Over the last 7 years in the Kingdom, I have been to the Edge of the World three times. What keeps me coming back? You haven’t been to Riyadh if you haven’t visited the Edge of the World as they say.
Ever since we discovered it in 2016, I and my husband promised to go there annually as part of our winter escapades. As most people know, Saudi Arabia has one of the hottest climates in the world ranging from 36 to 45C during the summer, so most of our adventures happen during the winter months that usually starts on the month of November through the early weeks of March.
The first time we went there was during a winter in 2016 with my husband’s staff. It’s around 2-hour drive from the center of Riyadh where it’s a must to drive a 4×4 car because of the rough, sometimes winding, sometimes gravelly road lined with trees and old riverbeds. That’s option number one until we recently discovered that there is another route. Instead of the one full of gravel where you have to drive real fast and decrease pressure from your tires before leaving the city, we went to the other route where there were no gravels, lots of coal, and you’ll be driving along cliffs or what they proudly call “the edges”. Too many of them, I’d scream my heart out if I am afraid of heights, but thanks to our driver who has been there hundreds of times, the adventure went on smoothly.
On road trips like this, make sure your cars especially the engine and tires are in good condition. Prepare your food (but there is also enough space to grill if you plan to), bring mats, garbage bags (Let’s leave only footprints and memories.), lots of water, chips, cameras, a drone (if you have one because you’ll get great shots here), a good pair of sunnies coupled with rubber shoes and lots of courage to hike up and along the “edges” (I am not kidding here.) If America has their Grand Canyon, then, we too have our version in Saudi and we proudly call it the Edge of the World.
When you reach the Edge, you will not see the famous double cliffs you commonly see in your friends’ Facebook or Instagram. This is the first view when you get out of the car. Enticing? No. Such a disappointment right? “I got out of the city of Riyadh to see this hill?”, you might say.
You will realize that before you get to see the majestic view, you’ll need to hike at least three hills (the second one refers to the picture above), walk down a steep cliff (which is behind that hill) and climb back again (see picture below) to be able to “sit” at the Edge-which I never did because my knees were shaking the whole time. If you love selfies, it’ll take you at least 45 minutes to move from each hill, millennials see to it that they can take a picture of every view that includes lying down on the ground.
So why do we keep coming back? Why do we risk our lives driving on cliffs, climbing it, taking risky pictures, bracing the cold winds or the invigorating heat of the sun? Why despite all these, we keep coming back?
From the stresses we get for working on 8 or 12-hour shift, we experience the following:
- Peace of mind. Imagine yourself sitting at the Edge (or just being there), a place so serene, so quiet you can hear the crows, stones falling from the cliff with your every step, the cold wind blowing in your face and the heat of the sun to keep you warm…nothing compares. You got away (for a while at least) from countless patient calls, from the nagging relative, from the doctor who came to see your patient after your 100th call, from the nurse manager who only sees your mistakes from the patient who doesn’t want to take his insulin injection. You got way from all these even just for a day.
- Adventure. Need I say more? They say that once in your lifetime you have to the things that scare you. This should be added to your bucket list.
- Nature. A different kind of nature, that, maybe you haven’t seen in the Philippines. Nature where there is more brown than green. Old riverbeds, where stones are colored black, orange and red, where plants have more thorns than leaves and where camels of different colors walk close to you.
- Friendship. We’ve been to the Edge of the World with three different groups and each group truly amazing, each experience is different from one another and every time, a friendship blooms. We got to know more people, we talked to people we only know by faces, we got to eat with them and tell stories with them. We discovered more of each other. Outside of work, there are these people who just wanted to enjoy life, people who are loud once to get to know them, people who treat you special behind your back, heartbroken people who still enjoy what life has to offer, people who are in love with nature and people who love taking pictures.
Here’s a sneak peak of what you’ll see. The camel loves the camera. 🙂 Don’t chase the birds though, you might end up falling.
At the Edge of the World, I met two people outside of the group–both came alone, sat there for a while then drove back home. There must be something special at the Edge of the World. What are your WHY’s? WHY do you keep coming back? Let me know in the comments.
Special thanks to my husband for the lovely photos. 🙂