Salam everyone! It’s HHWT’s 2nd birthday today, and we thought of reintroducing ourselves and our story, in hopes that we can get to know one another better! (Yes, there are real people doing all the work behind the scenes of these articles you see floating around the internet 😝)

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Every super hero has an origin story. This is ours!

We take you back to 2012, when our co-founders Mikhail, Suzana and Elaine were on an exchange programme in Seoul. It was during their stay that they realised that it really was very difficult to find accurate and rich information on halal food and Muslim friendly services. It was a toss-up between having to make the long trek to find halal food at an eatery that they didn’t know much about, or to continue having seafood and vegetables for months on end 😩

Who doesn’t want to try halal bulgogi? 🤤

It was truly a blessing in disguise that they experienced how difficult it was for Muslims to find local halal food while traveling, as that’s when they realised the need of creating a consolidated space where Muslim travellers would be able to seek out recommendations about what to see and do, especially in countries where halal food is difficult to find. With that, HHWT was born!

Fast forward to 2015

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It wasn’t until a few years later that HHWT’s first article was published (You can check it out here 😆). What started as a side project slowly became something more when our Top 3 Local Halal Food in Korea article went viral (considering the number of readers we had back then 😅)!

The possibility that we were really providing a service that would truly be of benefit to others spurred us on even more. After much discussion, we made the bold decision to drop our jobs at a local media agency to work on HHWT full-time on the 1st of October, 2015! 🎉

The journey so far! Here’s a look at what we’ve done in our 2 years

It’s been a long road to get to where we are today 😎  We won’t lie – startup life is tough. We’ve gone through bouts of sleepless nights, rounds of fundraising to stay afloat, office moves (we’ve moved 3 times in the span of 2 years) and many many hours pouring our hearts into what we do. We’ve also had a reversion (Mikhail embraced Islam in 2016), a wedding (two of our co-founders, Mikhail and Suzana are happily married to each other ❤️), and even babies!

Alhamdulillah, we’re really proud and humbled to see how far we’ve come because truly, everything we do at HHWT is a labour of love from all of us here, because we want to inspire YOU to see the world! Here are some of our highlights so far:

We’ve grown in numbers

We started as a small team…

…and now we’ve grown to an amazing family of 14! Not forgetting our incredible freelance writers from around the world too! 🌏

We’ve reached out to 8.6 million Muslims worldwide – and counting!

Although it does look like it’s all fun and games from the outside (we really don’t travel as much as you think we do…), we work hard every day to ensure that we’re able to benefit as many people as we can through all our platforms!

We created our very own HHWT Travel Planner App!

Inspired by the many travellers referring to our travel guides, we built our travel planner app to simplify your trip planning process even further! You can easily find halal eateries, attractions and nearby prayer spaces, all in one place.

Every single data point you see on the app is hand crafted by the team 💖  We keyed in the descriptions for every attraction, restaurant and prayer space, rated it so that it would be easier for users to find the best places to go to. We also checked addresses and locations on the map, and sourced for photos that would help you in your decision making process!

…and it can tell you in which direction to pray!

One of the coolest features we’ve added is the Qibla function! You don’t even need anything else to find the Qibla and prayer times wherever you are in the world, coz we’ve done it for you!

By the way, YOU can be a part of it too!

Because now you can leave reviews on your favourite eateries, attractions and prayer spaces, you’ll be helping a fellow Muslim travellers get the information they need! With the help of the wider ummah, even more people would be inspired to see the world!

Leave a review on your favourite eatery and help other Muslim travellers!

We’ve also published the FIRST EVER report on YOU!

We love the HHWT community so much that we decided that everyone else should really try to understand your needs as much as we do. That’s why on the 24th of August, we launched our report on the Modern Muslim Traveller! You can read more about how big a step this is for Muslim travellers everywhere, or download the report and read it for yourself – it is all about you, after all 😉

And if you haven’t noticed, we’ve had a makeover

If you’ve been following us from way back in the day, you’d know that things looked a lot different back then!

In case you didn’t already know, here’s what we believe in

We strongly believe that the act of travelling can be a force of peace. In spite of all the negativity we hear on the media regarding Islam and Muslims, at HHWT, we know that everyone can play a part to spread peace, understanding and the true beauty of Islam, no matter how small. When we really get the chance to interact with one another and connect over the simple act of sharing a meal, or experiencing something new together, can stereotypes and irrational biases be torn down. Changing perspectives and spreading love begins with you! That’s what HHWT is all about – inspiring Muslims to see the world and bringing people from all walks of life together, no matter your religion, age or status 😊

We hope that we’ll always be able to inspire you to explore the world and all of creation, and encourage meaningful interactions between each other. As much as we try our best to serve our brothers and sisters, our efforts can only go so far. Here’s where you can come in to help, and magnify our collective actions. Are you ready to make a difference?

Here are 5 things you can do:
  1. Remember that you’re an ambassador of peace. Build relationships with others wherever you are. Even smiling to a stranger is part of the sunnah! (Always great to collect brownie points while doing something you love, right?)
  2. Share our story, and spread our message to people that matter to you.
  3. Ready to share your travel tips and experiences with other Muslim travellers? Leave a review on your experiences, apply to be a writer or simply send us some tips.
  4. Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our newsletter. It’s the best of HHWT delivered straight to your inbox.
  5. Moved by our cause? Drop us a word of encouragement via emailFacebook, or follow us on Instagram!
A final message

There’s a verse in the Holy Quran that says:

Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah, over all things, is competent.” – Surah Al-Ankabut (The Spider) 29:20

Travel broadens our horizons and our understanding of the world. That’s why we’ve been working very hard to publish the best travel and food guides in hopes of making travelling a richer experience for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. What we tell ourselves and what we choose to believe in makes a whole world of difference. Choose to be a force of good in this world, and work hard in trying to achieve that dream!

If you’ve been with us since our debut in February 2015, thank you so much for your support. If you’ve just popped by, welcome to the HHWT travel community! Your support means the world to us. In fact, it is what keeps us going every day – so we’re always delighted to receive your encouragements and comments on what we can do to improve. Do like and share our articles if you enjoy reading them. Get in touch with us by emailing us at hello@havehalalwilltravel.com, keeping up with our latest updates on Facebook and Instagram!

Lots of love ❤️,

Team HHWT

 

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