Why Muslims should travel
Why Muslims should travel
I love to take my adventurers on travels all over the globe, both adventures near and far. I love showcasing how amazing the world is and to really let my children see, experience and be a part of our global community. Whether it be climbing on walls thousands of years old, sitting in the foot of ancient temples or being wowed in the desert by the eeriness of being completely alone. I am also really passionate and believe that we all have a role in creating a newer generation of open minded, caring and adventurous youngsters who are able to work in harmony together. Over the last 20 years the Muslim community has grown vastly and with many of the community becoming more affluent then ever before. However, despite now having the resources to travel and explore as a community we are more inclined to stay in the “normal” options such as Morocco, Egypt and Turkey and even whilst we are there we are spending our whole time in resorts. The world is amazing and each country is unique and we should try to look beyond the ‘normal’, traditional travel options and really learn to explore the world again. Here are my reasons of why muslims should travel!
Travelling opens your mind and heart
When you are travelling, your life becomes somewhat easier. You leave behind the rat race and much of the activities which eat away at your time and occupy so much of energy. I love the feeling that travel brings of being free, waking up with a day which can be filled with as much or as little adventure as you want. For me travel bring the chance to stop chasing your tail; which is what life at home can sometimes feel like. During travel your mind becomes a lot clearer and you are able to really think about the things that you are often to busy to spend time thinking about, ways in which you can improve as a person, how we can develop our community and what is lacking and needs to be changed in our lives and others. Travel also does a lot for opening your heart, you realise that the image you are portrayed of people and countries are far removed from the reality. You will be touched in ways by people’s kindness and willingness to help you. You will see how your children who lack any prejudices and social awkwardness get on with everyone they meet and notice no barriers between them and anyone else in the world.
Facing your fears
Travelling especially in the current climate can be worrying. I did a round the world trip before I had children and once children are added to the equation, the natural fear we have when planing your travels is always greater. But as the saying goes “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and I concur with this wholeheartedly. Life is not easy and often we become reluctant to try new things because there are safer and easier paths we can take. Whilst you travel you become a lot more daring and try new things which push your further then you would have thought was possible and likewise give you a world of experience which you would never dream of doing at home. I am not a fan of heights but in New Zealand I tried hand gliding, it was scary and still makes my stomach flip thinking of jumping off a cliff but it is also exhilarating and truly makes you into a story teller!
Seeing our Amazing World
We have been blessed with an amazing world to explore and every country offers us a whole load of different nature, wildlife, scenery and wealth of culture and experiences. Staying in a resort we miss seeing this but going outdoors and seeking new adventures across our vast world will leave you speechless and totally in awe of mother nature. I remember walking to the top of a glacier in New Zealand and being in awe of how amazing planet earth really was, looking down i could just see a mountain of ice, but further was fresh flowing rivers and at the very bottom it was lush rainforest. We visited Athens with our children and being in the foot of man made buildings from thousands of years ago, really brings home how much humanity has endured and what has passed for us to be at our current stage of existence. Its both heartwarming and truly powerful that only experiencing this first hand do you have that feeling of awe.
The current climate of terror and fear is frightening for everyone. From those from Muslim families it is even more important now than ever to go to as many different parts of the world and act as positive ambassadors of peace and really illustrate all the good of our community to the rest of the world. It is upsetting that despite being in the 21st Century things are the way they are but we all have a responsibility to try and change this perception. People are scared and the media does not help with this issue but only by interacting with the wider community and travelling to different countries where Muslims are not always present are we really able to show that as a Muslim community we are normal, moderate and peace loving. We can only help to change people’s perceptions by going out there and making a conscious effort to do so.
It makes you humble
Sitting under a star speckled sky in the outback in Australia, you will realise just how amazing and vast the universe we inhibit and just how small our role is in the world. We often get so caught up in our lives that we forget the bigger picture. The world is a very vast and immense and when you take a step back you can really begin to focus on what and whom really matter, it is nothing short of a spiritual experience. In addition, really travelling means we lose the luxury of huge suitcases filled with clothes and all the mod cons we use in everyday life. Instead we are faced with the need to carry around everything, and we realize just how little we need to survive. For children, this is one of the most amazing lessons we can share. Things are not what will bring happiness and removing them from a life of daily consumerism can be liberating for you all!
Makes you thankful and appreciative
Travelling and going into local communities makes you realise just how much you have to be thankful for. Seeing the daily struggle of so many people across the globe for food, housing, education and medical facilities makes you feel blessed for all the things that we take for granted. We often spend our lives comparing ourselves to others forever fretting about about our homes, cars and generally “keeping up with the joneses” that we lose the purpose and aim of our lives. When you travel, you reliase just how much you have and coupled with this how much little you need. Travelling will change you in ways which you didn’t think possible and often you come back with a desire to make the wider community a better place.
You grow as a person
Travelling, especially if you do it for a length of time makes you really learn a lot about yourself. If you find yourself in an unknown country, you will be found how self-confident, how open-minded and how well you get to know yourself. Whilst travelling you become a better person, often asking questions about yourself which you normally wouldn’t have the time or energy to think about.
Food, glorious food
This question is asked of me A LOT. I will be honest I am not a foodie in the slightest and a plate of fries and a diet coke will lead to me being more then happy. But for the rest of the world, food options should never put you off travelling to different countries. Trying local cuisine is a fantastic way to try new experiences and really get hands on with cultures. With the growth of Islam, halal food is much more readily available then ever before, they have halal food in Disneyland Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan are growing their halal options and countries such as Fiji and Barbados have strong Muslim communities. Who’d have known right? There are a number of fabulous websites out there like Have Halal Will Travel which really showcase how as Muslims you can eat your way around the globe. However, the lack of halal food options should still not be deterrent, the options for vegetarians, seafood are often amazing and almost always overlooked by Muslim travellers. I have heard raving reviews of the seafood in Greece, vegetarian options in Sri Lanka and Sushi in Japan, so we should turn travelling into a real culinary experience.
Part of travel is learning about cultures and their history and you will be amazed how much islamic history there is to see in the most unlikely of places. Mongolia has a wealth of historic islamic sites, where as countries such as Spain and Malta, offer European muslims lots of interesting sites to explore and its a great way to see how Islam has grown and continues to lots of different environments. Doc attended Jumma Namaz (prayers) in a local mosque in Dubai and came home with lots to think about and also how things need to change and move forward in our own communities. We can learn from one another and take back how we see other Muslims in the world and try and incorporate into our normal daily lives.
Best Education for our children
If the above has not had you convinced, travelling provides children with some of the most amazing experiences, learning opportunity and hands on education that they will never experience from behind a book or in a classroom. As parents part of our role is to help our children grow stronger in their faith but also their ability to live in harmony, learn and grow and become the future generation we need to nurture to ensure they have the best opportunities in life.
There is a whole world out there to explore and if we chose to spend our life at home or on holiday resorts, we will be missing out on so many opportunities and experiences. Whilst you have the chance, emrbace the chance to see the world and let the world see us!