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#HHWT Explorers: Meet Marryam, Founder of Life of My Heart

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Sabrina  •  Mar 15, 2016

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South Australian Muslim artist and lifestyle photographer Marryam Lum of Life of My Heart brush letters beautiful, inspiring verses from the Quran that inspire fellow Muslims to share positive messages of Islam through her contemporary style (check out her Instagram account!). Through her blog, she highlights inspirational wanderers, entrepreneurs and also reflections on every day living. Her work has been the source of inspiration for many, and we're honoured to have been able to feature her!
Hi Marryam! Do tell us a little bit about yourself 😊
Marryam
Hi, I’m Marryam - I’m an Australian Muslim photographer and brush letterer who loves to travel!
What sparked your interest in brush lettering, and what inspires your work for Life of My Heart?
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  I have always loved lettering and different forms of handwriting - growing up I was always doodling random words in many different styles all over my textbooks. Just over a year ago, I found that there was a gap in the Muslim market for modern brush lettered Islamic-related quotes, so I just started learning how to create them and posted them on Instagram.. it’s been an incredible experience! Recently there has been a big growth of more modern Islamic art including hand-lettering and brush lettering, and it’s been amazing to see. 
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My work for Life Of My Heart is entirely inspired by the incredibly rich spiritual tradition in Islam, particularly the works of Rumi, Ibn Al-‘Arabi and many other Sufi masters, and of course, the words of the Quran and Hadith which facilitate one’s spiritual journey to God.
What has been the most rewarding experience for you since you started Life of My Heart?
On a personal level, working on Life Of My Heart has led me to seeking more knowledge of my faith and the spiritual tradition of Islam as well as other religions, and working on my own self and my own journey…this has been an invaluable experience and I’m grateful for Life Of My Heart for pushing me further to try and improve myself.
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 Another absolutely rewarding experience has been connecting with many amazing people around the world, and other creative Muslim business people who inspire and support me every day. Also, when I receive emails and messages telling me how one of the Life Of My Heart Instagram images helped them get through a tough time in their lives, helped them to feel better after a rough day, inspired them to learn more about Islam, or pushed them to get out of their comfort zone etc - it is really beautiful and rewarding to hear people’s stories. 
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. What would your itinerary look like?
This is so hard to answer! 😆 I can’t really pick one place, but for just 24 hours, I’d probably bring my whole family to do Umrah! And if by some random chance we have enough time, I’d then fly everyone to a tropical island resort for some good food and pool/beach hangs!
What are 3 of your favourite destinations, and why?
Paris
Paris - the first time I visited Paris it was cold, rainy, we saw a woman get robbed within a few hours of arriving there, and even then I still enjoyed spending time there! But I just didn’t appreciate it as much as I thought I would. However, on my subsequent visits, I completely fell in love with this beautiful city and now believe it is totally worth the hype! The history, the art, the museums, the architecture, the food…too much to do and see. Venice - another amazing city which I believe is completely worth the hype, as long as you make sure to visit in a season where there aren’t as many tourists, because it’s a tiny city and many tourists can make it hard to move around! It’s just a completely unique city, and is as mysterious and romantic as you would imagine ☺️ 
Malaysia - This country is the birth country of my parents, and I consider it my second home. I’ve been travelling there very often since I was a little kid, and each time I go there I appreciate it even more. The atmosphere, the people, the food, the diversity in cultures, the shopping, (and for me, family)... I just love it there!
What was the best travel experience you've had so far?
My 3 Hajj trips have been absolutely the best travel experiences - not just for the amazing spiritual aspect which goes without saying, but also the cities themselves. The first two times I went to Hajj was before the development of all the huge 5 star hotels around Mecca and Medina, and both cities were just amazing, windy streets, old buildings, bustling markets. Watching millions of people wind their way down the tiny streets towards the mosque at the Fajr adthan is something I can’t forget!
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 Also, of course, just meeting people from every part of the world there, and hearing their life stories, seeing people from all walks of life praying together, doing tawaf together…it’s a completely unique, unforgettable, life-influencing experience. 
What are some of the challenges (or worst experiences) you have faced while travelling and what did you learn from it?
Thankfully I haven’t yet had any really bad experiences travelling! More recently, travelling with our kids (my husband and I have 3 sons) can be challenging at times but at the same time it feels extremely rewarding…it is sometimes difficult to coordinate logistics and we can no longer pack lightly (no more just carry-on baggage!) - but both of us really appreciate the opportunity to share with our boys the experience and love for travelling! I think the most difficult thing to deal with when flying with kids is definitely not at all the children themselves but people who are not very kid-friendly - it’s a catch 22 because when people are uptight about kids flying or having to sit next to a baby on a plane etc, it makes the parent more stressed which makes the child more likely to play up….so my tip for people who don’t like to be around kids on a plane, be nice, open, helpful and friendly and then everyone will probably have a relaxing flight!
What are your travel tech must-haves?
 For me, the essentials are my phone full of music, headphones, a local sim card with lots of mobile data, Kindle, and of course a camera - my favourite for travelling right now is my micro four thirds Olympus OM-D! 
If you could give one piece of advice to people who want to travel with kids, what would it be?
Go with the flow and really enjoy seeing your kids experience new things, but also always be prepared with lots of snacks/ipad apps/books all the time, wherever you go! If the thought of travelling with your kids stresses you out, consider travelling to countries where the people and the cultures are more known to be kid-friendly - happy parents equals happy kids 😄
Tell us an insider tip or two for people travelling to Australia.
Visit as many beautiful beaches as you can, because Australian beaches are absolutely magnificent!!!
What's your favourite travel photo?
One of Venice, it makes me feel like going back there right now!
Fill in the blanks: My hope for the world is that _________
...everyone will work constantly on their own hearts and souls, being in a state of constant self-improvement and awareness. Have a hilarious/interesting/memorable travel story or any tips you would like to share with us? Drop us an email at [email protected]!