السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
I’m Nadia and, before anything else, a massive THANK YOU for visiting the blog!
I am based in the United Arab Emirates, a country that is home to people from all over the world, a haven for food lovers (halal food everywhere!), tall skyscrapers, and a short flight away from a lot of amazing destinations. A country where winters are like springs and summers are like … well, why don’t you come over and experience it yourself?
← That’s me feeding a chipmunk in the gardens of Taj Mahal.
While strolling the gardens and admiring the grand and elaborate Mughal-style architecture of the Taj Mahal, a couple of chipmunks came out of the woods and stood at my feet. Just when I crouched to observe them closely, one of the gardeners appeared and offered me a piece of bread to feed the chipmunks. I hesitated.
“Go on,” he encouraged me. I accepted the bread. The chipmunk feasted on it greedily, much to my amusement. Masood took a picture of this encounter. Afterward, when I stood up to thank the gardener for the bread, he told me, “Only 10 rupees for the bread, madam.”
Little did I know back then that this ten-rupee picture would end up being my main display picture online, both on this blog and all my social media accounts. While I no longer fit in that dress, I still very much use the bangles and watch.
However, the travel bug had bitten me at quite a young age. I had my first passport at two-months old. I grew up traveling between two countries to be with both set of grandparents. When I was about eight or nine years old, we moved six houses because my father was trying to establish his business. My siblings and I thought of these moves as adventures. My father had traveled extensively since he was a teenager so when, at bedtime, he would tell us all about his adventures, I would listen with great interest, picturing myself in those stories and dreaming about them when I fell asleep.
When I was ten, my father took me and my younger sister hiking. It was a mountain in Mindanao with no proper hiking trail. I remember walking for the longest time on uneven ground, wet from recent rains, tall trees all around us, and an angry river coursing on our right. My feet ached and I had a little swooning episode from thirst that day. But I still loved the trip!
I started blogging at The Purple Journal then moved to my own domain here in February 2011. The idea of blogging began when I returned from my very first trip to India. I came home with tons of stories, memories, and photographs that I knew I had to document somewhere.
It all began as personal blog where I’d write about anything: family, conversations, disasters in the kitchen, my neighbors. I was still quite new in Dubai so the posts reflected observations from an excited young woman who was starting a new phase in life. A woman who took cringe-worthy photographs and still thought it was decent enough to be posted online!
Gradually, as the number of my readers grew, so did I as a blogger. My blog has finally found its niche: halal travel, with lots of honest hotel and restaurant reviews. This blog hopes to help you maximize your paid time off and inspire you to travel and explore!
While the blog is being read by awesome folks of all ages and background, majority are couples and families who travel with some amount of comfort and luxury.
I wish I had an exciting story to tell you about how we quit our jobs, sold all our possessions and have been happily gallivanting across the globe since. The truth is, both Masood and I work full time in the Healthcare-IT industry. We get limited PTOs, but since we work in the same company that allows some degree of working remotely, we are able to travel several times a year. Wait … this isn’t as glamorous as it sounds! This means that even when we travel abroad, we always bring our laptops with us and have to consider the regular office hours regardless of which timezone we’re currently in!
You’ll find three banners on the homepage of the blog to help you find your way. Posts have mainly been sorted by:
Hajj & Umrah, and
You can also click on the Category dropdown located on the homepage’s sidebar.
While most of the restaurants and hotels that I review have been booked and fully paid by us, I have accepted a few complimentary stays as well, and only because I love the establishment and the services they offer! I always make note on the post if a stay or meal is complimentary. However, rest assured that all opinion remain my own and what you get is an honest review.
I remember reading a popular blogger mention that travel blogs should never dedicate entire posts to hotel reviews. Well, I don’t quite agree with said blogger. I may have less readers in comparison but I have learned that the hotel and restaurant reviews on this blog garner a lot of views, and I regularly get emails and messages on Facebook about them!
When I’m not blogging, I enjoy dreaming about my next destination, reading and trying out new recipes.
Still have a question or two, a proposal to review your product or business, advertising, or perhaps to simply drop a line to say hi?
You can either leave a message on the contact page or drop me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a nice day!