After you hit follow on the Instagram of a successful travel blogger, you have surrendered your feed to a consistent stream of envy-inducing posts. When you’re staring at your phone on the bus – in the UK, and it’s dark, and it’s just gone 4pm – pausing your scroll to watch a video of shimmering blue waters in a faraway land can make you want to chuck your phone out of the window.
Hopefully, you can console yourself by remembering that behind their post and their serious addiction to #wanderlust (ugh), that travel blogger is probably experiencing a life fraught with turmoil. But probs not. Oh well. On that note, it’s refreshing to see a travel blogger actually broach issues of doubt and vulnerability, as it briefly cracks the artificial glaze that tends to jazz up social media boasting.
We’re referring to Hijabi Globetrotter (her parents calls her Kareemah), a blogger/vlogger/Instagrammer who set off to Spain to improve her Spanish before deciding to turn it into a much bigger adventure. Along with packing in her own engaging takes on the typical tropes of travel blogging (foodie tips, halal hotels and the like), she speaks openly about the issues she sometimes faces while travelling alone.
We are particularly fond of her experiences while visiting in Turkey. Kareemah arrived soon after two significant terror attacks at the end of 2016, events which were clearly playing on her mind.
Prior to her trip, she messaged a friend in Turkey, Zehra, who reassured her that the country was not a war zone. Despite some media reports, Zehra told her life was continuing as normal. Kareemah soon realised this for herself as she walked across the Bosphorus bridge: ‘I always saw the locals calmly fishing and chatting with their fellow fishermen like there was nothing to worry about. “Regardless of what happens, life goes on” Zehra’s words kept ringing in my ears.’
In the end, her vulnerabilities were exposed not because of a fear of violence, but the typical confusion that comes with being in an unfamiliar place. In another blog, titled My Most Vulnerable Moment, Kareemah describes the moment friendly locals helped her in a particularly modern time of need: her phone had died and no one spoke English. Yet thanks to the kindness of passersby in a market and the universal language of creative gesticulation, Kareemah soon found her way.
Hijabi Globetrotter proves how travelling isn’t all sunny selfies and finding yourself. It can also be difficult and occasionally a bit scary. While it’s a privilege to be able to visit a variety of places, Kareemah’s travel tips, as well as her concerted efforts to connect with local people, show she has the utmost respect for the destinations that host her.
Some of her posts might make you a bit jealous, but they’ll also imbue you with the confidence to explore new lands and make lasting, global friendships.
Be sure to check out Hijabi Globetrotter’s website, too.