Koshary in Egypt. Şiş Kebap in Turkey. Nasi Goreng in Malaysia. This is why I travel. Join me as I wander throughout new cities, sampling strange street food, talking with locals and travelers alike, and doing what the locals do. This is the site for curious foodie travelers – those who hear stereotypes about destinations but go to seek the truth from themselves.
Passport & Plates is also for the Muslim traveler. The rebel. The one breaking stereotypes, traveling far and wide to show the world who we are – that Islam is more than what the media shows. And I hope that my readers – Muslim or not – will learn this, whether from me or from someone they encounter on the road.
When I was ten days old, I boarded my first international flight, nestled in a bunch of blankets and my mother’s arms. By the time we settled in California at age four, my family and I had lived in 5 countries.
I lived stateside for the next ten years until the U.S. citizenship gods blessed us to travel again. We went to Egypt for the summer. It was a surprising culture shock. We went to Sudan that winter. That was even more of a culture shock. And four years later we went to London and I fell in love with sexy accents and fish and chips.
I traveled as much as I could during university, taking trips to China, Egypt, England and Spain. I spent long stints studying Psychology in Ireland and Spanish in Argentina and spent a summer interning in Indonesia. The travel life was addicting and exhilarating and I never wanted it to stop.
Then the inevitable happened. I got a grown up job. One of those “sit at your desk from 9 to 5” positions where I had to beg to use the time off I’d earned. And surprise, surprise I hated it.
I didn’t hate it because I hated working. In fact, I’m a workaholic and grade-A nerd. I hated it for all these reasons. And I resented it for limiting my travels. There had to be a way that I could have the elusive work-life balance. I just didn’t know how.
In the summer of 2015, after being rejected from a thousand “dream jobs,” I had a quarter-life crisis and took off for a 6-week solo trip to Spain. I quickly realized that work-life balance exists (outside of the U.S.) and my goal was to either 1) find a job in Spain to siesta and fiesta forever OR find a remote job that would let me work and travel. In early 2016, I realized my dream and officially became a sort-of digital nomad. I’ve called Valencia, Cairo, and Madrid home at various points but now I’m back to my home base here in sunny Los Angeles (and still working remotely).
And so, my travel journey continues, but it’s a lot more balanced nowadays.
Other fun facts about me
- I was born in Ireland to Arab-Muslim parents and raised in California, so one can say I’ve been a global citizen from the start.
- I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 40 countries so far and am nowhere near stopping.
- They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and I wholeheartedly agree. My favorite way to discover new cultures is through food.
- I’ve often been described a multicultural mutt – or more affectionately – ethnically ambiguous.
- I’m passionate about cultural connections, street food, personal development, and global diplomacy and am a firm believer that food and travel bring the world together.
See the world, eat the world, and meet the world. I’ll show you how to travel and dine, sans spirits and swine (because #halalfood).
How to use this site
- Blog: Thoughts about life, travel, being a millennial, and all the good stuff that goes along with being in my 20s and “lost.”
- Destination Guides: All the fun things to see, eat, and do in various cities.
- Travel Tips: General travel hacks, how-to’s, and observations I’ve learned from my adventures.
- Enticing Eats: The best eats, food guides, and local cooking adventures.
- Stuff I love: My favorite links and resources on blogging and travel.
- Work with me: If you’re a brand that wants to make fetch an awesome partnership happen.
Have a question or just want to say hello?
Contact me at passportandplates(at)gmail.com!