Tell us a little bit about yourself😁
What inspired you to start Passport & Plates, travel the world and share your experiences?After spending 6 months traveling post college graduation, I remember stumbling upon this concept of “digital nomads” (back in 2012). I vowed that one day I’d figure out how to be location independent. A couple of years later, my quarter-life crisis was in full swing and my lack of success in finding my dream job led to me creating it! I took my first solo trip in August 2015 and have been blogging ever since. I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection between culture and food and want to share that knowledge with others – especially those that are under budget constraints like me! Additionally, I’m the only Arab-American Muslim solo female travel blogger out there. My goal is to inspire young Muslim women to get out there and explore!
What has been the most rewarding experience you've had while visiting all the different countries you've been to?I LOVE opportunities to connect with locals, above all else. It’s one of the hardest things to do on the road, but I find it so rewarding to be able to sit down and just talk to people and really understand what makes them tick. I’m a firm believer that the best education comes from traveling and connecting with people with a completely different lifestyle because it really forces me to think about life’s ideologies from a different viewpoint.
If you had an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, what would your itinerary look like?What a question! It would definitely include a LOT of eating and I would 100% splurge on a stylish hotel with a great view – as a budget traveler, this is a luxury I often miss out on! I don’t think my itinerary would be to a specific destination, but ideally it would include a day spent with locals, a visit to nature, and some street food and cooking adventures!
What are 3 of your favourite destinations, and why?
What are some of the things you look out for before planning a trip?Since I now have the luxury to slow travel, I typically look at a few itineraries before I plan a trip so I can gauge how long to spend in different parts of a new country without feeling rushed. If I’m traveling to several locations within the country, I typically look up the bus / rail system to make sure I can actually get from point A to point B, C, and D. Call me Type A, but the one thing I always do is book cancellable accommodation before the trip. I like the security of knowing I have somewhere to rest for each night, but the flexibility of being able to change my itinerary at a moment’s notice.
What are your must-haves when visiting any country?While I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of packing lightly, I’m by no means a minimalist. My toiletries bag is always the heaviest part of my suitcase! However my camera, phone and laptop are must haves so I can document all the adventures for my readers!
Do you have any tips for making new connections while travelling?Funnily enough, I wrote a post on how to make friends while traveling solo to answer this question for my readers! I would have to say that social media and free walking tours are my go-to resources.
What's your favourite travel photo and why?
Fill in the blank: My hope for the world is that…One day, we all stop focusing on judging each other by our differences and learn to accept that as humans, we all want the same thing: happiness, dignity, and security.