Travel has always been in my blood. My parents always brought us travelling and being ‘nomads’ I have never stayed in one place for too long. I think the longest I’ve stayed in one place is about 8 years (Selangor, Malaysia), followed by 4 years (Dundee, Scotland).
The best travels are the short bursts that I planned myself because I had already done my homework about the places and I know exactly where to go. Its an exhilarating experience, you don’t feel so lost but you are still absorbing new experiences. Since Google, this made my job much, much easier.
I started planning my own travels during Uni years. I had to find that ‘reward’ post exams, and since travel was cheap especially in winter months, I did most of the travelling then. As a hijabi- around 10 years ago, I was slightly scared especially when I was travelling to countries I had never been to before. Pleasantly surprised, I met with the most kind-hearted people.
My first travel was to eastern Europe- Hungary (Budapest), Czech (Prague), Russia (Krakow) and Austria (Vienna). Travel was pretty affordable in winter and I found flights for less than £3! The views were mesmerising, people welcoming (often confused where me and my travel partner came from), and very helpful. I prayed all the way for Allah to keep us safe. Being adventurous, we only booked a place to stay when we arrived in each country (I would never do this again). When I look back, during my travels here- there were some instances that could have been very, very dangerous-including trusting that a person has a B&B without doing a background check. We were very lucky then, but later decided to stay in places that were already published as known hostels. We were 24( I think) when we travelled. This trip really matured me- and got me hooked on travelling.
I would later spend hours looking for bargain flights.
I learnt that Budapest was such a beautiful city-especially in person. When I was there it was hard to find anyone that spoke english so we had to do thorough research before travelling. It helped that our hostel owner, who I think was worried about us travelling alone-became our tour guide. hehe.
They have beautiful handicrafts there too.
We still decided her still not to follow any random hostel owner the next time!
I remembered, the first thing my travel partner told me when we arrived here (1st country travelled)-“what are we doing??”It turned out fun though. no regrets.
I learnt that Vienna was a beautiful, modern city and fell in love with Viennese Coffee. We were searching for a coffee shop (looking lost) at 5pm (shops were all closed), when a restaurant owner asked us what we were looking for. He later opened his shop and made us Viennese coffee..
I learnt that Prague had stunning views even in the winter. We were taken in by my travel partner’s friend’s relative. Long lineage-I know! they were so kind, looking after us. being a tour guide, cooked, gave us a place to stay and made helped us to Krakow.
Lastly, I met with someone who tried very hard to help us get to the town centre in Krakow (Poland), when we were trying to take the bus. Town-was actually a 2 min walk through a back alley. We were so suspicious he had bad intentions (maybe steal our camera), when he just wanted to help-Allah bless him..
Travel is much like a drug-it gets you hooked.
.. I second that!
Reminiscing the past & planning future travels in London, UK