This is the story we’ve never shared before about that time we almost got ARRESTED IN SAUDI ARABIA!

If you didn’t know, in September of 2019, Saudi Arabia opened its borders to tourism. Think about that – for our entire lifetimes, it was COMPLETELY closed off from the western world. … and then we received an invitation to shoot a television series for a world renowned studio set in the scenery of this very Kingdom. When we first received the invitation we were hesitant and had a weird feeling. With Saudi’s human rights issues, we didn’t want to be seen as promoting or supporting these beliefs. There were also attacks in September 2019 which made us nervous to visit. Thus, we initially said, “no,” to the project.

However, after some consideration, we decided that as storytellers and travelers, part of our job is to take risks and explore unknown parts so that we can enlighten others. If a country wants to extend an olive branch, we’re firm believers in keeping an open mind about it – outside of what traditional media might say. One of our non-negotiables for the project was that we would not be forced to say anything on camera that we didn’t agree with, and that we could shoot our own content to be able to share with all of you.

There are good days and bad days in any job, and let’s just say this wasn’t our best week. We like to stay positive on this platform, but it’s important that we share the good, the bad, and the ugly with you…

On our second day in Saudi Arabia, we flew from Riyadh to Jeddah for the second location of our shoot. We arrived at the iconic Jeddah sign along the Corniche to film a simple direct to camera shot (where we talk directly to the camera – pretty straightforward). The camera was set up, we were camera ready, and then it was time for the, “action!” We had just enough time for one take when suddenly, we heard sirens and the police pulled up🚨. Now, no one wants to get arrested in a foreign country (have you ever seen “Locked up Abroad?” Terrifying!), but getting arrested in Saudi Arabia is a whole different ball game. Penalties in Saudi can be far more severe than in the U.S. including execution.

The police told the film crew, “we want those two.” THOSE TWO?! That’s us!


The beautiful red sand dunes of Riyadh

Escaping Jail Time

Luckily, the crew talked them out of the idea of taking us with them and instead, two of the four crew were taken to the police station. Needless to say, our shoot was wrapped for the day.

When we resumed shooting the next day, we were all ready to go to the Red Sea for our next location. We were told that we’d be scuba diving and swimming in the Red Sea, which sounded very exciting. However, as soon as we got in the car to head out for the shoot, we were informed that we could no longer go scuba diving. Apparently the permits had not been approved and the Border Guard let the crew know that if any person or camera went in the water, all of us would go to jail for four days. EEK! Time to plan a new location…



We realize that our experience was not a normal one and this does not represent the country as a whole. Because we were filming, we didn’t get to authentically experience the country or its culture as we would if we were to travel to a country on our own. In fact, we know that this experience is more representative of the people we were with since we barely scratched the surface of Saudi Arabia and its culture. This is not to judge the country as a whole or to judge the country at all. This is merely to share the behind the scenes story and our personal experience. 

If you want to know what it’s like to visit Saudi Arabia or visit Saudi Arabia as a woman, head to our blog post here.