Meet Rehnumah - a lawyer by profession, and a traveller by passion. She’s been travelling for a few years now. Initially it started off as a hobby, but more recently she has been aiming to really build a platform to encourage Muslim hijabi girls from around the world to feel confident about travelling the world.
Favourite time of day?
When I sit down with a cup of tea with my family, after coming home from work.
Planning holidays, for sure. Checking out photos from all the places I’m going to visit, things to do and coming up with themes or projects I’d like to experiment with.
Country you would most like to visit next?
I’m already visiting it – Morocco next month!
The best memory from your travel journey that you want to share
In Romania, a woman approached me. She took a photo with me and started asking me about my hijab and where I’m from. So I told her about Islam, shared some of my travel stories and when I mentioned I’m from Bangladesh, she said: “Wow! I’m going to tell all my friends about how inspiring Bangladeshi people are.” As a Bangladeshi, that made me proud.
One sad memory from your travel journey
Every time a holiday ends is a sad memory for me.
Last thing you read/saw that made you cry?
Pursuit of Happyness.
Last thing you read/saw that made you laugh?
A meme on Facebook: “Ask your ammu something and she says “Oikhane ache mone hoy. This “oikhane” can be either on the table or in Uganda.”
A language you want to learn
Speak and write Arabic fluently.
The city or the beach?
Anywhere new. I love to explore.
Favourite view in the world if you have to pick one
View from our patio at home when it rains
Solo or group travel?
Travelling with family
Your best trip till now?
How many countires you have visited so far?
25, last I counted
Istanbul - almost feels like my second home!
Ammur haater ranna.
Your guilty pleasure?
I can finish a 500ml tub of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream at one go.
Ideal weekend: indoors or out and about?
If I’m not travelling - definitely indoors.
What’s the best travel tip you want to share with everyone?
Never compare your travel stories with others: travelling is whatever you make it. If you constantly compare your stories to someone else’s, you will never enjoy writing your own book. I’d also like to add, be confident about travelling. To anyone who feels that being a Bangladeshi Muslim (or even non-Muslim) means that travelling will be more difficult for them – it’s only as difficult as you make it. Go out and enjoy.
On a scale 1 to 10, how excited you are about life right now?
10000 Alhamdulillah, personally and professionally.
Has anyone ever treated you differently because you travel around the world with your hijab on?
A lot of people ask me whether I ever face any problems while travelling because of my headscarf or if I’m treated differently. So a few months ago the most amazing thing happened when I was in Norway, and I would love to share this story.
I was in Bergen and it was a very windy day. As I wear the hijab (headscarf), I found it very difficult to stop it from flying in the wind, to the point where I was worried it might fly off completely (I had stupidly forgotten to bring an extra set of safety pins and the hair clips I had were clearly not strong enough). So I set off to find a shop from where I could find some safety pins, but since Bergen was a completely new city for me, I didn't even know where to look.
I had been walking, struggling with my scarf, for almost 20 minutes, when I saw a woman rush out of a jewellery store towards me. She handed over a whole set of safety pins and said, "I saw you walking for the past few minutes and noticed that you could use some pins for your headscarf!"
Me: "Thank you so much, I was so worried my scarf might fly off! This is my first day in Norway and I didn't even know where to look!"
And she replied: "Oh, I was even more worried about your scarf. I understand it must be extremely important for you. Welcome to Norway!"
So I can safely say, only good experiences so far.