Explorer Mark Evans recounts his journey across the Empty Quarter
Yemen, and ended it in Doha, Qatar, following the same trail as Thomas.
Marie Louise Sodemann, chairperson of SASA — a nonprofit and nonpolitical organization dedicated to building relations between individuals and groups in Saudi Arabia and Scandinavia — opened the event with a few choice words.
“In a way, coming to Saudi Arabia, for me, can be compared to (crossing a desert),” she said. “The people I met all looked similar, in a way. They wore the same clothes, and spoke a language I didn’t understand. But I slowly realized that all I was seeing was my own negative shadow. And that there are as many different destinies as there are people. And that a beautiful soul can be found anywhere.”
Over the course of their journey, Evans explained, his team faced challenges including heavy sandstorms, extreme climate changes (temperatures in the high forties during the day and below zero at night) and temperamental says EJ. “From the race to concerts, games zones and an e-village, there will be something for everyone and we are sure crowds are going to love it.”
EJ has built a global following over the years, playing to audiences of up to 20 million people. The rising star, who began pursuing his passion when he was just 15 years old, envisioned creating a sort of cinematic, “fast and furious” type feel among spectators.
“It was fun playing at friends’ camels. Nevertheless, they emerged triumphant, reportedly the first people to do so since Thomas and his team.
At the end of the presentation, “desert-survival food,” which included traditional jareesh and camel meat, and more humble options such as tinned baked beans, a staple in the desert explorer’s diet even when Thomas set off on his expedition, was available for the audience to sample.
Evans — who is also the founder and executive director of Outward Bound Oman — grew up “captivated” by the idea of exploration and discovery. He spent his childhood, he said, “exploring” the fields around his house with his dog, making his own entertainment.
He has traveled extensively across the world and has been involved in outdoor education for over 39 years. Queen Elizabeth II honored him in 2012 with an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his work.
Evans and his team faced challenges including heavy sandstorms, extreme climate changes and temperamental camels.
EJ, who remains a mystery to many, has become the exclusive DJ resident for global entertainment brand and race championship, Formula E, the electric street racing series taking on the world’s tracks.