My niece is three years old, utterly adorable, smart and intelligent for her age. She speaks two languages thanks to our bilingual family and most interesting she knows what she wants to become when she grows up! A butterfly! Yes, you read it right, I thought my smart niece decided she wanted to be a dancer or maybe a math scientist or some other profession but she wants to become a butterfly. The reason? She wants to be able to fly and come to visit me in the UK. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because I miss her so much. But her cuteness got me thinking.
For many years I wanted to do something that I am not only good at but also passionate about. I literally spent days and months with my mentor and coach to try and find my passion. I started businesses at University and tried many different fields. But I wanted that one passion that will actually help me work and play and make it feel like a hobby. Istarted work since I was 14 and when I graduated I joined the rat race of the corporate ladder. However I knew something was missing. I started working in marketing and I enjoyed it but It wasn’t for me. I liked my job, I loved meeting people but I spent most of my time looking at holidays and arguing with my boss over how many days I can take off. Don’t ask, we didn’t have a clear HR policy and if it was up to him I wouldn’t leave the office because of the amount of work we had.
One day when I was talking to my mum over all my dreams and jobs she said, you remember you always wanted to have your travel agency. That made me think really hard of all the times and the dreams that are actually related to each other. There is an awesome coaching exercise for this if you want it let me know. I grew up in a hotel, literally as my parents managed one and as the youngest I was with them most of the time. I remember I always wanted to sleep in the hotel rooms even though my home was five minutes away.
As a teenager we owned a hotel in Corfu where I spent my time among tourists, working in a tourist shop and dreaming of opening my own travel agency. After that I wanted to be a flight attendant so I can travel the world. That dream died quite fast as I do get dizzy during take-off and landing. Not a good skill for a flight attendant! And finally I was always the go to person for holidays deals. I would spend hours and hours dreaming about flying somewhere. Unfortunately my student budget wasn’t up to scratch. And once I graduated I had the money but not the time for travel, the irony!
This is when during some turmoil in my life I decided to start this blog to inspire Muslims and hopefully non Muslims that it is possible to travel without having to rob a bank. I spent thousands of hours reading the longest Flyertalk forums, and travelling for a lot less than I paid on flights back to Greece. What is upsetting is that many Muslims still have the mentality of going back home, even though our generation is shaking things up. I didn’t grow up in a travel family either, so I know how most of the young generation feels. But slowly there is more of awareness and opportunity and I love helping people discover the beauty of travel.
That whole experience makes me think, is there actually a direct correlation of childhood and what we are meant to be when we grow up? Is it that we know instinctively what would make us happy but later in life due to so many other factors we just lock it in that small compartment of “dreams”.
It is my one year anniversary of the start of MuslimTravelGirl and what started as a blog for my friends expanded to a blog for all those who love reading my posts and started travelling themselves. For some reason it feels utterly rewarding. I have so many ideas about the blog and what I want to do and maybe I will even start my travel agency. 🙂 That will teach my mum for calling me a dreamer. But what I know is that for 28 years I knew what I wanted to be, I just went the long way about it to find out.
I just really hope my niece doesn’t believe she can be a butterfly at 30, that would be scary!