Monthly Archives: March 2014

The challenges of being a Muslim traveller

Over the past 18 years of my life I have been brought up with certain values that you would find the norm in a Muslim family. However, travelling has opened me up to a number of situations where my faith and the values I have been brought up with have been challenged, and have led me to question certain aspects of religion.

I feel that engaging in these activities ultimately lead to the strengthening of my own faith. I have decided to share with you the three most challenging situations that I have found myself in….

1. Halal Meat

Being a Muslim means that I am only allowed to eat meat that has been prepared and slaughtered in a certain way. Over the past two months, I have found the availability of Halal meat very scarce in the countries I have visited, and as such, I have only eaten meat once in the past month.

To be honest I have often found myself wondering

“Does it really matter if I eat this piece of meat?”

This question to myself really came about when I had the opportunity to eat the “Worlds Nicest Steak” in Argentina. However I am proud to say I have not yet succumbed to eating Non Halal food. I think for this, I have to be thankful to my parents for bringing me up in the way they have.

2. Alcohol

Ever since a young age, I have been physically repulsed by the thought of alcohol. The things it can do to your body is something that horrifies me, and as such I know I will never touch alcohol.

However the challenging thing about travelling is being surrounded with friends and house mates that drink regularly and being on tours and groups where the free drink that is always served is alcohol, whether its a caprinha or a pisco sour. I find myself turning down these free drinks and ultimately having nothing to drink.

3. Religious Debates

These have happened a fair few times whilst travelling South America. And to be honest it’s intriguing to know someone else’s view point on religion. However it can also be quite scary when you don’t have an answer to their questions and comments. A few comments I have had to deal with are as follows :

A. Over the period of time the concept of religion has killed more people than any other cause. How can the concept of religion be good ?

B. Living in this world each of us has a moral duty, isn’t this moral duty a better alternative to religion?

C. Why are you following a religion where you don’t know God’s reasoning to allowing and disallowing certain things? Surely you are following your religion blindly?

On hindsight I am glad I have had the opportunity to answer these questions and debate with these people, as ultimately it has led to my own faith becoming stronger

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Five lessons that travelling has taught me

I have been travelling for over fifty days now, and these past fifty days have given me life experiences that no one could ever teach me.

So today I’ve decided to share with you the top five lessons that travelling has taught me as an Individual.

1.Sharing is Caring

Travelling is all about sharing with your fellow friends and travellers. Not only does it portray you to be a caring and friendly person but I have found it to be the first step to new friendships. I have now learnt that the best way to break the ice when meeting new people is to share food. It will guarantee you lots of new friends.

2.Planning

There’s a saying in the Holy Bible that says “A Person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps”. Never has this quote been more applicable then travelling. There have been countless times where I have planned my journey but I have met a random individual and then suddenly all my plans change. At the end of the day, the best thing to do is to embrace it, and just go with the flow.

3.Know your boundaries

This is an important lesson for everyone but applies especially to travellers. As a Muslim, especially when I am travelling, I have to be aware of myself in my surroundings. And hence knowing my limits of what I can do and what I can’t is very important. However this doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself and have a good time. For me, I have established certain boundaries that I ensure I never cross.

4.Smileeeee

Even when things are going wrong and travelling seems like a bad idea, its very important to smile, and to think “in 6 months’ time this will be a funny story I will be telling people”. Yes things will always go wrong, but it’s the way we deal with these mishaps that determine our travelling experience. There’s no point in being depressed for days on end because you got ripped off. Life moves on and you just have to smile and learn from these mishaps.

5.Make the most of it

The most important lesson I have learnt is to make the most out of travelling. Yes there will be days when you will feel very lethargic and just feel like staying in bed the whole day. However when this happens, I take a moment to realise how lucky I am to be able to travel and see the world.

The Highlights of Argentina

One of the most important things about travelling is embracing new cultures and more importantly experiencing and being a part of that culture. For me Argentina has not disappointed. The Argentinian culture has an infectious spirit, and just makes you smile. Whether its eating Tapas near a market in Mendoza or seeing a Tango dance in downtown Buenos Aires, I really experienced a culture that I will never witness again.

I have therefore attached 5 pictures that sum up Argentina for me. Enjoy 🙂

1. The Colours of Caminito

 

 

 

 

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For those of you who don’t know, Caminito is a small street museum located in the La Boca neighborhood of  Buenos Aires. For me this was a major highlight as the brightly coloured pastel houses, symbolised a happy and joyous culture. What was amazing was how I was just swallowed up by the amazing atmosphere.

2. The Tango Dance

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I have never really been a fan of dancing, but as I was in Argentina I felt that I had to watch a bit of Tango. And it was amazing to see how the dancers dance with utmost precision and skill. Tango is a very important part of Argentinian culture and something that Argentinians  are proud to have invented.

3. The beautiful scenery

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Sometimes when you live in a certain place, you take that place for granted. What amazed me about Argentina was that none of the locals I spoke to, took their beautiful country for granted. One guy I spoke to said he is thankful God every day for giving him the opportunity in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  It really has taught me a lesson in appreciating the small things in life.

4. The chocolates of Bariloche

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Bariloche in Argentina is famous for its first class chocolate. My Favourite brand of that area has got be Del Turista. The smooth, silky chocolate was enough for me to forget all about my worries. (Even when I had been conned out of fifty quid) LOL. It’s a must visit for all chocolate loves out there.

5. This beautiful covered walkway

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 Now I’m not sure why, but when I saw this covered walkway in Mendoza I just fell in love with it. I have no idea why, but it was just one of those things. This will be the picture that I will remember Argentina by.

And their you have it. The Five pictures that highlight Argentina for me. Argentina has been an amazing place and a country that I could spend many months exploring. However  my time here has come to an end, Tomorrow I will be heading to Santiago in Chile, but one day I will be back here.

Procrastination in South America

Ever since I started writing a blog my parents have always been questioning me – “When’s the next blog coming Ammaar”. LOL.

So after a few days of pestering I thought that I would sit down at a computer and write another blog. After 20 minutes sat at a computer, I realised I just wasn’t feeling it. My writing wasnt flowing and everything seemed utter rubbish.

So Instead of writing about my travels, this blog is going to be about 5 things that distracted me whilst I was meant to be writing a blog.

1. Happpy Pie Daaay 🙂

For all those out there who don’t know. Today the 14th of March is international Pi day. 3.14 – I’m going to celebrate by eating a nice piece of chocolate. Yes I wasn’t able to find any cheap pies 😦

2. My Bank Palava

So since Ive arrived in Argentina, I have constantly been checking ATM’S to see how much they charged for withdrawing money. Turns out some ATM’S here charge for even just putting your card in. So after a very expensive lesson it turns out I’m over 50 quid poorer. Oh well you live and learn.

3. Pictures of Bariloche

So yesterday I went on this pretty awesome bike ride through through the mountains of Bariloche. And some of the scenery was pretty stunning. Today I uploaded some of the pictures. And wow. Even I didn’t know my small little camera had it in him to take such amazing shots. My thanks to Aunty Renuka for giving me the camera. If you want to view some of the photos click on the pictures tab.

4. Facebooook

Its a common fact that Facebook half’s all productivity. Today was no different. As I couldn’t find any inspiration to write, my mind hovered above the social media website, and I slowly became distracted by the social lives of my Facebook friends. Oh well not the end of the world.

5. This Trip

Ive started to realise how much this trip has started to define myself as a person. These past six weeks have changed me as an individual. Meeting new people, seeing new places, and being by myself in this big continent has started to give me a new outlook on life. And as time passes on, I really do hope to grow more as an individual.

10 Photos of the Amazing Iguazu Falls

It is reported that upon seeing Iguazu, the United States’ First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed “Poor Niagara! Read the rest of this entry