Traveling the World in a Hijab: What it’s Really Like
I have always been intrigued by the stories of others, including those who travel in a way that inspires others to do so. Like, this Nigerian girl who travels despite the visa challenges, this mother who carries her baby along with her while traveling or this brave young man who travels the world in a wheelchair, there’s so much inspiration out there.
You may be thinking, “how is travel such a big deal or an act to conquer?”. Well, travel shows bravery, strength and ultimately freedom. It transcends beyond just a movement from one place to another.
When I came across Kareemah of hijabiglobetrotter.com, I knew I had to speak with her. She is very passionate about representing the underrepresented and motivating people to travel, including visible Muslims.
For me, this was not the most comfortable topic to dive into. Topics like religion are quite sensitive but the reality is, this is 2017 and I hate to admit that Islamophobia is a real thing and it may hinder some people from venturing out of their comfort zone for fear of the unknown. And so, I had to do it, I had to reach out to Kareemah to share her views and I am glad she obliged. Some things have got to be spoken about to create further awareness and to help people know that they are not alone.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
So, here we have it. Kareemah sharing graciously, her insights and what it is like traveling the world being visibly muslim, in her case, wearing the hijab. I hope you enjoy and are inspired by it, just like I am.
Tell us about yourself.
Hello, my name is Kareemah. I’m a Nigerian American living in Louisiana.
What countries have you visited and which has been your favorite so far, and why?
In the last 2 years I’ve visited Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Austria, and Turkey. My favorite country was Morocco mostly because it was exciting to be in Africa and because I felt a deep connection to the country as a Muslim.
Can you tell us some of the weirdest assumptions or questions that you have been asked about the hijab, especially while traveling?
Someone once asked me if I slept with my hijab on.
What are some of the things people may not know about traveling wearing a hijab?
You might get frequent checks by the TSA. The hijab is a great icebreaker for people who have limited knowledge about Islam. I’ve made friends with people who had never seen a Muslim outside of the news. I was glad they could ask a real person who has grown up with the religion.
TSA: Transportation Security Administration (i.e this is a US agency in charge of screening of those who travel to and from the United States.)
Does your hijab affect your choice of travel or going to certain places? How open are you when you travel?
The hijab is an Islamic symbol, so when I travel I research on how open people are to Muslims in whatever country I plan on visiting. But then again Islam is not the most popular religion in many countries these days. I try to stay cautious and vigilant during my travels abroad and at home.
What are some things that will make your travels easier, as a woman wearing a hijab?
Muslims often face the challenge of getting extra check ups and even deep interrogations at the airport whenever they have an apparent association to the religion. I look forward to the day where assumptions wouldn’t be made based on appearance or beliefs.
What you are trying to achieve with your platform?
The goal for hijabiglobetrotter is to shine the light on under-represented stories and people. It is also to encourage Muslims out there to follow their dreams.
Any advice to Muslims who want to travel?
My advice to Muslims whose dream is to travel is to just do it. Don’t let fear from the media, society or family stop you. Before you pursue your dream, do some extensive research, consult people who have taken similar path, surround yourself with likeminded people, and then create a financial plan. I would be releasing a step by step guide to achieving your travel goal. Make sure to sign up with Hijabiglobetrotter to receive it!
A big thank you to Kareemah for sharing her story. You can follow her on Instagram to see her travel updates and/or check out her blog to read about her travel experiences. Want to read more guest inspiration series? Visit the column here. And do not forget to subscribe to the blog to get the inside scoop on the latest happenings on this blog.
Know any exceptional travel person who will be a great fit for this column? Get at me, please and I will be more than happy to get them featured here.
Thank you for reading and I will catch you next Friday, per usual.
P.S: Sending all my love to those affected by the natural disasters this week. Praying for you.
Great write up Jessica, @Kareemah keep being an example. The Nigerian passport has gained much recognition due to your efforts. Keep it up guys
Loved reading about her travel experiences. Now a fan and following her on IG.
Ohhh she’s Nigerian-ish! Enjoyed this piece Ufuoma, and well done to her for creating such a platform to break barriers! it’s so necessary.
Yes she’s Nigerian and I only just found out after the interview. I love her platform too. It’s amazing.
This was really an inspirational read. More grease to her and to you too…xxx
4 WAYS TO BE PRODUCTIVE IN TRAFFIC
Thank you. I’m glad you like it.
Loved this and the response itself! I live in Louisiana and seeing that she is from Louisiana too makes me so happy! Love the blogs! Super excited to read some more! Can’t wait for your next one!
Thank you darling. Your blog is amazing as well!
What a great read, and an inspiration to keep traveling despite the US’s attempt to single out people based on completely ridiculous stereotypes to make travel a miserable experience. Thanks Kareemah for sharing your story and Ufuoma for amplifying it!
Thank you Carriee! These stereotypes are totally ridiculous so I admire her strength to keep on keeping on!
This was an amazing read! Such a cool story and something that I think is really important right now with how the world is going. Thanks for posting this 🙂
Thank you for reading Eryn!
It’s great that she has a platform to inspire others and living her best life, but in a way, it’s also disappointing. We’re all citizens of the world and everyone deserves the right to travel, regardless of religion, sexuality, race or whatever. Good on her and great post!
I definitely know what you mean about it being really disappointing. We shouldn’t have to see this as something exceptional but it sadly is. Thanks for reading Maya.
What beautiful photos and I hope that her story will continue to inspire others to travel. I will be sharing this across all of my social media platforms. One of my favorite and insightful reads this week. Thank you both!
Loved reading Kareemah’s story and all her photos are absolutely beautiful! I hope her story inspires others to travel! I don’t wear hijab, but my family is from Iran and my husband is from Lebanon. Lately we’ve been getting lots and lots of questions from TSA when we travel so I can only imagine what Kareemah goes through. Great post!
Yes to this and all the guest posts so far! I had been waiting for some more. You’ve showcased some amazing stories so far.
It’s sad that we live in a world where the simple representation of your religion has negative connotations, so thank you for using your blog as a platform to spread light and knowledge on this.
Kareemah, girl you are beautiful and I think it’s great that you use your platform not only to share your journey but to encourage, educate, & empower.
Really liked this one!
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