This travel blogger interview features Abdul Hafiz of Travel with Hafiz. A blogger who has taken residence in one of the most conservative countries in the world.
What is your name?
Hi! My name is Abdul Hafiz and I am the brain behind the success of a travel and lifestyle blog.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I am from The Philippines, born in the southern part of the country.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I am currently an expat living in the most conservative country in the world-The kingdom of Saudi Arabia . Although, I have plans to travel a lot of countries, I chose to live and learn the culture of the people. I just don’t travel fast as of now. I am planning to travel full time 2 years from now but I am currently focusing on local travel in this magnificent country.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Right now, I work to save money for my future travel aside from my yearly vacation that I have with my employer.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My first travel I remember when I was 22 years old in Singapore.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Saudi Arabia is not that scary as what media always portrays. I believe that having misconceptions in our mind will create us fears and doubts to travel. People are so friendly and I could say one of the safest country in the world with the lowest crime rate.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
I will not consider it as bad but a lesson to learn. When I was in Barcelona, I was so busy in taking pictures, I was approached by a guy aged 15-19 years old asking for a direction. Only to find out someone (accomplice) took my wallet in my bag which was the biggest mistake I have done. Barcelona is the pick pocket capital of the world. I love Barcelona though!
Do you have any funny travel stories?
A lot of them but I will give an example when I was riding a train in Madrid. I did not realize that the girl standing beside me has the same statement shirt when one guy told us that we are cute couple. I was shy and started to laugh and looked the girl and both said to the guy “Thank You” When we got out in the train we laughed and became friends until now.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
There is no perfect country. I am a type of traveler that doesn’t label worst or best by comparing each places. So far, I enjoyed a lot.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
There is no place like home. I still love beaches and rice fields of place in the Philippines, Iloilo.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I have 16 bucket list right now for 2017 but I will start with three things that I will do on February which are : Visit Faisal Mosque in Pakistan, Community Volunteering in Morocco and Write my travel experience about Georgia.
Can you imagine life without travel?
No. Absolutely NO.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
If I am not travelling, I will be a Spanish language trainer in a call center industry. However, it involves travel too. My previous company sent me in Spain to study Spanish language for 3 months so it is hard to choose a career that doesn’t involves travel.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
The name of my blog is “ Travel with Hafiz” (http://travelwithhafiz.com/)
When did you begin your website Travel with Hafiz?
My website started in the summer of 2016.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write to share my travel experiences to people who has misconceptions or fears in travel. The aim of my blog is to inspire people that travel has no boundaries, and borders doesn’t mean the end of the journey.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
As an expat traveler, my blog is unique because I share well-crafted stories based on my experiences. People should read it because it will inspire them to travel and appreciate life. Every stories that is being published from my experiences are personalized.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
That is a good question. Apart from speaking engagements and a brand ambassador, I am also an entrepreneur of perjero.com- a travel comparison site.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
The most successful blog post that I had which went viral is “ I Travel To Heal My Broken Heart” (http://travelwithhafiz.com/travel-heal-broken-heart/). Obviously, this is based on my devastating break up with my ex-girlfriend. Although it was a painful story but people reached me out to express their thoughts.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I love travelling by car because it gives me a relaxing mind whenever I see the sceneries while on the road. I can meet different people at every stops.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Just be yourself and don’t stop. Always keep in mind this famous quote ” Travel has no boundaries”.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me a lot. However the number one lesson that I learned is “RESPECT”. I became an open minded person regardless the differences that we had, beliefs, opinions and traditions. It helped me to appreciate life than things through respect.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? My favourite airline is Emirates.
Favourite country? Spain.
Favourite city? Madrid.
Favourite beach? El Nido, Palawan Philippines
Favourite food? Turkish food!
Favourite language? Spanish, one of the most romantic language for me.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://travelwithhafiz.com/
Twitter handle? https://twitter.com/AbdulHafizAli3
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/TravelwithHafiz/
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/105865759101151211283