Life cycle: Two men's journey from corporate life in Europe to Saudi Arabia and beyond – Arab News
RIYADH: The journals of Mateusz Głuch and Mateusz Andrulewicz are full of adventures after the childhood friends set out on an adventure ten months ago to cycle across the world. 
Beginning their journey in their home country of Poland, a place where they had never cycled before, they have used their combined four wheels as a home base. 
The backs of their two bikes hold their bedroom, kitchen, garage and wardrobe; two sets of civilian and cycling clothes each, camping gear, pillows, a tent, a single burner, pots and pans, some basic repair tools, and 20 years of friendship.
With curiosity and a fuller life as motivations, the two quit their day jobs, collected their savings, dedicated a month to prepare, and took off.  
“I think you’d have to be a master storyteller to be able to transfer the whole journey that’s happening inside you to the outside, to people having normal, stable routines . . . They don’t disapprove, but they don’t get it,” Andrulewicz told Arab News. 
What makes the two men stand out is that cycling was never a hobby; the former mechanical engineer and marketing manager had never cycled the streets of their city on a bike. They dedicated a mere 30 days to finding routes, practicing cycling, buying appropriate clothing and figuring out logistics prior to their adventure. 
As wintertime in Europe was approaching in October 2021, they aimed to leave as soon as they could. 
“I was never some sort of crazy, impulsive guy. If you ask me, I hate horror movies, rollercoasters, and all this stuff. I’m not about some adrenalin . . . I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of some courage. It’s a matter of this attitude of just doing, that’s for sure,” Andrulewicz said. 
Before they left, they did a trial ride on their bikes with all their belongings to get a sense of what the journey ahead held.
“After that ride, we knew that we had to do it. We quit everything. I think this also helped, the fact that it was such a big change, there’s no way back,” Andrulewicz said. 
Inspired by the Netflix film “Kapp to Cape,” their final destination is the tip of the African continent: Cape Town. Their journey began in Poland, crossing many European countries before heading to Turkey, Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran, UAE, and now to Saudi, each having its particular chapter for the cyclists.  
“I think it’s a mental and personal journey. We will start to understand ourselves better,” Głuch told Arab News. 
Accommodation depends on their location. At times they are invited to stay with local families, as was the case with a Bedouin tribe in the Empty Quarter. At other times they resort to their tent, couch surfing or hostels, and an occasional stay at a hotel.
On the road, they don’t spend much other than on food and visas. The majority of their meals are cooked on the single burner using seasonal produce and cheap local groceries. 
The duo did not set out with a particular goal in mind other than seeking new experiences, but they discovered the value of family, simplicity and cultural exchange along the way. 
“In Europe, what the media says about people or countries in the Middle East or Africa is so different from what we’ve learned being here . . . You mention you go through Iraq, and people say you’re crazy and you’re gonna get killed,” Głuch said. 
“If you mention you’ll go to Saudi, they’ll have no idea what is Saudi . . . It’s a matter of distance,” Andrulewicz said.
He highlighted that the cultural differences between the two continents are difficult to grasp unless you experience it.
“A bigger understanding of each other’s backgrounds could allow greater sympathy for issues around the globe,” he said. 
As they interact with various characters throughout the region, making sure they remember them all, they have encountered an equal number of challenges. Aside from missing their families and friends, it has been difficult to endure such a lengthy journey.
“Even if the experience is very nice, sometimes you’re just exhausted from being on the road every day, not having a shower for three days again, not having good food again. This exhausts you slowly,” Głuch said. 
At times, they would reach a destination and spend the next few days feeling exhausted. Their energy had worn out: “We learned how to listen to our bodies,” Głuch said. “When you have time, you are not numb to those signals,” Andrulewicz said.
“If you give yourself time and space and be patient with yourself, maybe suddenly you will get interested in unexpected things that will lead you to some interesting places,” Andrulewicz said.
Their biggest takeaway from the trip is that there is more to life than a dead-end corporate job and lifestyle. Time is a privilege that they were never allowed, and now, with an abundance of it, they can consider the choices they have made and how to move forward from them.
“We encourage this because we see many weird things happen out of it. If you take out the blueprint and you have a blank page, then you discover yourself, and it’s interesting,” Andrulewicz said. 
As they set out for the Red Sea coast and the African continent, bringing them closer to their final destination, they look back on the rich life lessons that they have learned and the friends they have made along the way.
“Sometimes things that happened two months ago, we still ponder about them and talk and discuss them, so there’s always some conclusion. Whatever happened before, even if it was not nice, it was part of the journey, so I don’t regret anything,” Andrulewicz said. 
BALI, Indonesia: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Education met with the Indonesian minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology and the assistant director-general for education at UNESCO as part of a visit to Indonesia to participate in the meeting of the G20 ministers of education, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh met with minister Nadiem Anwar Makarim and Dr. Stefania Giannini during the meeting being held in Bali.
The minister discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the Kingdom and Indonesia in education.
He also discussed ways to build a solid and comprehensive partnership to benefit from the development plans and programs implemented by educational institutions in the two countries, as well as to enhance cooperation and partnerships in higher education, scientific research and innovation, and student scholarships and grants.
Dr. Al Al-Sheikh also discussed with the Giannini how to strengthen cooperation between Saudi Arabia and UNESCO in education, and support for future aspects of international cooperation, joint work, and the exchange of expertise, in addition to improving educational systems and developing scientific research, which will contribute to global prosperity.
RIYADH: Top local and international artists are set to perform at AlUla to celebrate the 92nd Saudi National Day later this month, it has been announced.
The lineup was broadcast on Riyadh Boulevard City’s 82 screens with a five-minute performance by female Saudi violinist and DJ, KAYAN, who played against a backdrop of AlUla’s iconic Elephant Rock.
In its second edition, Azimuth, amplified by MDLBEAST, will include regional and local artists KAYAN, Dorar, Solskin, Dish Dash, Baloo, Biirdperson, Nomad, Gooner, Nightmare on Wax Live, ANMARZ, Vinyl Mode, Damian Lazarus, DJ Snake and Parov Stelar.
The event will start on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. On Friday, the show will run from 4:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Saudi DJ Baloo, the man behind Azimuth 2022, said: “We’re really excited to be throwing Azimuth this year on the national day weekend, in the breathtaking and enchanting AlUla.”
The festival is set to take place in the same valley where Desert X AlUla art exhibition was hosted earlier this year.
“Everything that’s been developed for AlUla is above par and coming into this place as a music programmer we had to come in and create a festival so special to fit the magical space we’re given,” he added.
Dorrar, Solskin, DJ Snake, Dish Dash, Damian Lazarus, and Vinyl Mode will be performing on day one of Azimuth.
On day two, KAYAN, Biirdperson, Gooner, Nightmare on Wax Live, Parov Stelar, ANMARZ, and Baloo will take the stage.
Philip Jones, Royal Commission of AlUla chief management and marketing officer, told Arab News the main difference between MDLBEAST Riyadh and MDLBEAST in AlUla was that “while you might have 30,000 people in Riyadh, there will only be around a thousand in AlUla.”
Jones said it is more of an individual, tailored experience with smaller crowds.
“What we offer is very experiential that it will set us apart because it fits the brand of AlUla as a premium luxury destination, so think of it as a premium luxury festival.”
This year, AlUla Moments will present several festivals and events: Azimuth, Winter at Tantora, AlUla Wellness Festival, and for the first time The Ancient Kingdoms Festival which is inspired by 7,000 years of successive civilizations on the Arabian Peninsula and the famed incense trading route.
“One of the things we want to do is nurture and develop the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia, and because AlUla lends itself to such amazing backdrops with film and entertainment and videos, we wanted to use it as an opportunity to really highlight that aspect of it and develop the existing local talent and showcase it,” said Jones.
Tickets are on sale at
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the death of former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Saudi Press agency reported early Friday.
“We send to Your Excellency, the family of the deceased and the Russian people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Russian president.
Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, died Tuesday. He was 91.
The Central Clinical Hospital said in a statement that Gorbachev died after a long illness. No other details were given.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered deep condolences over Gorbachev’s death and would send an official telegram to Gorbachev’s family.
(With AP) 
RIYADH: The Saudi Organization for Chartered and Professional Accountants has launched a new academic curriculum for universities to aid the development of the industry and better support its members.
Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi, who chairs the SOCPA, said the government attached great importance to accounting and regarded it as an “essential component of the economy.”
He was speaking at an event to celebrate the achievements of 1,733 men and women who recently completed their professional qualifications. 
SOCPA CEO Dr. Ahmed Almeghames told Arab News that the new curriculum would help universities to produce graduates who are better suited to working in the accounting profession.
It will bridge the gap between education and the labor market, and provide students with the grounding they needed to succeed in their professional studies, he added.
Almeghames described the acquisition of professional credentials in accounting and auditing as “crucial in the labor market,” as that is what businesses and industries desire. 
At the awards ceremony he acknowledged the achievements of the attendees, including the recipients of the excellence award in the fellowship exam, the VAT certificate and accounting certificate.
The event also witnessed the signing of separate agreements between the SOCPA and the Social Development Bank and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
Each was designed “to support licensed accountants through funding programs and enable them to benefit from the self-employment program,” the SOCPA said.
According to its website, the professional body “aims to improve and contribute to the development of the practice of the profession while monitoring its performance quality … in serving the community and the national economy.”
JEDDAH: Luxury items from designer brands are increasingly finding their way into the mainstream as younger, cost-conscious consumers look for bargain prices on “pre-loved” fashion, jewelry and accessories, inspired in part by celebrities who flaunt vintage designs on red carpets.
Amused — launched in Jeddah in July 2020 by Saudi-British couple Sara Teymoor Banaja and Mansoor Banaja — is an online business that connects buyers and sellers of authentic, pre-owned designer items across the Kingdom.
“After moving to Saudi Arabia, I asked people what they did with their unused luxury items and the answers I got really surprised me,” Sara told Arab News. “They would either give them to charity, ship them to resellers abroad or wait until they traveled to take them with them to sell.”
The market for luxury goods in Gulf Cooperation Council member nations was valued at $7.4 billion in 2020, according to management consulting company Bain and Company.
“Our closets are some of the most valuable in the world, with people in GCC nations spending more on luxury per capita than any other area,” said Sara. “We want to create a more sustainable and rewarding way to consume luxury.”
According to Sara, the younger generation is particularly interested in the timeless beauty of pre-loved luxury items.
“What is beautiful about pre-loved luxury is that we have grandmothers sharing their beautiful and rare vintage collections with us that they are no longer using and the Gen Zs are buying them, which is creating a truly circular fashion economy,” she said.
Older designs that cannot be easily replicated and are not being made any more are among her own particular favorite pre-loved luxury items.
“The older, the better when it comes to luxury,” she said. “After seeing hundreds of luxury pieces pass across our desks, you really see how beautiful the older pieces are and how well they stand the test of time. They truly become more beautiful with age.”
She highlighted Chanel as a prime example of this.
“Some of their pre-2008 items contained 24-karat gold. These pieces are just not made anymore with that level of craftsmanship and quality.”
Saudi consumers are increasingly becoming a part of a growing circular economy for fashion, Sara said.
“During our recent community fashion event, Absolutely Fashion, which is a monthly event we host, a customer stated that shopping with Amused is like shopping with a friend,” she added.
“Trust and customer experience is our priority and this shows in the fact that 40 percent of our sales are from repeat customers that are returning on a monthly basis.”
Hatoon Abdullatif, a Saudi national, founded The Nostalgia Club this year. Based in Jeddah it is an online store that sells a curated collection of pre-loved luxury, vintage designer items, which it ships to customers worldwide. Its specialties are heirlooms, family treasures, precious gifts and once-in-a-lifetime finds.
It also invites people to offer their own vintage items for sale but most importantly, said Abdullatif, The Nostalgia Club is a community or a club for passionate fans of vintage items, collectibles and art.
She said her passion for vintage luxury goods was inspired by the love her mother, Hasna, had for luxury fashion. Hasna, who studied fashion design and merchandising in the US, loved all high-end brands but Versace was her particular favorite.
“The seeds my mother planted grew into my own love of luxury fashion, so while in Switzerland studying for my Bachelor of Arts I added an extra year to my degree to enroll in a new major they were offering: luxury management,” said Abdullatif.
“I felt my mother was with me as I learned about authenticity, counterfeiting and all of the origin stories of luxury brands.”
Her passion developed over time, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, when she found herself with plenty of time to research the pre-loved luxuries marketplace. With the knowledge she gained from this she decided to “open The Nostalgia Club and give these unique pieces a second life.”
The continuing popularity of vintage items and designs is obvious on fashion runways where they continue to serve as strong sources of inspiration, said Abdullatif.
“In my opinion, vintage and classic items are the main pillars from which styles were derived and tailored,” she explained.
“This means that the essence of creativity in the world of fashion is inspired by previous eras and I believe we should safeguard these iconic items.”
Every vintage item has a unique story to tell, according to Abdullatif.
“Perhaps a grandmother received a vintage necklace as a nervous young bride before her husband went off to war, or a handbag might have been clutched while taking a flight across the ocean to start a new life,” she said.
“All vintage treasures have stories and we want to honor the lives of those who have loved them before and give our customers a chance to be part of their timeless tales.”
It is this sense of history and human experiences that is key to Abdullatif’s mission with The Nostalgia Club.
“Each item has traveled through time and been loved along the way. In a world where so many things are made to be disposable, our mission is to honor the quality and history of these one-of-a-kind, authentic, luxury pieces.”
In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, her business serves another important purpose.
“At the heart of our mission is sustainability,” said Abdullatif. “We believe that to transform our world and the fashion industry, we must intentionally invest in products that were not made for the landfill but rather were crafted with enough care to last many lifetimes.
“These timeless treasures have more love to give and we want to share them with the world.”
The vintage luxury item that Abdullatif herself treasures the most is a bag that belonged to her mother.
“She used to carry a Walter Steiger clutch when we went to weddings,” she said. “I still remember my father handing it to me after she passed away.
“I placed it on my shelf, where it sat, looking at me. I never wanted to use it; it was a treasure I kept nearby to remind me of her. I believe this bag was why The Nostalgia Club had to be born — I wanted to honor her memory.”


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