There are two kinds of people. One set of people get up, get out and make each day a memorable occasion. The other set makes excuses. Doha-resident Pierre Daniel would firmly find himself at the top of the first category. Yoga, rock climbing, spearfishing, scuba diving, kick boxing, Muay Thai, guitar player and music composer. And these are the
things that he mentioned in the ‘also’ category. Most people would be happy being associated with just one of these activities but then again, Pierre is not your ‘most people’.
This pursuit of adventure started early, really early for Pierre. His parents had to deal with a hyperactive kid and the best solution for that was to introduce him to a sport. So at three and half years of age, Pierre was taken to a nearby ice rink and there has been no turning back since then. Twenty years later, he was signing a contract to play in the French Premier League (Ligue Magnus). That was then. Fast forward to 2008. That is when Pierre came to Qatar on a work visit. He fell in love with the place. “I immediately loved it. It was raw and intense, with this city rising from the sand,” Pierre told Xtork. On the second day he was taken for dune bashing and the deal was sealed. “With water sports, wilderness and the cultural plurality, the potential for fun was huge,” he says reminiscing about the time he first saw this country. After taking in the sights and sounds of Qatar for about four years, around the time when people begin to schedule their lives around movie theatres and restaurants, Pierre decided to walk. Not your daily 20-minute walk. The first walk he did was from the Doha Corniche all the way to Dukhan – all 80 kilometres of it. It took him 16 hours! For the next three years, he completed five such walks, completing an amazing total of 327 kilometres. When asked what prompted these walkathons, he joked: “Nothing on TV that day…”. Pierre is the currently working with Aspire Zone Foundation as the Head of Brand Management. And at Aspire through an initiative called ‘Step Into Health’, people are being encouraged to get more active by, for e.g. walking 10,000 steps every day. This inspired Pierre to set off on his first ‘long’ walk. “I started at midnight and it took me a little more than 16 hours. That was tough. I managed to drag a friend with me but he called it off mid-way. Walking by yourself in the desert demands a lot of dedication and mental strength. I just switch off my brain,” said Pierre with a smile.
One of the walks that he did was from Zubarah Fort to Gharafa. And this time he wanted to push himself even further. “For this walk, I decided to spice it up a little. On my previous walks, I was very often following a road or the coast to find my way. But for this one I decided to literally cut across. I grabbed a map and traced a red line from the fort to my house in Gharafa. I started from Zubarah at midnight and started to ‘sail’ my way across the desert of Qatar with just a compass and a map,” said the brave Pierre. However wrong footwear and sharp rocks in the desert, meant that he ended up with bleeding feet and couldn’t complete the entire walk. He had to get back on road after about 60 kilometres. “At that stage, I could barely stand. I took my shoes off to have a quick look and my socks were literally soaked in blood. I grabbed a roll of tape from my backpack, strapped my feet very tight and put all my pair of socks on (I would always pack up to 3 pairs both to change mid-course but also for this exact situation),” said Pierre.
2017 has just about started and Pierre has already huge plans for it. How does he, a proud father of three wonderful kids, find the time to do so much? “It’s all about time management I guess. My wife and I are both busy people. In a
sense that we always find new things to experiment and have fun with,” he said. “Maybe the secret lies in the fact that we do not categorise these as special activities. The word has been overused but this is our ‘lifestyle’. Nothing else,” he added. So what would he like to say to the second group of people who rarely can manage the time to keep active amidst their busy lives. “I believe that if people really want to start being active they have to work on their mind-set and find something that they will enjoy doing. Or they should hang out with people who will manage to motivate them and help them discover what’s it like to be in an active lifestyle. It’s a game, not a chore,” said Pierre. The adventure bug that bit him on that ice rink is still roaring loudly. The force is strong in this one….