This week’s guest post comes from Natasha, travel blogger behind Tasha’s Tales. She explains ‘I’m an only child to two most incredible parents and a wife to an extremely supportive husband. Say Alhamdulillah! I am also a Social Worker by profession and a wanderlust at heart. A dreamer with an endless bucket list of things I have done and things I wish to do. I have lived and moved around in three countries so far; Azad Kashmir, England and Qatar and have loved every second of all three experiences. I’m not quite sure what the blog will look like as it goes on, but what I do know is that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. So here I am. As you can tell, I love travelling so the main focus of the blog will be travel. But I will also do lifestyle, food and random rants and observations of the world as I travel through it, slowly but surely!”
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
I answer to pretty much anything, including, Nat, Tash, Tasha, Natty, but the name that is on the Birth Certificate is Natasha! But yes, you can call me anything you like – within reason of course.
‘Where are you from?’
The most dreaded question! So, here it goes. I was born in England and at the tender age of 3 months I moved to Azad Kashmir with my parents (google it if you don’t know where that is- or even better, message me and I will tell you all about it)!
I then spent 13 wonderful years in Azad Kashmir, until my parents decided enough was enough and moved to the UK. Coming from a third world country meant that my options and independence was somewhat limited, so my parents decided to make some sacrifices in order for me to have as many opportunities as possible.
In my early 20’s, I crossed paths with my better half, my husband, Ahmed who was living in Qatar at the time. After getting married, I joined him in Qatar and spent 12 months of luxury and paradise!
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I am an annual leave/weekend traveller – if such a thing exists? I aim to plan my 21 days of annual leave according to my plans and I plan holidays around weekends.
As much as I would love to travel on a full-time basis, this is completely not possible as I love my luxuries too much and wouldn’t be able to do a backpacking holiday! Snob traveller is the term perhaps?
3. How do you fund your travelling?
I work, I save hard and I travel harder!
I have only recently – well for just over a year been working full time, so travel is a bit more affordable. Before I started working full time, travelling was impossible on my part-time wages! But right now, most of mine and my husband’s travels come from our wages and we tend to split the costs between us.
Although I once sold tonnes of items on eBay for my trip to Florida and managed to make £1000! woohoo!
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
This question is SO hard! It’s like asking who your favourite child is, no? Maybe not. How would I know anyway, I am not even a mom, YET!
Okay, so my personal favourite country that I have ever been to has got to be Sri Lanka. Oh my, what a pleasant surprise Sri Lanka was. Sri Lanka is a country that I never had the desire to visit until my husband mentioned it one day in passing. After doing some research, I got myself majorly excited and asked my husband whether we could spend our first wedding anniversary there. After some contemplation and persuading, my husband decided to book Sri Lanka and off we went. Sri Lanka gave off the most relaxed and positive vibes, similar to Ubud, but even better! My husband laughs at me, but the train journey in Sri Lanka alone made the trip worth while. I had only ever imagined and dreamt of riding on a romantic/therapeutic/scenic train journey. Our train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella consisted of all things beautiful, including the landscapes and the authenticity of the country. I genuinely feel that Sri Lanka is under rated and has the potential to be so much greater than what it is! Oh, and the tea was the tastiest tea EVER!
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Erm, dare I say Belgium?
I spent less than 24 hours in Belgium, where i manage to squeeze in some sleep, took a tour bus ride, devoured many waffles and even got the infamous picture with Mr Pis. But I dunno, I wasn’t captivated by Brussels charm. Within my brief visit, I even experienced a stranger groping my butt as well as being chatted up by a stranger who I tried to tell that I was already taken.
so yeah, not my fav, although I would like to return to visit some other cities.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Oh yes, I do have a bucket list, a very long, never ending bucket list.
The top three places that I would like to visit – in a chronological order:
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
- Obviously my mobile phone, I get to take tonnes of photos, post on Instagram and spend time bragging about my cool holiday to my friends (mean, I know)!
- Okay, so don’t judge! But I have this odd habit, fascination, addiction, whatever you want to call it where I HAVE to travel with one box of Pringles and one pack of Peanut M&Ms on a plane journey. I have done it for years and now no journey is complete without them!
- Errrrrr, a Selfie stick. Guilty as they come. A selfie stick is a complete must at all times. Now the trouble is that when my husband and I are travelling around, I obviously want to have lots of pictures of both of us – together! So having a selfies stick is awesome to capture those special moments and you don’t even have to interrupt anyone else during the process!
8. What makes you happy and why?
Man, I am so easily pleased that everything makes me happy. But food, food always makes me happy!
But more than anything, travelling, planning to travel, reading travel blogs and hearing about peoples travels makes me really, genuinely happy. It’s almost like watching a film. It transports you to another dimension. You know what I mean?
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I have been blogging since… May 2017. I am still a newbie, trying to figure it all out.
So what led to the craze of blogging?
Prior to meeting my husband, I really had not travelled much at all. But since our marriage, we have both had the luxury to really make the most of our time (long-distance issues, but that’s a topic for another time).
so anyways, as we travelled around 10 countries together, we noticed that there was a re-emerging pattern. There were absolutely no other Muslim travellers that we came across during all our travels and adventure. It made me feel somewhat empty. A little raged and mostly confused.
So one thought led to another and I decided to start a blog, mostly to encourage other Muslims to travel more. Now you must be thinking, EXTREMIST! but no, it’s really quite the opposite. I want Muslims to travel more. To integrate more in order to diminish and end the negativity around the word ‘Muslim’. I want to be able to introduce myself to people as being a ‘Muslim’ without the fear of being judged. Y’know? I just want to spread positivity.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
My blog is unique because I genuinely believe that I am the combination of east meets west and I feel that I am extremely lucky to have the best of both worlds. I have some interesting tales to share and some amazing photos to show off. I absolutely love interacting with other readers and bloggers so they will no doubt be able to approach me at any time.
From ESLT – thank you, Natasha, for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂
You can also find Tasha’s Tales on Instagram