Due North Book Review

Due North

Social media is changing the way we travel. Whether we blog or not, the desire to see our bodies cropped into breathtaking vistas and exotic experiences has become normalized. The latest trend of seeking out the most Instagrammable destinations evidences that we are commodifying travel instead of experiencing it and being transformed by it. However, veteran traveler Lola Akinmade Åkerström gives readers a gentle reminder that there is nothing dull about slow travel in her first book, Due North. Each story and insight is reflective and richly detailed, bringing unknown places to life. Continue reading

Zighy Bay: A Sustainable Oasis

Six Senses Zighy Bay

The forgotten enclave of Musandam is separated from the main peninsula of Oman by the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates. Known for jaw-dropping fjords and seaside views of the Hajar mountain range, the region is also home to isolated communities so remote that they were more easily reached by boat than land up to a few decades ago. One such community near the quiet fishing village of Dibba attracted the attention of luxury spa and resort brand Six Senses. Now the quiet marina witnesses the annual migration of not only animals to Zighy Bay, but also travelers who want to retreat while treading lightly on the planet. The resort has moved into the bay but not without forging an alliance with the community to further their livelihood and coexist harmoniously with both the social and natural landscape of the region. Continue reading

The Only Muslim-Friendly Guide to Jamaica You Will Ever Need

Muslim Travel Girl Jamaica

When Muslim travelers are looking for a Caribbean destination, I rarely mention Jamaica. Yes, the beaches are pristine, the people are hospitable, and the food is amazing, but Muslims are such a small minority on the island that accommodating their needs can be a challenge. Halal restaurants and mosques aren’t easy to find outside of the capital city and researching the most Muslim-friendly accommodations takes effort. However, the beauty of my homeland is still breathtaking and well worth a visit. Thankfully, I connected with Burgundy Roots to plan a trip that included nature, adventure, and sustainable tourism, all served on a halal platter. With the help of my host, Wafa Aouchiche, a Muslim-friendly visit is not only possible but easy. Continue reading

A Day in The Pearl, Qatar

Vegan Travel The Pearl Doha Qatar

Though I’ve lived in the Arabian Gulf for five years, visiting Qatar never interested me. When I hear any mention of the world’s richest nation, I think of anti-simplicity and wasteful abundance.  However, the opportunity to reunite with old friends and meet new friends arose in Doha, so before I knew it, I was in the center of opulence and surprisingly enchanted by it. Continue reading

An Eco-Friendly Layover in Munich

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Wheat Fields

Arriving in Munich’s international airport was much like flying into any other airport—large terminals, multiple languages, and plenty of shopping opportunities. With only 21 hours to spare in the Bavarian capital, it was tempting to jump into the city and visit some of the popular tourist attractions. But with more than eight hours left in the next day’s journey and two children in tow, a filling meal and a good night’s rest took priority. We could’ve arranged for taxis or private cars to zip us all over town, but we opted for a more eco-friendly approach instead. Continue reading

Bandung: An Escape from Jakarta, Indonesia’s Capital City

Waterfalls on the premises

My first trip to Jakarta was a sensory assault. The contrasting sights of grand mosques, imposing shopping malls, and roadside food stalls swirled in the cacophony of buzzing motorbikes, taxis, and rickshaw carts. A simple trip across town easily became a three-hour tour, crawling through the maze of traffic. Watching the taxi meter tick away, I stared despondently outside of the car window, looking for a glimpse of nature. I wanted to feel the earth beneath my feet and inhale the humid, tropical air without choking on vehicle exhaust and gasping on cigarette smoke. Two years later, I returned to the sprawling cosmopolitan but under one condition—I had to get out of Jakarta. Continue reading

Yediburunlar Lighthouse Hotel in Fethiye Review

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It was the view that reeled me in. I knew nothing about Fethiye and even less about Yediburunlar, but I had to see the unobstructed view of mountains meeting the Mediterranean, where hues of blue blur the boundary between sea and sky. From Ankara, I flew to Dalaman, took an airport shuttle to Fethiye, a minivan to Eşen, and an unmarked taxi along a winding, unpaved village road to reach our destination. We reached Yediburunlar Lighthouse Hotel just in time to watching the glowing orange disc sink into the sea and set for the night. Continue reading

The Zen of Travel and BEING in the World Book Review

Zen of Travel Book Review

In a world of glitch fares, shameless selfies, and country-hopping, it’s easy for travel to lose its meaning.  What was once significant, unpredictable, and purposeful has been swapped for just-add-water instant trips and calculated formulas for social media success.  In the dizzying whirl of jet setting to and fro, it’s easy to forget that travel is more than what you do but rather who you become.  When I sit down to do my own country tally, it’s meaningless to me because I can’t even begin to quantify how much I’ve expanded in thought, heart, or experience since I first crossed the Atlantic Ocean almost eight years ago.  But, when I recently read Global Insights: The Zen of Travel and BEING in the World by Dr. Nicole Monteiro, my inner wanderer felt affirmed to know that when travel is your way of life, the journey never ends. Continue reading

A Vegan Guide to Istanbul

The heart of Old Istanbul

Visit Istanbul to discover Turkey’s rich cultural past and present with a hearty vegan twist.

The French poet Alphonso de Lamartine once said, “If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.” His enchantment with the city is understandable when one considers that more than 14 million people call Istanbul home and more than double that amount visit annually. A truly multicultural city, the bustling metropolis encompasses both Europe and Asia and is the world’s fifth largest city by population. Similar to New York City, public transportation is the lifeline that connects people to places across the three land masses that make up Istanbul. By ferry and rail—both underground and underwater—non-stop movement pulses like a heartbeat that has kept this city alive since the days it was known as Constantinople. Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide for Exploring Muslim Friendly Trinidad …and why it should be on your list!

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Photo credit: bud ellison – from the street via Visual Hunt / CC BY

When Muslim travelers tell me they want to visit the Caribbean, my first recommendation is always Trinidad. Many haven’t heard of this tiny, oil-rich island, but they boast an accomplished Muslim community that has made Islam as much a part of their culture as Carnival. With more than 85 mosques to choose from, Trinidad has the highest concentration of mosques in the Western Hemisphere. Furthermore, they have their own Islamic TV network, a Muslim credit union, thriving businesses and a number of social service networks. Continue reading