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Abdul Hafiz Ali

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Morocco is an open Islamic country in North Africa- and this is my survival.

The sound of Morocco can be exhilarating and the smell is just overwhelming. While being white (foreign) is a sign of wealth, the hierarchy of foreignness is definite starting from American and English, Dutch and German, French, and the rest will follow- again.

Speaking English is an advantage when you are an English man that doesn’t speak French- if you don’t then whisper and gestures will be your option.

Survival Morocco

While Morocco is an open city to explore, I believe the government has done a tremendous policy in making sure that tourists are given priority since tourism is the major contributor to its economy. I was in Medina trying to explore the city of Marrakech, looked every corner of the market in the African continent. I saw crowded and happy tourists waited for the night to arrive while the market is getting bright through lights and busy food stalls. While you will see dog poo, dirty streets, and everything else. So everything you wear will get dirty- no joke. I am lucky to travel this country without serious issues, but it doesn’t mean I need to feel safe.

You will see the snake charmers in Medina that will grab your camera while people will surround you and boom! You can’t say “No”. Unless you are ready to pay, and have a money to pay for it. If not, then you will be harassed, or followed. This is a survival from touts.

Sale, Rabat. Morocco fronting Atlantic Ocean

It was a charge to experience, and I admit- I fell into that trap!

You will not need a guide unless you are shopping for novelty items. In the alleyways, you will not need a guide- I promise. Google map is built for us to use whenever we need to locate a restaurant or streets.

In my first week, my travel has been intense, I started to travel by train going North from Marrakech. Bought a second class seat of the train, confused by the train section with French beautiful Moroccan girl who wanted to exchange seat with me. The travel took 5 hours, got bored, abused the replay button of my smartphone. It says” Gare De Fes”. Welcome to the city of Fes, where another unique place to discover.

I found two Moroccans who were standing outside an old building while their heights made me feel that I am about to meet this giant Moroccan AWESOMENESS. They don’t speak English, uffff…so I prepared to use my hidden Arabic language skills, and they were confused and so I am. Damn, it was crazy!

My Middle Eastern Arabic did not work, so Spanish saved me from chaos. I would suggest to learn basic French or at least Spanish when going to Morocco. But I met young generations who are good in English. I was in total confusion and asked myself in the balcony of a simple hotel in the city, ” what will I do?”

I saw a lot of chaos in the city of Medina when it comes to animal brutality. Starving dogs, and cats everywhere. I was awake most of the night listening to cats fighting and dogs barking. This is the reality of travel, it is not all about luxury.
I don’t want to stay a blind eye to it, yes, I saw a lot of big pictures in the country.

The next day, I had a dinner with a friend in Rabat city. He shared how his mother is struggling to raise her four children, but he was smiling. I felt the love and unity in the family over the disadvantage that is often highlighted by us, the outsiders. But they are happy. Moroccans are happy, maybe they don’t see what I see so far.

Moroccans are happy, maybe they don’t see what I see so far.
I travel because I need to. “Travel is made up of distances and differences which are the pillars of creativity.

 

I want to hear your experiences too! Please don’t hesitate to share your survival tips.

If you saw my recent post about the Middle East and Africa, you might amaze how I manage to travel solo without a car or companions sometimes.

I always feel ecstatic when I captured the best moments in my travel life especially those off the beaten path places and unique experiences I mostly share in my social media accounts where I could tell stories to my followers and family. I also want to highlight that I am a Muslim, so visiting some restricted areas for non-Muslims like in Saudi Arabia is a privilege as an expat too.

“How did you go there?” or “You are crazy” was the first question.

So they proceeded to ask where the place is located.

 

Let us talk about the Middle East

Because we can’t trust the media is saying nowadays, my travel to Saudi Arabia and Morocco (North Africa) were the most remarkable of all. As I travel to different landscapes and weather, while my pen and a journal started to record every single memory of my journey.

Middle East

Hafiz trip by numbers:

1

 

A number common to everyone but I would like to reserve this for respect. Respect is a word I always have wherever I go. People are kind in nature, just treat them with respect and you will deserve a respect you wanted to have whether you are in the Middle East or somewhere in Africa.

 

20,896

 

The number of kilometers I traveled on the road through walking and public transportation. I was on the road for more than two months and spent difficulties in getting the right people to ask when I got lost and experienced those joys with new friends I met on the road too.

 

3

 

The number of mountains I climbed during my recent trip to Al Abha, Al Baha, Madain Saleh, and Taif. Each place has unique characteristics. Al Soodha park in Abha is the highest and coolest place in the Kingdom, while that highest peak of Madain Saleh is the hottest place with amazing  Palace antiquities. Al Baha is one of my favorite cities in the Kingdom and Taif. Jabbal Dakka in Taif never failed to impress me through its valleys and beautiful mountains situated in the West region of the Kingdom.

 

32

 

The number of companions I had a long the way. While I am not the type of traveler who set strict criteria to be with me on the road, I usually ask for a plan on how can we manage to get to a specific destination. I traveled with great people from Europe and locals of the place we are traveling.

Middle East

 

500

 

The number of distance in Kilometers where Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia is located to the North East of Petra, Jordan. In 2008, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) agreed on Madain Saleh site to join the World Heritage List. Thus, the site has become the first archeological site in Saudi Arabia to be enlisted by the WHC of the UNESCO. It is known that the Nabataeans had founded a large kingdom extending from their capital Petra (Sila) in the north to Madain Saleh in the south.

 

 

I am brave enough to travel ever since when I first hit the road from backpacking to luxurious travel of my life. Living in the most conservative country in the world, traveling to Africa is something I wanted to do two years ago.

You would always hear about security issues of Morocco, feedbacks about how is it safe to travel for a female or even us. Planning my second trip to North Africa is something different. This time, I wanted to live with a Moroccan family I had arranged with Homestay

I stopped. ” Am I sure to do this plan?” A plan will not always be going to happen. At least, now I am going to prove- it will happen.

 

I arrived in the city of Marrakesh with a 5-hour travel from the city of Casablanca by train. I can barely sleep in a long hour flight from Jeddah to Cairo but I started to like the city. The Gare De Marrakesh (Marrakesh train station) is a modern type station of the city, police officers were everywhere with their patrol cars, travelers waited for their next train to arrive.

“God, my phone is dead. This is the reality of travel”. I asked the policeman but I can’t understand their Arabic. Again, a barrier. My Middle East Arabic was useless.

Thanks for the little French I had. ”

Bonjour!, Comment est-ce  que je vas au Derb Il Imam?” (“How do I get to Derb Il Imam ?’.) Derb Il Imam is the home address I was told to stay. The police officer told me to ride a taxi cab with his amazing French language. Alright, I got it. I looked down the right, while three drivers came to me, offered the most excellent service to ride in their taxis.

Derb Il Imam is the home address I was told to stay. The police officer told me to ride a taxi cab with his amazing French language. Alright, I got it. I saw a man standing outside the entrance, and approached him. Surprisingly,  he is an Indian waiting for someone to pick him up. Few minutes, his fellow arrived and it was the right time for me to borrow a phone so I could call my Moroccan host.

Assalamu Alaykum“. ‘The first greeting I heard. I began speaking in English telling him that I finally arrived in Marrakesh. I was full of excitement but at the same time- a little bit of anxiety.

His English is limited. I wish I could do a hand gesture over the phone. I was forced to speak Arabic(Saudi Arabian), told him that I was on the train, borrowed a mobile, and so if he could go to the place where I was. He finally understood what I wanted to say.

After 15 minutes, a man smiled while going to my direction, pointed his finger unsure if I was the one who called him. He seems nice and a happy guy.

That was just the beginning.

 

READ :  iStory: I am a Millennial Traveler

 

Tournez à droite et c’est la première rue à votre gauche”. He said in French again. He provided me a direction to turn right, and it’s the first street on the left to get home. I felt a different world that I was about to live.

It was a simple, clean, and the room was on the rooftop. Without any idea of how is it to live with a Moroccan family, I never felt different and outcasted.  Abdou Saddiq, the youngest son of the family with three sisters and two brothers lived with his mother whom I met. They offered me a traditional tea, introduced myself and so they were, and while the Arabic language was my savior!

Moroccan Family

Understanding A Moroccan Family

 

I felt a little bit of intrusive during my first two days. Living in Saudi Arabia helps me to understand and respect the culture and family values. However, living with a Moroccan family gave me a very straight to the point, no bullshit words to describe. A girl member of the family would cover a scarf around their neck whenever I was visible in a guest room. As soon as she saw you, she would cover their head, neck or even mouth when talking.

I would even limit to talk with a girl member of the family except for their mother who is very friendly and encouraged me to feel at home.

 

Cleanliness and Cooking

 

Aisha, Abdou’s mother was in charge of cooking and laundry. The house is more organized and everything is in place. When I needed a food, they asked me what food I wanted to eat, offered Moroccan cuisine and the best of it all- hospitality.  Cleaning is a big factor for them.

The interaction in the house always took during the dinner, where everyone was present, around to share their family stories with me. I started to amazed on how they value their families and country.

Women control the house and men will do most of the hardest jobs for their family. In Abdou’s case, he was jobless for 2 years when his brother left Morocco for France. He was asked to manage the house and so the entire family member.

 

Moroccan Men in the Public Place

 

I walked down the streets of Rabat and Marrakesh when these three words came to my mind: Aggressive, loud, and attitude. I saw men were aggressively talking in the middle of the street for a traffic fight, no physical fight but just mouth. My Moroccan friends shared one thing: If you don’t agree, everything will be a mess.

On the other side, Moroccan men as the head of the family and as a father is a caring one. Hassan is the eldest brother of Abdou. He was 52 years old, works in a farm and a lovely father and brother to all.

My Morrocan homestay is one of the best experiences I had. I built a relationship with Saddiq family and it was hard to say goodbye but I will definitely come back.

 

Have you tried to stay with a family? Share your experience below.

 

 

 

 

 

When I was backpacking in Europe, I met two Germans bragging about the number of countries they had visited. Remember the quote “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. You can use this quote as an inspiration but if you were to judge people who don’t travel or less traveled for some reasons- that is going to be different.

less traveled

You are privileged, lucky you!

We were born in different countries and so we are not the same.  Imagine yourself in a country like Afghanistan, where you can only travel to 3 countries no visa needed and  20 countries that allow visa on arrival. What if you don’t have a passport? In the USA,   only 30% of Americans have a passport considering that it is one of the most powerful passports in the world. Does it make you feel more privileged or lucky enough to be able to travel different places compared to others?

Wait, what about those third world passports? With a lot of restrictions and bunch of requirements needed for them to process a visa without assurance of getting approved.

Don’t let them feel that you are superior. Can you be a new friend who can share tips and unique experiences you had with your previous travels?

You traveled one hundred plus countries, now what?

We could wish that there will be thousands of countries to visit. You can share thousands of photos on Instagram, and let your friends jealous with your posts, but we often did not realize that travel is an education, not just luxury.

“Oh Hafiz, your photos looks great!”

“Where are you now?!” “I am jealous!”.

Those were the words I often received from my readers and friends. But what they didn’t know was, I don’t travel fast. Countries will still be there waiting for me to explore. The best way to know the culture is to live like a local, at least, once in a lifetime.

 

Travel is not for everyone

 

After two years since I launched this blog, I learned a lot of realizations. One of them is that travel is not for everyone. As an expat living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I thought travel is easy as 1-2-3! I was wrong. I still have my corporate job because I need to work and save for my future and family.

Aside from the passport issues, we all have personal reasons that hinder us to travel. Some may find it “not the right time” enough to quit a job because of priorities.

Money. Money. Money. This is the enemy of everybody. But it doesn’t mean you need to give up. There are a lot of ways to save and set aside your savings without going bankrupt after a trip from Mexico. Don’t be a broke traveler!

I always remind myself. I always do.

 

 

 

Work. Save. Invest. Travel. Travel. Travel.

If you are a Generation Y as they called us, then you would understand what I am going to talk about. Millennials like myself are often judged as non-practical or a happy go lucky guy who doesn’t have priorities in life. But, wait, what did you say?

BEFORE:

They know my name. But they don’t know my story.

Millennial

I grew up with Filipino parents and had lived in a war-torn city in the southern Philippines. In the early 1990’s, life can be more literal hunger games when the Asian crisis hit the Philippines. Although my father was an active soldier that time, life was simple but terrible to deal with. We traveled to a different place to another, towns to cities, from happy to drama staged type neighbors, and a bunch of families issues. That was tiring. I eventually get tired.

I saw a lot of turmoils and unprecedented events that you will never imagine. My Uncles and Aunts were hard workers, they had sent my cousins to good schools, bought new school uniforms twice a year, shoes and other extravagant things that became possessions. Years later, security was not secured- but lessons learned.

I remember, the day when all of my cousins were sharing horror stories at my grandma’s house.

My granny asked me.

Mio Apo, cosa bo quiere keda grande?” (My grandson, what do you want to be when you grow up?)

“To travel around the world!” I answered.

I felt embarrassed to be different. Embarrassment because they laughed and teased me for that crazy answer they thought it was.

20 years later, that moment still in my mind no matter how I want to forget. We grew up differently and our family became huge, relationships changed and hardly communicate each other.

A reality that we can’t change. Because change is the only constant in this world.

My father decided to take us to his hometown so we can be reunited with our family after years of no contact. It was a new environment again, new language and culture. New adjustments and life. A life that taught me a lot of realizations and words to celebrate my existence as a Millennial. But then again, I struggled identity crisis. Pretended to be fine and happy. That was the time when I decided to break stereotypes and rules what other people wanted me to do. My parents were not perfect to support me, however, I was lucky to have them in my life. I just want them to be happy for me- that’s all.

3 years ago, my mother freaked out when she knew that I flew away from home to discover this amazing world and do what makes me happy.

“Mom, I don’t need a luxury house and pay bills the entire life. I still do remember your words for me, and it is happening now”.

Travel became my passion and a cure to possible regrets 30 years from now.

NOW:

Who are the Millennials?

 

Now, let us get deeper about being a Millennial. If you were born between 1977 to 2000, the makeup of 21% purchases, willing to purchase a product that supports a cause like me, loves to brand a love, active on social media like Facebook, and great content creators, we are the Millennials.
When I was in Europe, I have seen a lot of Millennials traveling within the continent and even farther during Springbreak or just a short vacation. We shared different stories but one in common “Travel”.

Yeah, while you see the “YOLO” post of my fellow Millennials, or even just glancing at Instagram, older generations or people who don’t understand us will shake your damn head.

 

As a travel influencer, when I started travelwithhafiz.com, social media has become more intense. Facebook is still my

favorite community when it comes to reaching my fans about my travel story with authentic experiences.

Travel experience plus social media is like twins but it can be stressful at times. Travel is my priority and social media is the bridge to bring out authentic experiences.

We, Millennials are becoming more open-minded about new experiences and hoping that we can go beyond just “likes”.

 

Okay, let us talk about travel snobbery. Whether you like it or not- it definitely exists. It is a term that I wish I could not hear my entire life until I will be buried 6 feet under. But, I don’t think it can be avoided, and it will never be. It is a subjective thing that evolved years and years before I started my career as a travel blogger.

It is all rampant and can be seen everywhere, and we definitely don’t want to admit – we are a travel snob sometimes.

It was never ending the debate of travelers versus tourists. When a backpacker is way better than a luxury traveler, comparing them as well traveled than you are is where the real definition of travel snob begins. I have great respect for those who traveled a lot of countries, stayed longer, and went further remote, I am not against with that. But devaluing others is another thing. Yes, travel snob aims to elevate or highlight their travel experiences over yours.

Travel Snobbery

Yes, hate is a strong word but as someone travels a lot, I hate travel snobs.
Here is my say. There is no right or wrong way to travel. You can be whatever you want on your travel, be that luxury traveler in the Bahamas, a digital nomad traveler, or you just want to be a normal vacationer.

My advice is simple, be what you want on your travel and no one can dictate you.

My life is exposed in travel, I live abroad, I go vacation whenever I want, and when I am not traveling, I write about travel. Oh yeah, I am fortunate to have that privilege where I was able to learn different cultures, meet people who became the most valued contact on my lists, in my own way of travel.
I don’t travel fast, I just don’t. I still do have a corporate job and I admire those who take a leap for freedom and now celebrating the life as a traveler turned bloggers. We all have a different way of showing the world that we are the influencers and the catalyst of change.

 

If I will take a month travel to Morocco, and saves a lot of money or not spending my money at all because of sponsorships, can I be a superior? That is what we call “The spending snob” type.

To be honest, I was this “The popular destination snob” when I was a teen. I felt “superior” than anyone else because I chose to go way off the beaten track and sticking to my destination list of “best places to travel before 20”.

That being said, I was a travel snob that time. I hate to admit it but I was.

 

Solo vacation is scary, isn’t it? Well, it can be daunting and with a lot of “what ifs” when you are planning your first solo vacation once a year, or even just spending holidays when there is no work. Can you handle spending your solo night out or traveling with some strangers? Or eating solo while seeing others in a group and you are not?

Can you handle spending your solo night out or traveling with some strangers? Or eating solo while seeing others in a group and you are not?

Here, I am going to share my tips for your solo vacation and make it more efficient by traveling alone based on my own experience to make your travel more successful.

 

1. Do your research

You need to be mindful of the culture and laws of the country that you will be traveling. Thank Google, blogs, and reviews from different sites you can see nowadays. However, don’t just rely on this, you can talk to you friends, join a Facebook group for travelers, utilize your friends on Twitter and Instagram. If you want more visualize, Youtube videos can help you find more specific answers.

 

2. Connect your people

The power of social media is the ability to reconnect the relationships you have with people you want to meet, establish a trust to friends you have been chatting for a long time, connections around the community with different ideas that were shared, and sharing time each other in a place where you are about to explore. Pretty much every big town or cities have a unique to offer where expats and travelers meet.

 

 

3. Learn a language

This is one of the important things you need to do before packing your things for your vacation. While the above number 1 list is to research, do learn a little language if English is not the first language of the country that you will be traveling. Why? Because it will be hard for you to express your thoughts when you are asking for a direction, talking to a taxi driver, or ordering a food where shower conversation is not applicable. Believe me, locals will be happy to know when you are trying to speak their own language instead of giving them an attitude.

 

4. Be aware of scams

Spending your vacation alone or your solo travel can be both rewarding and you can’t just hide it to your friends and family, right? Safety is your own responsibility and we can’t force people to do it for us even the government. Be aware of common scams and unique issues of the places, more than just keeping your eyes to your valuables.

 

5. Get a travel insurance

Travel insurance is often being ignored by travelers before their trip and buys travel insurance while they are actually traveling. Insurance will be your saver whatever happen to you while spending your vacation to a country where nobody knows you. Remember, not all travel insurance is the same, choose the best travel insurance like World Nomads.

solo vacation

6. Eating out

 

I still love the old fashion way of saying ” hey, are you available tonight for dinner?” or perhaps going to a 24-hour convenient store and would take out a piece of Pizza. Practice the language with the waiter or waitress, be busy to ask questions about their special menu, introduce yourself to them with smiling face. My recent trip to Morocco is a manifestation that restaurants can be more happy at noon than the night time. If you love company, go to a crowded place where you will be sharing your table.

 

7. Keep your important items in the same place and documents secure

Other than avoiding passport robbers which can be a huge headache, securing your documents like travel insurance policy, receipts, and other important items are the most important tips you should consider. Checking your wallet, passport, camera, and phone are items you must check when you feel the need.

 

 

Your trip to Morocco will not be completed if you missed the famous food of Moroccans, Tajine. If you are planning to travel to this amazing country, there are a lot of Moroccan foods that you can try, there are Qus Qus, and Kofta but Tajine is the most popular one. Tajine is a typical Berber dish that is easy and freezable, cooked in an earthware pot. There are different types of Tajine, the vegetable, beef, chicken, and fish, did I miss any?

During my Moroccan adventure in more than 15 cities and a Sahara trip, I tried all types of Tajine more than anyone, except chicken since I don’t eat them a lot. The price will range from 3 to 5 Euros depends on what type of Tajine you will be ordering.

Tajine

How it is made & what ingredients are needed

Traditional Tajine is cook through an earthware pot, which is now available through Amazon. This is a one-pot masterpiece in your choice of meat, or a 100 percent vegetable, with fragrant spices and olives. I recommend to cook it using a charcoal for better results.

Ingredients

2 skinless meat of choice if needed

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ( 15.5 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 small butter squash, peeled and chopped

1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 dash cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 (14 ounces) can vegetable broth

Preparations & Directions:

Cooking a Moroccan Tajine is easy and that will take 15 minutes of preparation, 45 minutes to cook, serve in an hour. I mention that this is a one spot masterpiece so let the cooking started:

  • Heat the olive oil in an earthware pot or skillet over a medium heat, cook the meat you want, garlic and onion in about 12 to 15 minutes until browned
  • Put the squash, garbanzo beans, tomatoes with juice and carrot, broth, sugar and lemon juice in a pot, season with salt, cayenne pepper, and coriander. Wait until the mixture is boiled, and cook for about 30 minutes. Check until the vegetable is tender.

There you go, we now have a  DIY Moroccan Tajine with easy steps!

Earthware pot is available on Amazon

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I stop counting the remaining days that I had from the start of my travel because this has been my lifestyle more than just a trip. As an expat in Saudi Arabia, going back to work make me lonely not because I need to work hard again but the reason for missing my routine and friends that I left in my second home country.

expat

It was hard to accept that after months on the roads, spending time with my family and friends, being stimulated by new sights, new people and crazy experiences, are going to an end – I hate it!

Call it- boring.

My bed is missing me or is it me missing my comfortable bed? But, I will be missing the costa del sol of Spain or the romantic sand dunes of Merzouga. My fellow travelers do always speak about leaving, and I am much more excited to share it. But what about coming home?

I am guilty about this.

I was a great story teller of my own adventures whenever I get a chance to share it with strangers aside from my blog. I often share how hard it is on the road, joys of learning lessons while I am in an adventure so on and so forth. All the difficulties that I had were deleted because of the comfortable experience I had.

As an expat, leaving Saudi Arabia is just a reminder that this is a vacation, not a long term travel but a privilege that I had with my company after a long two years of hard work. I have a choice of leaving the company if I don’t bother with the bad employment records or going back and continue to be an expat to fund my lifestyle and family.

While change is the only constant, I will be expecting some adjustments within my workplace, the city that I lived in, and some information that I need to know during my absence.

The feeling of leaving again is called travel bug. The feeling of getting more lost from your previous place or hometown than your previous destination.

I don’t want to force a smile, but I hardly say this could be the hardest way to say goodbye.

While on the other side, I know that the contradiction of coming back is making me nuts. Coming back means I will be seeing some of my peers and places I haven’t seen for months. It will be a joy to see same people with extraordinary jokes, out of the town trips, and so on. But on the other side, there will be a little change, a little everything has changed and that is me. Urghh!

But the changed that I have experienced while meeting new people, shared real stories with my friends, and family that impacted me deeper. Understanding more cultures and the reality. It opened my eyes more than just a day dreamer. I perceived change as not scary, but a test on how we cope with inevitable circumstances while on the road.

Travel has taught me from accepting imperfections, respect, and love.

Travel has changed me, and that it was hard to come home.

But I never regret it.

I don’t have any idea where my travel to Morocco from Saudi Arabia can lead me, but what I am sure is I am delighted to cherish my solitude. I have heard about Morocco’s best places to visit and off the beaten path from my fellow travelers across the globe but what makes me curious enough to travel this country is the true meaning of Moroccan’s culture and my extinct has just gotten strong and strong every day and that I said YES.

Morocco

I have friends who disagree everything I have thought about Morocco. But now, I can definitely tell them that they are wrong, totally wrong and I just don’t give a care now.

I walked down from a near perfect architectural designs of the buildings that were built in the city of Rabat, got confused of which tram to ride, an understandable shower conversation that I had with the locals and the experience of being left at the bus station in Ifrane from a 9 degree celsius temperature and those loving care from Moroccans to help me when I just don’t know where to go. Those are priceless yet I am convinced to the reality that this country has a lot more to offer. Sticking to the original plan and I chose Marrakesh to be my home temporarily during my stay, It was a stand point that opened my eyes to love this country more and more.

 

What You need to Know about Marrakesh

Marrakesh is not the capital city of Morocco but it is popular than Rabat. I came from Casablanca airport and the first city that I received recommendations from digital nomads Facebook group is Marrakesh.I want to know why I received a lot of recommendations for other places in Morocco as a traveler.I took nearly 4 hour travel time from Casablanca’s Gare de Oasis train station to finally arrived at Gare de Marrakesh.It is a highly populated city that lies at the heart of the country and connects major cities and towns that are accessible to tourists with the cheap cost of living. I was impressed how business was put to make a lot easier for tourist to get access from ATM, restaurants, hotels, transportation, and even sim card activation.

Souq Medina and Jemaa el Fna are the most common tourist attractions in the city. But are these places worth? Absolutely.To give a little bit of explanation, Souqs are the traditional marketplaces and often divided into various markets from spice sellers, tanners or food stalls. But those dark streets and the haggling shopkeepers can be daunting but always remember to be vigilant and use your common sense.

Speak Moroccan Arabic or French

 

A middle eastern Arabic, huh? I want to clear it out that the most well-used languages in Morocco are Berber, Arabic, and French. Well, here is the catch, for those travelers who speaks Arabic, there will be no issue in speaking but there will be an instance that you don’t understand the response. Middle eastern Arabic is quite different from Moroccan Arabic. Sounds weird right? Alright, if you don’t speak any of them aside from English and your own mother tongue, here is what I can tell you. Young Moroccans or I may say the educated ones can speak English fluently. But expect that when talking to the locals will definitely give you a headache. I am sure you can find a lot of people that can understand you. So asking questions when you are not sure will definitely give you answer.

What about Spanish, huh? Okay, I met some locals who can talk and understand Spanish but rare. Most of them do live in northern parts of the country like Tanger, Tetouan, or Chefchoean. So when it was hard to me to speak French, I literally introduced myself that I speak Spanish. Spanish and French are common because they are based in Latin. You can take a chance to speak, if that works then you will have a good day ahead.

Explore Nearby Places First

 

While excursions and tour agents were aggressive in taking you to different places in Morocco, you can start a DIY tour around the city where you stay. I stayed in Marrakesh, so an excursion around the city was easy for me. Souks, Jemaa el Fna, and mouth watering foods that you can try are some of the things that you can do. Save time and money as well!

To add on, I would recommend visiting Ouarzazate where a lot of films chose this location. It is more than just a location that you fell in love with these movies, but an awareness about Moroccans history and how Berbers lived in those days. It brought me a lot of realization, deep knowledge about how they survived through those times, spending their lives in the deserts while keeping their cultures up to this day.

Next, you will fall in love with Essoiuera, where the famous Argan oil is produced and sold. More than a hundred kilometers travel from Marrakesh, you can choose an excursion for less than 30 EU on a day trip with comfortable tourist bus together with other tourists. However, you need to be careful in paying a fee to these agents because some people may ask you a lot more than the price. Essaouira is another place where Game of Thrones Astapor filmed its location. Along the corridor of the scala is the cannon row where more than a dozen Portuguese canons remain pointed out to the sea.

I am telling you, chances are if you pay a visit to either of these two cities, you will feel that you are also part of these movies.

All About Beach in Agadir

 

While old Kasbahs and souqs are dominants in Morocco, Agadir

will take you to a place where the beach and a slow pacing life can be challenging. For me, Agadir is all about the beach. Morocco’s prime resort and Europeans holidaymakers flock here every year particularly during winter when there is still blue skies and sunshine. Taghazout is getting popular among digital nomads and travelers who loves surfing and work remote at the same time.

You can take a flight and bus to Agadir if you don’t have a car with you. You can take a public bus from Marrakesh as low as 10 EU for one way.

 

 

Morocco

Photo by Abdul Hafiz Ali

Morocco, a country that I am in love with. While writing this article, I am still with this country that made me amazed, appreciated the fact that this is my first time to engaged with local Moroccans, met some of my friends that I have known for years and acquaintances that leads me to understand how perfectly it is to live here.

I know some of you will not agree with me but Morocco is far way from other Arab nations and African regions I have visited. Mythbusting, I will tell you these misconceptions about Morocco, If you’re planning to visit Morocco soon, there are chances that you will search for this country on Google. You may end up reading “warning” you not to visit Morocco or safety concerns, and horrible experience and stories from travelers. I need to tell you this, as a traveler, and to be honest with you, there is no perfect country in general. I am here to set these misconceptions straight, these myths I had before traveling to Morocco or even I became yet a travel blogger. I am giving you the hard facts:

2. Moroccans are Muslim Arabs

The majority of its population identifies as Berber or Arab and yes, the official language languages are Arabic and Amazigh ( Berber). Not only that, French is widely spoken and understood. There are times that I was asking for a direction in Arabic (Saudi) but I can’t understand the response of a guy which is Moroccan Arabic. They can understand me but it was awful for me to understand the type of Arabic they were using.

This is due to the fact that Morocco has a multicultural history. Morocco has been called ” home” by many people, from Indigenous Amazigh (Berbers), and hosted a lot of cultures from the East (Arabs), from North (Romans and Spanish Andalusian) and Sub-Saharan (Africans).

 

 

2. Morroco is a Deserted Country

I am guilty of this when I heard about this country I literally remember the Sahara desert. I was wrong! During my first two days, I’d to booked a 1-day tour from the magnificent Marrakesh to Ouarzazate. I don’t have any idea what was it look like to be a long road trip to Ouarzazate. What I know was I am going to a deserted area. When traveling by a comfortable car with my friends from Bucharest and London, I was amazed by beautiful houses and terrains. I started to see the Atlas mountains, which are dotted with Berber villages.

To add on, Ifrane is one of the best places I visited. This literally the second cleanest city in the world and the first city I visited that amazes me until now.

3. The Cost of Living is Expensive

Believe me, another myth I’ve been thinking of before my journey. I worked and lived in Saudi Arabia and Asia so  I am considering the cost of living of countries that I am visiting. I am a minimalist, so simplicity in form and adding my cost on time is important. When I arrived in Casablanca, I booked a hotel which cost me 90 Euros a night and stayed for a day with full of amenities. I stayed in Marrakesh with reasonable expenses to food and transportation. Although, I was adjusting to foods especially I live in a homestay for a week now. So if you’re staying here for a short term, I would suggest booking your hotel in advance through Booking.com to get reasonable rate before heading to Morocco.

4. Never to Barter in Morocco, it’s a Developing Country

Okay, so you shall pay the asking price? Let’s be honest, we tend to pay what the vendor ask because of generosity that we have sometimes. Unless you are not really good to barter same with me ( LOL). Come on, Moroccans do expect their customers to barter. Based on my experience, I visited most of the souqs or markets in Morocco and here’s what I can say. In any part of the world, vendors are business savvy, so they would know the value of their goods in the United States of America and Europe. So they would ask you for it. Off course, your yours truly has to experience the way how to be a good in barter.

In general, Morocco is a country with rich history. To understand the culture is the most important thing you should do.

 

 

Rabat, the capital city of the amazing Morocco is often overlooked by travelers. For five hours touring the city through its tram from Rabat Seville to Tour Hassan, from narrowed street of tranquil Rabat Medina, and the old fortress and walls around the city to protect the place from Spain in 12th century. But I am not going to discuss much of its history because it does show how the city was formed from its rich culture and stunning infrastructures. My goal is to let the world know about the city’s hidden spots and the things you can do when in Rabat. Rabat is a UNESCO Heritage Site, that means a worth place to visit.

A view from @B&B hotel. #hotels #rabati #instagram

A post shared by Travel with Hafiz (@travelwithhafiz) on

Old walls like those of  Intramuros in Manila can be seen when I walked and got lost from Place du Novembre tram station. I met a friend of mine in Cafe dream to discuss some collaborations when I need to use a Google map (Thanks Google). It was not hard to find hotels and restaurants since you can just walk and choose which one you would like to check in for hostels and refreshments.

While walking to get a hotel check-in, I saw stalls for the barbecue of Sausages and chicken. It is being put in buns to make it as a sandwich-like or shawarma style. It cost 10 Dirhams per order.

Rabat Morocco

I can sense the strong influence of the French during 20th century. Rabat has a unique European layout and I was like in country France, however, a little collection of North African plants. The gardens and buildings built are just some of French most ambitious of this country.

I chose to stay, booked a hotel to experience the magnificent city. I filmed some of the city’s landmarks and it will be uploaded on Youtube soon.

Do you have plans to visit Rabat in Morocco? Feel free to put comments below!

Pakistan is the definition of a diverse nation that every traveler should define not only because of its natural resources but also its friendly inhabitants and rich in culinary traditions. Sad to say, its sectarian violence before has made the country a no-go for travelers including me. But the country has now a lot of improvements and it became my bucket list. However, just in case you’re still on the fence about planning a wonderful trip or satisfy your wanderlust, this 10 photos will make you start packing your bags. Regardless of if you’re a photographer, a travel blogger, tourist, or a plain backpacker, there are a plenty of options.

 

#Royal Mosque, Lahore 

 

 

#Bahria Town, Grand Mosque

 

#Behrain, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

 

 

 

#Amazing interior of Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore

 

 

#Sunset at Nganga Parbat 

 

 

#Derawar Fort, Bahawalpur

 

#A Way of Life

 

#Beautiful Home

#Matilton Village, Swat, 

 

#The Northern Areas

 

What? Is it a new year? Most of us including me has a lot of plans and normally jot down those plans and suddenly stopped..okay, definitely I will. Insha Allah, God willing it will be done.

I am going to share a no brainer tips on how to make things right and fulfill your travel plans this year.

 

goal

1. Start a savings account

This is a first no-brainer way to make your travel goals happen. Come on, you can even open a bank account for 1$ fee or free depending on the country that you live in.You can start small, and add more whenever you can and whatever you do. I always did this whether I am on an annual vacation or setting my long term travel goals.

2. Embrace a list, write a note

Have you tried writing things that you wanted to do on a sticky note in the office or just random things you listed on your journal? It is okay to have visions for this year and having these things that you wanted to do for this year is an amazing idea.

3. Get a travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of my travel resources whenever I get a chance to travel. If you have enough savings for insurance, getting an annual policy is much cheaper than a single trip insurance based on my experience, but if you are not traveling full time, a one-time travel insurance policy will work for you.

 

4. Forget about those naysayers

Whilst I respect those feedbacks and links that were sent to me through my emails and Facebook messenger, I don’t really take it as a hindrance to visit a country. Let me say this, I believe that there is no perfect country and sometimes it is scarier to be back home than you are in a foreign land.

Go with your plans, although you need to do some research. Are you told not to travel to those countries? Damn, go for it.

5. Stop making excuse, my friend

This is the major barrier that holds us back to explore the world. You need to have a mindset that travel is not just money, it is the experience that makes us rich. Forget about a myth that travels are so expensive since 2007. Seriously? Start a new year on the road and see you!

 

 

It was around 3 o clock in the afternoon when the meeting was finally done with an hour positive feedback from our customer. I knew it! We were happy with the results and we can’t just hide our feeling. The regional sales manager approached me and said “ Hafiz, I was so happy with the results and thank you for your support, because of that I’ll give you a treat to a Turkish restaurant”. Don’t get me wrong, but why would I say no?

In my 2 and half years living in Saudi Arabia, I fell in love with original Turkish foods, and the palatable grilled barbecue chicken, and beef. If you are not vegetarian, then a tasty BBQ chicken is waiting for you.

We drove from Palestine street to the circumferential road of Abdulaziz then the narrow and quiet location of the restaurant.

My colleague who is an Egyptian took me to a location who loves Turkish foods too. We reached around 4 pm, called a waiter who smiled and asked for our orders. Damn, I sat and relaxed but I don’t want to pretend that I know every food that they cater. One food that caught my attention was the grilled BBQ.

I don’t speak Turkish, however, you can use Arabic to order a menu. Sorry folks, but Arabic is the business language in Saudi Arabia. You can speak English to some establishments but they preferred Arabic. But that is not the issue, the menu order list is written in both Arabic and English with an image of the food, of course.

We were served a salad while waiting for our main course. The salad is a typical serving with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

After a 15 minute waiting, here are the orders.

Turkish food

One factor why I love this Turkish restaurant is the cleanliness. I mean, you can even see how they cook in an open kitchen, organized utensils, well-accommodating waiters and excellent service. I just found out that Turkish prepares their food with love and passion. A thin sliced bread was on the top of the rice and BBQ, I don’t have any idea at first what to eat first. But my Egyptian friend taught me how to eat easily with these foods.

He told me these three things: Get a bread, get a BBQ meat and dip to mayonnaise. Alright, I don’t want to look like an ignorant customer but I tried it.

turkish2

The price is not expensive though  I did not pay for it.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid content or a sponsored article.

 

 

 

When planning your next travel destination, one question that lingers your mind is: “Where will I book my itinerary? I remember 7 years ago, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing when I took my first trip to Singapore. No credit card or debit card to use for online booking, the last option was to visit a traditional travel agency and I ended up paying a service fee which I am not against, but the ability to choose flexible fares is limited.

After 7 years ago, here I am. Planning my trip to North Africa and Europe from the Middle East. I spent countless hours researching flight itineraries and hotel bookings to Morocco and Spain for my annual vacation. Although I’ve planned a couple of trips for myself and even my families and friends, I came up a simple list to make sure that I don’t miss important information about my travel (Although, I was too lazy to make the list before).

While browsing all travel comparison sites out there, I was hesitant to deal with another company again because of my bad experience with them. To make it short, it was a horrible experience to deal with that travel comparison site. Never again.

Until I found tajawal, an online booking company that caught my attention. The interface was good, easy to navigate and it looked like a friendly site. A first impression that lasted!

Tajawal

As a customer service professional, a real customer service experience is what matters most.

 

Let you discover the most beautiful places in the world

tajawal has a lot of beautiful places for us to discover. Travel should not be limited and that is the reason why I launched this blog, right? The ability to choose what place we want to go, eat and live like a local.

screenshot-2016-11-27-22-08-22

 

Where travel offers are real

Whether you are looking for a hotel and flights, tajawal has the coolest offers on the planet. I booked an affordable flight ticket for my Morocco trip, I can’t still believe that I was able to secure the lowest fare ever. No hidden fees whatsoever!

searchEasy steps for booking

If you are working in the middle east or you don’t have time to book a ticket on a traditional travel agency or browse every website of airline companies, get ready with your debit card or credit card as longs as it has a Visa or MC logo. Come on, most people nowadays has a card. While choosing your travel destination is crucial, your confirm ticket and invoice will be sent to your registered email address during the registration of your details. Make sure to provide the correct email, though, if not, don’t worry their friendly customer care team is ready for your inquiries 24/7 or use the knowledge-based topics you are looking for!

Search

tajawal

Result

choose

Flight details

flight

Travellers information

tajawal book

 

24/7 customer service team

This is a plus! Are you worried about having a limited support when you have questions about your flight booking and inquiry of your travel destination? Questions that needs answers right away before and after you book a flight or hotel? tajawal has a team of great support. You can even create a support ticket, search related articles of your concerns, email contact, and a toll-free number! That is awesome, right? You can never be left behind or empty handed when you need a real customer service support. 

screenshot-2016-11-27-22-11-44

The tajawal APP

If you don’t have a laptop or you carry a smartphone every time and needs you to book a flight or hotel, I suggest downloading their APP on Google Play and App Stores. It covers your flight or hotel needs, secure payment gateway, booking process and sleek user designs. This is a plus again!

screenshot-2016-11-26-00-17-23

 

To sum up, tajawal made my travel plan so easy, and stress-free. From a fast loading website, search flights and hotel filters, secured payment channels and an excellent customer service support are just enough to say that tajawal is the ultimate choice for all travelers all over the world.

******Contest is closed*******

Exciting Giveaway!

Are you planning to go vacation? Or travel to your favorite destination in Dubai? Perhaps a sightseeing tour in pyramids of Giza? Or live like a local in Pakistan? Oh the beautiful beaches in Boracay, Philippines and the Taj Mahal of India? Join the “Giveaway Contest” by following the instructions on Travel with Hafiz Facebook page and Instagram.

 

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I started to receive emails from people across the world, from a new graduate of a university, a jobless young spirited girl, from the buzzing cities of Manila, Delhi, New York, asking how to make a dream come true.

How did I start my travel blog? How did I earn money? How do I support my travel and the things I wanted? How do I start my travel blog business? How do I maintain my blog so engaging to people? How do I earn money from my skills? How did I learn to film and got noticed from reputable media outlets?

To be honest with you, I don’t have concrete answers to these questions. But let me share with you,  my ultimate stuff that pretty works for me and might help you but it may not for some. When I became a travel blogger, I don’t have any idea what I was doing. Since writing is my passion and my mom would always tell me that I am a good storyteller since I was 8 years old. My real definition of success is contentment, and I am happy with what I was doing. I can’t say that I really made it but the feeling of contentment is there. I just need to continue exploring this world, meet new people and share my experience with people who have the same dreams.

When I finished my degree, I thought I know it all and ready for a corporate job. Filling in the unemployment rate was one of my greatest fear. I wanted to excel in my job, work hard and earn cash. And I did. But one thing was missing that made me unhappy as I looked at the mirror in my 12th-floor apartment in Manila, Philippines. I sat on my bed browsing my Facebook’s RSS, liked some stunning photos of my friends who had an ultimate vacation in one of the best places in the Philippines.

 

Grrr. I want to go somewhere. But why it hasn’t it happened yet? Why was I here? We think of something that we are all good and ready for anything in anywhere, right? I admit it took me years to realize this- NO. All of us has room for improvement and our life is made up of lessons as we take our journey to places we haven’t been before. It was easy for me to say this.. think that I will do something but there is a “but” word that barred me from doing it. I had taken some financial, relationships, and emotional risks to make my goal happened. While living abroad as an expat, there has been a lot of changes and adjustments. The way I think of life and the purpose why we are here. The barriers that usually makes our life so difficult. The society that shapes our beliefs, and dreams. Life is not always an equation like what our teachers had taught us. As we go by to the journey of our dreams, we are building a sense of learning.

You are unique and can’t be the same. If someone will tell you that you are not worth it, ask yourself repeatedly and take a chance to whisper the moment while all the negative vibes are throwing against you. “ I have something of worth”.

 

 

Don’t daydream, live a dream. My life as a travel blogger is not that easy. I don’t need to be famous because of things and be forgotten right away. I am a minimalist, but I am not telling you to be me. All questions that were stuck in your head, the “what ifs” and “how” are one of them, they are not just the WH questions, they are simple words that need answers. I started to set aside the things that I need and not. If you want to improve your hobby, all you need to do is learn how to progress them every day or once in a week. One of the challenges that I had before was my time management. Since I work full time, I don’t want to leave my blog dead. I made a calendar post, wrote my bi-monthly post ideas in a journal, engaged in social media every day at least 2 hours per day including replying to emails. You need to be flexible in everything because not all can be a plan.

If things don’t work, don’t be afraid of going back again and make things right. Mistakes are just detours of our life, you still have the chance to do it right. We are all living with purpose, and reasons why not all things are meant for us. Living a dream is different from a daydream. You need to do something for a dream that you wanted to live. I have a lot of rejections and regrets in my life before, I felt alone and tired of my life until a simple 200 words started to type in that became an instrument to start my journey as a travel blogger.

Don’t be upset to people that laughed at you, because you are different to them. You are unique and can’t be the same.

 

Do you have a dream to share? I would like to hear it from you below!

Yeah! living in Saudi Arabia is magnificent and vibrant. “But mom, I need to see you and sister.” It has been two years and 5 months since I am away from my family.

I mean, I am single and happy, But the feeling when I’ve got all these years with  full of aspirations that someday I can prove to my cousins and friends that I did a good decision as the only boy of my parents. A lot of things has changed, from day one to 730 days where I cope with different cultures, people, and work ethics. It is not always easy to work from 8 to 6 in the evening, yes I have a fast pacing life here, where only Friday is the rest day, tried to steal a single rest day just to travel around the kingdom no matter what.

While working in Saudi Arabia somewhat reasonable and who am I to complain? I can say that my salary in Saudi Arabia is greater than those paid in western countries. No kidding!

Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia

Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia

Then what…

 

Then I need to travel. It took me some time to tell my plan to my boss that I wanted to have a break after all. I mean leaving this country temporarily for just 60 days. I don’t know if this is enough to travel North Africa, central Asia, and Eastern Europe, but what I am sure is that I love to travel. A friend of mine once sent me a quick message on Facebook. “Hi Friend, when are you going to treat us? When are you going back to Spain? Let us go to the Philippines!” wait a minute. I need to take a deep breath.

Boss, I need to take my annual vacation. Can I? since I will not be going to the Philippines right away, my employer has allowed me to purchase my own ticket at a lower price. Imagine, I booked a flight to Morocco  for 628.00 Saudi Riyals plus taxes that 90% cheaper if I will come all the way from the Philippines. A four-hour flight to Casablanca with a layover of four hours in Egypt. My employer will provide a cash whatever the price of the ticket going back to Manila (Philippines) and vice versa. I just saved some couple of bucks.

Hey! it was one of my perks to go for an annual vacation. I am not ready to quit my job and I still need it. I still have needs. Patience.

I feel very lucky for being able to keep my corporate job, have a lot of savings and maintaining my travel blog too. I am traveling to Africa, Europe, and central Asia, not as a tourist. I don’t want to be a tourist. I wanted to live together with the locals, eat, play, and share experiences.

But boss.

Thank you for the trust and understanding. Sorry for those not so perfect data that I had submitted, those days where I can’t meet your expectations. I just want to travel now. I am not quitting, I am happy with my current job right now. My first 6 months here is like a quitting stage, and I did say the word ” quit!” but now, a different me will say, ” I am not quitting, who says?”

Invest in me. I will go back soon.

While taking my annual vacation can be more exciting than staying in a cubicle for another 2 years- another contract that will be renewed, the same routine that I need to do, meet new people and new faces outside of my company- these are all possibilities once I come back in Saudi Arabia.

I am not quitting my job, I will be seeing you soon.

 

 

Did you experience the same thing? Were you employed and want to travel as well? Share your thoughts!

 

Celebrate A Year of Travel Blogging

Time to celebrate and thanks, everyone.

 

You read it right! It is my birthday as a travel blogger. It’s too late than never and there is no any reason to be sad since I survived my first year. Only a small percentage of blogs survive their first year- and I am proud that I’m one of them. I still remember my first day of hitting the “Publish” button for the first time using a free hosting service of WordPress. Although, the only purpose why I created Travel with Hafiz is to keep in touch with my family and friends.

I was surprised with the reactions of the people who was able to read my blog about my travel experiences and well-crafted stories as an expat in the most conservative country in the world. I was staring at my company’s journal for 10 minutes and started to write about the things that I want to do. Since I love to travel and writing, I came up with an idea, a great idea that could help travelers and those who wish to be a travel blogger someday.

I took my leather wallet that my mom gave to me and grabbed the credit card and registered a domain. Whilst the payment is processing I felt an excitement and I know this is the start of everything.

Ooops! if you just started a travel blog or want to know my blogging story, don’t stop reading 😉

I admit, I took a risk and there is no turning back. This is a responsibility and I still have a side job to focus on! silly.

 

Loving my own skills. I love writing and photography, and coffee. Just kidding! This is what I call “Love your own” attitude. God, the creator has given us talents to showcase and be an inspiration to others. One of the secrets of personal branding is “Be an expert on what you are doing“. That being said, if writing is my talent then I should work hard to become an expert .

 

I don’t stop learning from the experts. This is one of the most realistic statements that others tend to forget. Yes! I am an expert in my own skills but it doesn’t mean I can’t be mentored or coach. When I set up my own travel blog, I looked at  my website and compared   to some of the most expensive themes out there. The result is ” I was not contented”. So, I watched some travel blogging tips and joined a conversation on Youtube, read some inspiring travel blogs, browse stunning photos, and joined podcasts.

 

14724022_1096359423794659_1445659881_o
My first month of blogging in a small room in Saudi Arabia

 

I set aside Google Analytics and stopped starring on them. I did focus on the skills and experiences that I can collect. Jot down some important notes from Youtubers, upcoming travel bloggers, and social media influencers.

 

Some of the greatest content creators and travel bloggers

 

Mike Corey of Kick The Grind 

“A breakdancing marine biologist turned travel Youtuber”

 

Just finished hanging with local folk in Spreewald. A little slice of beauty in East Germany. Now back to film Berlin!

A post shared by MIKE COREY | KICK THE GRIND (@kickthegrind) on

 

 

Nadine Sykora of “Hey Nadine

“The travel vlogger, videographer, blogger and comedy youtuber”

 

Oh hi Montreal 😊🇨🇦

A post shared by Nadine Sykora (@heynadine) on

 

 

Kate Thomas of Travel with Kate

” I find out what the locals know” -Kate

 

 

 

Kristen Sarah of Hopscotch The Globe

“Risk and adventure seeker, travel junkie and funny”

 

 

 

Aileen Adalid of IamAileen

” She quit her corporate job to travel the world”

 

Hello from Bandung, Indonesia! ✨💕 #AileenInIndonesia Shot by @camiejuan

A post shared by Aileen Adalid (@i_am_aileen) on

 

 

Trisha Velarmino of Psimonmyway

“A full-time traveler who shares her unique experiences”

 

 

..hold on, they are famous and “I am getting there”.

I will write content that is easy to read. Perhaps, this is the simplest way to capture the heart of the people through my travel experiences. When I published an article “How To Quit Your Job To Travel The World” I knew that I nailed. I did not realize that until this article went viral and people started to pay attention and understand the article.

 

Early this year, I became a contributor to  Huffington Post US Edition

 

Huffington Post Contributor

 

And a guest post to Ezebee online magazine based in Switzerland.

screenshot-2016-10-16-23-35-24

 

From a new fan who happens to be my former boss..

A new fan

 
MOVING FORWARD, LET’S CREATE THE FUTURE

 

Alright! today is the start of my second year of blogging. I am travel blogger that will inspire you to travel the world. And borders doesn’t mean boundaries.

I am positive to learn different thing along the road, people that I will be meeting in different places, food that I will be eating and some inspirational stories of people who are changing the world.

A Note To My Self:

  • Redesign my blog for easy and more responsive to mobile. I need to innovate too!
  • Some exciting interviews from different media outlets. stay tuned!
  • A Guest post and meet up with Moroccan media outlet. Cool!
  • Speaking engagements. I love to speak!
  • A New Youtube Channel. Embracing great vlogging about my travel

 

With all of these words, these are nothing without you, friends! Someday, when we will meet on the road don’t be shy to say hello 😉

Happy Blogaversary! Travel with me, travel with Hafiz.

I will always stay positive to influence the people that travel has no boundaries no matter what.

 

 

Pre-Travel Anxiety

While writing this article, I am widely awake at 2 am having thoughts of my upcoming travel to Europe and Central Asia. Did I pack my things? Inform my credit card company? Travel gadgets? Insurance? So many and I was lost!

I end up in biting my nails or sleeping on my bed.

Welcome to the world of anxiety!

I hate to experience that again. Whether you are traveling first time with your family and friends or even a solo, a pre-trip anxiety will lead us to uncomfortable feeling that makes us doubt even the pros. Believe me, it was so embarrassing to know that doubts are creeping in while you already have your flight ticket and hotel accommodation ready. Thinking of some threats or dangers on the road and people that you will meet. These are just some of the things that usually hold us to travel and you just realized that you just unsure why you booked a ticket- a round trip ticket to Pakistan. Boom!

What a wonderful world. #georgia #mestia #svaneti #travelwithhafiz #photo #insta

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If you will let your doubts control you, then you will become a person of doubts.

However, if you know how to defense this anxiety, you can definitely manage it without the help of others.

 

1. Set a good plan for your emergency contacts, health care, emails

I admit, I hate to deal with this. Setting up a plan before your travel can help you minimize the stress that you will get. When I started to travel solo, I don’t even plan my travel as long as I have a ticket and accommodation booked, then I thought I am good to go. Medical emergencies, while you are on travel is crucial.

If you are traveling to a country where you are not sure of the safety, I would advise that you need to inform the nearest embassy or consulate through email. So whatever happen, they will know.

 

2. Don’t over plan your travel

Not all travel plan needs to be written on a paper. You may not know the situation once you reach your destination. Every detailed trip will cause you more nervous.

So, go with the flow. Having a strict list of the plan will lead you to over thinking. The knowledge that you have about the place through research will help you more. Come on, you need excitement, not uncomfortably.

In life, the only constant is change. #travel #followforfollow #travelwithhafiz #blog #photographer

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3. Embrace your limitations

While we are still human and anxiety is uncontrollable but can cope with, knowing your limits and accepting it will decrease worries. Even you accept of having a lack of limits, plan ahead of time and done with your research about a destination can still give you anxiety.

 

4. Don’t rush

Travel is not a competition to rush. I mean it is not an amazing race show that you need to rush everything without learning the things you can do in your destination. Just feel free more anxiety free and be positive. I like to feel myself in a place where I can call home instead. I learn a lot when I was in Barcelona where I walked the narrow street full of restaurants trying to look for something but I was not. On that experience, I familiarized the street the next time around.

 

5. Take care of yourself

Having a routine exercise will help you to have a good mental health. Have enough sleep, keeping a balanced diet, and staying hydrated at times are important factors.

I used to hate carrying a bottle of water but I realized it is a must thing to do.

The shipwrecked. #travelbloggers #instagram #instago #instarepost #ships #photography #nomadapp_co

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6. Create a playlist of music that will make you happy and relax

The only purpose why you need a music to your travel is to make your mind relax and diverted through a playlist of music.

You need to distract your mind from anxiety and music can at least help you to divert that feeling. I always had the best music downloads to my mobile phone whenever I travel.

There is no specific songs or music you need however having the music that you like will make everything right. Imagine you are in a plane al the way to your dream destination and suddenly you feel alone. I hate that moment!

Whoa! in 365 days only once or twice a year Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is experiencing rain. Yallah habibi! #jeddah #ksa #rain

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7. Remember there is a reason for everything

If you wonder why it happens to you, you are not alone. Accept the fact that it is normal to have this feeling but the question is how to cope with it. Forcing yourself to be out of anxiety right away will cause you more stress. Just think about your destination, and if ever you will cancel it, someday you will still dream that destination. That is awful yeah!

I am writing this article at 2 am but this may be the best thing I have done so far. Why? Because I was trying to hide it when anxiety comes in. I don’t want to talk about it to my friends and family. I was afraid of being tagged as not a good traveler enough and etc.

I know, people would understand me because they experience this too. As a travel blogger, anxiety is a serious issue that every traveler needs to cope with it.

 

What are your pre-travel tips? Feel free to comment below.