he has lived in the US and so he knows, he can give us some context, like if we're confused or whatever. And we really appreciated that time that he took and spent with us and he sourced some Yemeni coffee beans for us to take home at the last minute, before we flew out. And after reading the Monk of Boca, we were like, we have to find Yemeni coffee beans. Very sweet guy. We so appreciated all the time that he took to spend with us and explain a little more about the things that we didn't understand, which was pretty much 99%.

Scott Brady: Totally. And for those that are listening, uh, within the next few weeks, uh, so it may be just right after this podcast airs, but, um, or maybe even slightly before, but we are going to [00:28:00] have a three-part series on the Expedition Portal, YouTube channel um, that was produced by Ashley and Richard of their adventure. So make sure that you all check out the video series that they worked so hard to put together. It's it is super fun. It had me laughing out loud on many occasions. You guys did a wonderful job with that. So that are those that are listening or watching this podcast on YouTube, you can also find a three-part series on their adventure, on YouTube as well. So, what was the most adventurous thing that happened? It felt the most overlandy moment of your trip.

Ashley Giordano: We headed to Wadi Al Disah, which is in the Tabuk region, which is north towards kind of towards Jordan. The area is like full of local locals that had, they're kind of on the weekend to drive around and camp, and eat, and party probably seems like it reminded me a lot of uh, Wadi Rum in Jordan. And it had these like big rock wall facades in the middle, on the sides. And [00:29:00] then the middle, there was like a big, I guess, a river and all these, those greenery. Yeah, you kind of, we use the vehicle, the rental vehicle sort of, I wouldn't say hard, but we definitely needed it for some of the water sections in there and getting through that was quite an adventure and it was really fun. And a lot of vehicles that were stuck in all this water and sand and mud and just meeting all these different types of people that were all camping or driving and sharing dates and tea with them. And that was probably the most overlanding thing I think we did. And we actually were with Marcel and Chiara of Overland Vagabonds, they're Swiss overlanders. So it was kind of cool. We're like, oh, we're traveling with a couple.

Scott Brady: Are there any other thoughts that come to mind about your trip there that you'd like to share with the audience?

Ashley Giordano: It was such an interesting trip for us, just I think because we were so used to, [00:30:00] like I said, traveling through Latin America to just have that realization that you were like, wow, we have to relearn everything. And it's so exciting and wonderful, but it was, it was kind of an interesting learning experience. So we came away from it wanting more, and I felt like we barely scratched the surface and there's unfinished business there, big time. And we don't usually we usually do a country and we're like, I think we did a pretty good job of feeling it, seeing it, experiencing it. And this time we were like, no way, man, we have to go back again because we saw nothing, but we saw everything. So it was a really, really good experience.

Scott Brady: People can find out more about your trips. So you're doing some content for Overland Journal. And then how else can people see some of your photos and learn more about what you guys did in Saudi Arabia?

Ashley Giordano: So that's stuff we'll be rolling out over the next little while, but, um, I would say following @desktoglory on [00:31:00] Instagram or Facebook @desktoglory_ash on Instagram. Uh, we post been posting photos, but not very many. So we have a plan we're gonna post more and share more. But yeah, I would watch the Portal as well. I've got a few pieces I'm working on.

Scott Brady: We'll have interviews with Luai coming up, we'll have some feature vehicles on how Luai built his overland vehicle, which I'm very excited to see. And then you can reach out and ask questions so you can reach me @scott.a.brady on Instagram if you have additional questions. Same with desktoglory_ash on Instagram if you've got questions for Ashley. Richard can be found @desktoglory on Instagram. So if you guys have questions about traveling to Saudi Arabia, or you have comments about the podcast or additional things you'd like to know, please reach out and then make sure to check out the new three-part series that we've got going up onto YouTube. We're excited to see that go live.

Ashley Giordano: Yeah. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to share that through video are really excited to have, [00:32:00] you know, obviously articles and photos can share things really well, but I think video adds this other element that you really get more of a sense of what it was like and..

Scott Brady: Oh, totally. It was definitely a thousand words per second. It was a lot, there was a lot going on, which was really neat. Like I said, I found myself laughing out loud and being like, oh, that's so cool or whatever it was. It's something unexpected. Like it seemed like every gas station was also like a Costco. It was unbelievable.

Ashley Giordano: Oh my gosh. They had it like rugs and camping equipment and snacks.

Scott Brady: I saw like roller luggage was just like in the middle of nowhere.

Ashley Giordano: Yeah. It's absolutely cool and unbelievable. And I feel like you could chat about those cultural things for like hours.

Scott Brady: Well, Ashley, thank you so much for sharing your experience with Saudi Arabia and thank you to Richard and you both for being such an inspiration to so many, and for sharing your stories through Overland Journal and Expedition Portal.

Ashley Giordano: It's been our pleasure and thank you so much for having me.

Scott Brady: Thanks for being on. [00:33:00] And we will talk to you all next time.