Hi there. I hope you all are doing great. I was interviewed some months ago by a lovely student named Marwa for her ‘Les Voyageurs’ project for her Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore. She asked me some interesting questions about my travel history, goals and life and it was a pleasure collaborating with her. I thought why not share it on my blog today! Let’s go!
Q#1: Can you please share your brief introduction?
Assalamualaikum! My name is Nadiya Najib. I am an inspired Pakistani businesswoman, marketing expert and lifestyle blogger living in Halifax, Canada. I have been working for different companies within Marketing in England, Pakistan and Canada for over ten years now.
This blog is my space where I share my thoughts about travelling, relationships, social issues, organizing, stories of struggle, well-being and genealogy. I love colour and that is reflected in my paintings. I want this blog to be the ultimate source of creativity and inspiration.
I am inspired by faith, nature, creativity, colour, purity, enthusiasm, minimalism and essentialism.
I’m passionate about Tennis, genealogy (family trees), truck art, family trees, organizing, travelling, poetry, scrapbooking, stamp collection, natural remedies, leaf art, social media, cats, blogging, Trekking, Table Tennis, chess and so much more! I’m always exploding with ideas. I believe that life is too short. Do what you love. Make time for things that make you happy!
Q#2: What is your travel history like. Which countries have you traveled to?
Most of my international travel history has been in the last decade. Following are the countries I have travelled or lived in so far:
- Sri Lanka
- Suadi Arabia
Q#3: What is travelling for you?
Travelling for me is life, freedom, education, recreation, free-spirit, revitalization, mood uplift, and something that takes my breath away!
Q#4: How can you learn about a culture and meet locals without speaking their language?
Not being able to speak or understand the language can be a major hindrance in learning about a new place. However, I love to still converse with the locals at every opportunity I get. That’s how you really get to know a place. Some times I have to use sign language or expressions to talk to locals.
However, you can learn about locals by just observing them. What you say is as important as how you say it. The tone of voice can easily tell if the person is angry, happy or sad. Expressions can even speak louder than words. A smile can immediately bring hearts closer no matter what language is spoken. You can also hire a local guide who speaks your language and can inform you about customs in that area.
Following is a picture of me in Kalash where I went to local girls house to get braids in my hair. We didn’t understand each other’s language but communicated well.
Q#5: What do you do when travel starts to feel repetitive? How do you keep each destination exciting when the same options are available?
My travel philosophy is not to see the same places I have already been to. I think life is too short and the world is too big to keep seeing the same areas again. Wherever I live, I do my research on Google and always keep a list of places in a 3-4 hour radius. Surprisingly, there are so many options no matter which part of the world you dwell in. So it is possible to see a new place every time.
In case the same options are available, I would do the following to make it exciting:
- Make a travel journal of the place
- Make a list of questions & interview locals to learn about the place
- Collect leaves (can make a journal, painting or scrapbook)
- Google the place to find exciting information about it
- Invite your family/friends to join you
- Play London stop/Race-you-to-that with friends there
- Grab some exciting snacks
- Take some board/card games with you
- Games like ‘I spy with my little eye’ encourage observation
Q#6: Can you tell our youngsters, do you have to be rich to travel?
If you plan to travel to Switzerland, London or New York, yes you will need money. But you don’t have to be rich to travel all the gorgeous places which are situated around you.
It hardly costs anything to drive down to the closest beautiful location near your house. I think it’s important to always keep an updated list of places around you. UNESCO has some great ideas wherever you may be. This is one of my favourite hobbies. I always keep a list of places to see around my house wherever I may be! The moment you get some time off, you shouldn’t have to start the search then. You should be able to just get into the car and dash off!
Q#7: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt from your travels?
The most interesting things I’ve learned from travelling are:
1- Don’t be judgmental
We shouldn’t be judgmental about others in life. Travelling made me realize that there are all kinds of people in the world as they’re all raised in different environments, situations and cultures. I became more open-minded and empathetic towards others rather than thinking of others badly. I used to only like people who were similar to me. Now I’m more accepting of different types of people.
2- Show more gratitude
When I look at the exotic mountains, beaches, rivers, I can’t help but mumble ‘Subhan Allah’. The sheer majesty of the world takes my breath away and is a reminder for me to always be thankful for all our blessings. Seeing the grandeur of the world makes me humbler too. Makes me realize how little I am compared to the vastness of this world!
3- Be responsible
Travelling reminds me of important social issues like littering, pollution, population, global warming so I can be a responsible human being whether I am in my home country or someone else’s home. The earth is our home and we must take care of it for ourselves and for our future generations.
4- Be humble
When I travel the world and look down at the planet from the airplane window, I am reminded of the fact that I am so small. All the attitude, arrogance and ego that lives inside is shattered when I realize I’m not even a dot in the vastness of the universe. So travelling definitely reminds me to be humble.
Q#8: What has surprised you about yourself?
It surprised me how care-free and easy-going I could become even at this point of my life. I am a normally a clean freak, I have to take a shower every day, I have to keep everything around me clean and I CANNOT use dirty washrooms.
But during my trip to Kalash, I did everything that I never thought I could! Because I stopped obsessing over such issues, I was able to enjoy this most fun trip of my life.
During this trip, I also learned that Allah has made us human beings very strong. The hang-ups which we create around ourselves are all superficial. Our bodies are capable of adjusting to a wide range of situations/conditions and we must remember the bigger picture in life… which is to enjoy.
It is a relief to realize that we are stronger than the obsessions we surround ourselves with. So I learned that we shouldn’t build walls around ourselves which may be preventing us from having the best time of our lives.
Q#9: How do you get the idea to get up and move?
Traveling can be really hectic. Traveling up north in Pakistan really takes a lot of effort, courage and determination. You have to really love traveling in order to be able to tolerate all the not-so-fun parts.
Having said that, I have always loved nature, trekking and sports. For me, the energy to get up and move comes naturally. I have been a Tennis player all my life so I actually love the physical exertion part.
Being in the corporate world for so long, there is honestly no time for laziness or procrastination. I really think life’s too short. So I don’t let such things come in between me and fun holidays. We only have about 28 days of holidays in a year so we have to plan all our holidays within that time for the whole year.
My husband and I are really enthusiastic travelers so we literally leave for our trips after office many times at night and then reach back to the city early morning before going straight to office after the holiday. So there is no time to be lazy. We like to use our whole holiday traveling so we don’t waste even a day for making up for our sleep. We sleep on the jeep/bus/plane.
Q#10: Which natives have impressed u the most and which place u have felt closest to nature?
In Europe I was most impressed by Germans as they are leading in the business sector. Their brands are literally ruling the world (BMW, Mercedez, Volkswagen, Nivea, Knorr etc etc). Looking at their business hubs made me realize how technically advanced they are.
Even though I haven’t been to Scandinavian countries like Finland, Sweden and Denmark yet (they’re definitely on my list), I am absolutely amazed by their best systems in the world. I have a Finnish best friend who was also my house mate for a long time so I’m really impressed by Scandinavian countries (laws, culture and welfare).
I have felt closest to nature in Neelam valley, Pakistan and Mount Stanserhorn, Switzerland as they were absolutely majestic.
Thank you so much for getting time out of your busy schedule for us, this really means a lot for us.
You are most welcome. Travel is one of my favourite topics and I absolutely loved answering your questions. Thanks for choosing me. Thank you all for reading.
If you have any more travel questions for me, just fill the form below and I will answer all your questions: