Ali Alghfeli

What started as a dream became a reality when Emirati student Ali Alghfeli shipped his Toyota Land Cruiser “Shaheen”–Arabic for “falcon”, the UAE’s national bird–from his hometown Al Ain to America. His plan? To road trip across the USA.

Over three weeks, Ali drove nearly 25,000 miles from his starting point in Newark, New Jersey to Seattle, where he’s studying at the University of Washington. Along the way, he had the chance to meet Americans from different geographies and backgrounds. As a way to document his travels, locals would put a sticker of their state’s flag on the Land Cruiser and record a welcome to the state in Arabic.  

Ali’s trip sparked a global conversation on cultural exchange, inspiring people in the UAE to travel to the US and Americans to learn more about life in the Emirates—a country home to over 200 nationalities and countless faiths. Ali believes it’s more about the journey than the destination, and is keen to share UAE culture with his new friends.