Salaam wonderful people!
August is a very special month to me. Why? Because it’s the month I was born in lol! It’s always such a nostalgic time for me, at least it has been the last few years, because I get overwhelmed with gratitude and joy – but that’s a topic for another post.
Today we are celebrating Kareemah, also known as Hijabi Globetrotter, who is the August Muslimah of the Month! *inserts round of applause*
She is an extremely seasoned traveler and has such pleasant vibe about her! Let’s get right to it….so get comfortable and let’s chat!
UK: Salaam Kareemah! So, briefly tell us about yourself?
HG: Well I am Nigerian-American and I grew up in Ohio.
UK: Wow, I did not know that! Now my next question is probably one many people are wondering and that is how long have you been traveling?
HG: I have been traveling since I was 6 years old.
UK: So from a very young age you were exposed to many different cultures. Exactly how many countries have you visited to date?
HG: I have been to 13 countries
UK: 13?! That is incredible. So with so many travel adventures what inspired you to start blogging and create Hijabi Globetrotter?
HG: I saw a void for Muslim Travelers. There were so many articles and blogs written for all sorts of travelling and it was hard to fully relate to a lot of them. I would often say to myself when reading other online travel content “What about options for non-alcohol drinkers or non-pork eaters? Where can I pray? How can I meet other Muslim travelers?” Since I couldn’t find good enough answers to my burning questions, I decided to create Hijabiglobetrotter.
UK: I think that is amazing! Often times when we can’t find the answers we seek we actually discover an untouched niche. On your site you have an article titled ‘Nationalism would be the death of Muslims,’ tell our audience a bit about that piece you wrote and what inspired it.
HG: Ah, this is a piece I had been meaning to write for quite a while. It was and still is a big problem in our Muslim communities today. I felt like the best way to let my frustration out was to write about it. Honestly this is one of my remedies for stress. I would speak for the communities in America as I am more familiar with this environment. I love that Islam is diverse and encourages diversity but we the Muslims are so deeply divided that it is very easy for outside communities, and even media, to attack us. Muslims can go to well-meaning conventions like ISNA, RIS, ICNA, etc but not even connect with their fellow brothers and sisters. Everyone sticks to who they know or who looks like them or who came from the same village as their ancestors. This is also spread to our mosques, neighborhood and Islamic activities. I hope I will be alive to see Muslims more unified and for us to love what we want for our brother as ourselves.
UK: Beautifully said! I totally agree! I think people stick to what feels comfortable to them. But comfort equates to stagnancy in my humble opinion. What are some steps towards change that any sister can implement in their community?
HG: Try to be your best self. Help others to the best of your ability. This kind of goes for all genders, but if you see someone in your community eating alone or just doing things by themselves especially during an event. Reach out to them. Invite them to your table. Talk to them. You never know, these actions make the difference of someone resenting Islam or loving it. Don’t allow anyone to put you down when you are trying to make positive change. And don’t be too hard on yourself. We are human, we err.
UK: That is exactly part of the reason I started my blogging journey. To enhance sisterhood in Islam and shed light on ways we can foster better bonds. Now I’ve been following your journey on Instagram and I know that you were living in Spain right?
UK: How long were you there?
HG: I lived there for 2 years.
UK: That is one of my bucket list places to visit one day in shaa Allah. What wound you say was one of your most memorable experiences there?
HG: Making lifetime friendships while enjoying Churros and Chocolate and watching the sunset from Madrid’s best terrace: Circulo Bellas Artes.
UK: So, as a traveling hijabi that has seen so many foreign destinations, where do you wish to travel in the future?
HG: Hopefully the Americas, especially South America
UK: As a Muslim how difficult, or not, is it to practice Islam while traveling?
HG: Well it really depends on what country you travel to. Generally I haven’t had many issues while traveling. If I travel with a group and it’s time for prayer for example, I let the organizers and co-travelers know and I would pray in a clean and quiet place. It hasn’t been an issue.
UK: I think, at least for myself, I overcomplicate things that are simple. We often think our beliefs and practices will cause an inconvenience when in actuality it really doesn’t. So, what are a few helpful tidbits you have for those new to traveling internationally?
HG: Make sure you do some intensive research about the place you are visiting. This includes, but is not limited to: Safety, History, Health, Muslim community, Economy etc. At the same time don’t over plan. Spontaneity leaves room for pleasant surprises most of the time. So research and have an idea of what you want to do, but also allow room for flexibility. And reach out to people/groups in whatever country you plan on visiting that you can relate to. You can do this via social media. It is really weird to say that most of the good friends I made while traveling are from social media. It always gets awkward when someone asks “Where do you guys meet?” and I say “Online!”
UK: Now you know how I like to wrap things up….Tell us an interesting, little known fact about you?
HG: I did Martial Arts for a bit when I was in high school
Check her out right at hijabiglobetrotter.com!