Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • Home
  • Japanese camelback rider fosters love for the Arabian Peninsula following expedition

Japanese camelback rider fosters love for the Arabian Peninsula following expedition

Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life. (Supplied)
Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life. (Supplied)
Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life. (Supplied)
Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life. (Supplied)
Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. (Supplied)
Short Url:
04 Apr 2021 06:04:23 GMT9
04 Apr 2021 06:04:23 GMT9

Shams El-Mutwalli Dubai

Anna Aiko is the embodiment of wanderlust, raised in a multicultural Japanese and French household, she settled down in the United Arab Emirates where she simultaneously pursues her passion for camelback exploration and photography.

Striving to live a more nomadic lifestyle, Aiko began traveling the ancient path of the Silk Road in 2015, this paved the way for her future journey through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia—a monumental turning point in her life.

Aiko told Arab News Japan how in 2019 a friend was looking for a man to take up the venture but shared how “as a woman” she wanted to go despite not knowing how to ride on camelback.

“72 hours later, I was flying to Saudi Arabia to join Rakayib, a group of camel riders to cross the vast desert of the Empty Quarter, the Rub’ Al Khali,” she told Arab News Japan exclusively.

Despite being surrounded by a sandstorm, Aiko was overwhelmed with joy at being given the opportunity to live out her long-time aspiration of traveling and exploring—it was on this trip that she mastered riding a camel.

“Exploring in this way the beauty of the Arabian Peninsula never ceases to amaze me, as I covered 2300 km all on camelback, in Saudi Arabia with Rakayib, UAE with HHC (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center), and finally the island of Socotra supported by Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation,” she shared.

Her efforts earned her 2nd place at the HHC Global Camel Race for Expats in 2020 and 2021.

Aiko expanded on her most recent trip to the UAE in 2020, when she embarked on a 10 day journey with her camel, covering 600 km from the Saudi border in coordination with HHC. This trip through the vast Arabian Desert deepened her connection with herself, and with her camel—it was concluded by a surprise visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the final day of the journey.  

Aiko furthered her travels through Saudi Arabia visiting many cities, extending to UAE, Oman and Socotra. She “was surprised by the beauty of these countries with their landscapes, cultures, traditions and the light of each soul encountered. Delighted the hidden beauty to discover, my love story with the Arabian Peninsula began,” she shared.

Aiko was born in Tokyo in 1979, and lived in Paris for 20 years as an Art Director.

She mentioned that her connection to the Arab world was influenced by her parents living in Saudi Arabia for a few years before her birth and later by her father’s work which put him in contact with many people in the Middle East.

Aiko shared how her Japanese and French background bound “the creativity from the west and traditions of the east” and this dynamic blend, allowed for “flexibility to view the world with a vision.”

Aiko captured moments from her expeditions using her iPhone—a passion project that earned her multiple awards from the iPhone Photography Awards, International Photography Awards, Nelson Mandela Photo Contest as well as the Rakayib Photo Competition. 

Her greater mission is to transmit the beauty of the Arabian Peninsula to the world. She succeeded in doing so through one of her shoots, centred around Bedouin women in Dubai, featuring images of the women creating tents, camel gear and blankets using the technique of Ghazel—a generational practice passed from mother to daughter.

Working as a female photographer encouraged more fortified connections with her subjects, but also inspired an interest in learning more about women empowerment. Aiko also serves as an inspirational figure with a message to share.

“You should believe in yourselves and life will always guide you. Listen to your heart because everything is possible. I hope that you can be inspired by my experience and that will lead to involving yourselves in new ventures. It’s never too late to try and succeed, it’s always the right time, provided that you are ready to take action” asserting that “everyone, with their own power, can become their own dream,” she said.

In Aiko’s words, living in the region feels like her “destiny,” and although she intends to preserve her ties to Japan and France, she is confident that the Arabian Peninsula is her new home.

Experiencing the best of both worlds, Aiko highlighted some of the similarities between the Arab world and Japan, especially how both aim to preserve the heritage, and use the latest technology—praising the efforts of both nations.

Aside from her more active interests, Aiko is also a certified ThetaHealer—a spiritual and meditative practice that remedies stress and fear while encouraging a deeper connection with the soul.

Instagram: @anna.aiko

Most Popular
Recommended

return to top