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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING OPEN-MINDED ABOUT TRAVEL AS A VISIBLE MINORITY

The moment I never realized I was waiting for happened.


I spent years traveling. Most of the time, my curiosity led me to places I would have never imagined. My passion for adventure makes me crave the unknown. I want to see remote places. I prefer to visit destinations that are less-known or harder to get to because they are untouched, yet still, hold so much beauty.


Antarctica, one of the most remote places on Earth, has been my number one destination for years. I always get comments about how it sounds crazy that I want these destinations over a city like Paris or London, for example.


In a way I get it. There are many factors that come into play, such as safety. But, why do I go for it anyway, despite knowing the risks?


In 2017, I decided to spontaneously go on a trip to Chile. There are two things that came with this trip; one - I have never been down to South America and two - I only had the weekend which meant I'd only get two full days in Santiago, but that did not stop me from going.

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I always heard people telling me about how South America is dangerous and I should pick somewhere else to go. But you know what I say? Fear is the barrier between what you want to do and what you can do. Do not be afraid to try new things and see the world with an open mind. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


Santiago turned out amazing. Though I never had time to do any research about where I was staying (mainly because I booked the hotel only minutes before boarding my flight), I ended up in a decent area. I stood out for sure, being the only hijabi there and all, but I came across

many good people who helped me find my way around (a lady who had just gotten off work even accompanied me on the metro to show me the way). Some locals gave me recommendations of places to eat and things to do.


Now many years later, I am still traveling to places where I know I will stand out. A few weeks ago, I went on my first cruise. Despite being the only hijabi on board, the feedback I got from one of the staff members is what made me realize the purpose of it all and the words I wanted to hear: "I am so happy to see you. I never get to see any Muslims, but here you are! This makes me so happy."


The lovely person shared their story with us. They were also a visible minority. They left their family behind to go work abroad and while being separated from their family for months, seeing people who they can relate to and/or find a connection with makes them feel excited. It brings back that feeling of home.



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