Meet Maliha Fairooz -- 28-year-old Bangladeshi solo traveller, who has travelled to 86 countries, on a Bangladeshi passport. Maliha shares her travel experiences as a brown, Muslim, Bangladeshi woman on her blog, www.maliharoundtheworld.com, with the aim to encourage a culture of travel amongst Bangladeshi youth.
Favourite restaurant/cafe in a foreign land?
Cafe De la Vie in Abuja, The Yellow House in Kathmandu, Lucknow in Dhaka.
3 things you always carry with you:
Phone, money/ID, headphones.
Sneakers or flats?
First thought you had this morning?
“5 more minutes!” -- I mentally yelled this to my alarm clock before thinking of all the coffee I am going to chug.
Name a city you'd move to, if you could:
Sarajevo, Bosnia -- in a heartbeat.
Favourite travel partner?
One cuisine you don't mind never having again:
Dutch food. Other than the cheese, there is nothing I would miss.
A cozy night in, or a wild night out?
Depends where I am, but almost always a cozy night in… I am getting old.
One foreign festival that you've attended/ would want to attend?
St Patrick’s Day in Ireland was great and Oktoberfest was sooooo fun! As was King’s Day in the Netherlands and Holi in Nepal. I would love to experience Carnival in Brazil!
If you had to give up all electronic devices for a day, what would you do instead?
Read, eat, cook, play with my cat, clean the house, make some art, play tennis, go to the beach, meditate, explore. I mean really there is so much to do!
Most useful app while travelling?
Maps.Me -- you can download offline maps of all the places you are going to and don’t need the internet to navigate your way around places.
Your go-to outfit for flights?
Tights, loose jean shirt, scarf and flats.
Beaches or mountains?
Well, I have been asked to choose between these my whole life, so I moved to a place which has both -- Sierra Leone. Haha!
A country with the best hospitality:
Bosnia and Herzegovina -- no comparison. That country has my heart.
One thing you miss the most about Dhaka?
For packing: roll or fold?
Roll all the way!
An exciting adventure you have had that you cannot forget?
Well, as expected there are a good few -- my whole life is an adventure! But one that stands out is skydiving on the coast line of Kenya. For my 27th birthday, I bought myself this experience; it involved jumping off a tiny plane while attached to a Croatian guy, who was a complete stranger. The key was to not hesitate and just jump, and those few seconds of free fall before the parachute releases itself is the closest we, as humans, can get to flying -- and it was mind-blowing. What a freeing experience! And you are flying above the beautiful blue ocean next to this stunning white sand beach and you have no past or future, you just have the now -- those moments are so vivid in my memory! I can still feel the wind on my face and the feeling of freedom in every bone of my body. It was something similar when I went diving the first time -- when you are underwater and all you can do is meditate and experience the whole thing. I guess the best adventures for me are the ones that make you feel fully and completely present -- so much so that you experience every second. I hope one day I can find this same zest in my everyday life -- which is not remotely as exciting!
Trips planned to the t, or spontaneous ones?
I love me a bit of both, but spontaneous can be a little hard with our green passport, as Immigration officers can give you a very difficult time.
Best breakfast you've had on a trip?
Oh God, how do I choose! There’s been too many… but certainly Turkish or Azerbaijani top the list.
If you could only visit one more country in your life, where would you go?
Palestine. Hands down.