Spring Fever at Haute Hijab - Our Dream Destinations
Posted on Mar 25, 2019
Admit it - you've daydreamed too. Perhaps sitting at your desk doing the office grind, or at night when you're home hanging out on the couch after a long day. Many of us have that yearning to travel, to see things and have experiences we've only dreamed about. With spring break season upon us, here at Haute Hijab we asked ourselves - what is that bucket-list place we've always wanted to visit? And why?
When spring-break dreaming, what is it about a certain place that captures our hearts and imaginations? Is it the language? Culture? Heritage? A religious calling? From the Camino de Santiago to Cuba to Makkah and Jerusalem - come along with us as we dream our dreams for the ultimate vacation!
Melanie Elturk - Chief Executive Officer
I actually just came back from one of my dream destinations, which was Japan (and it was a dream), but what I am dreaming about these days is the Philippines. While I've already been, I really want to take Ahmed there and show him where half my family comes from and introduce him to family members he's never met! While I speak Arabic and look more like my Lebanese father, I connect with my Filipino side in a very strong way. Filipino's have a very zen outlook on life, being island people, and I'm incredibly proud of how resilient, positive and warm they are as a people despite their very real political and social issues. I also have been dreaming of Palawan, an island destination I've never been to that would be such a fun getaway after the hustle and bustle of Manilla and Pampanga, where my family is from.
Ahmed Zedan - Chief Operating Officer
I've always wanted to visit Cuba. It's seems more urgent now than in the past because of it recently opening up and letting the public visit. Like most of the world, the effect of globalization means greater uniformity and withering of traditions. But this doesn’t seem to be the case with Cuba. The country has been a thorn in the side of America. It's right in our backyard, but unlike its neighbors, it hasn't played by our rules, which makes it endlessly fascinating that this little country has been able to survive. It's also known for its exceptional healthcare system. I have a love of history and politics. A visit to Cuba is like jumping into a time machine and experiencing a vibrant culture with many beautiful traditions and important lessons to be learned for humanity.
Alice Millard - Marketing Manager
I want to hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain! It's a 500 mile pilgrimage across the northern part of Spain, and it ends in the Cathedral of St. James in Galicia. My uncle, a devout Catholic, has always wanted to complete the pilgrimage, and we almost went as a whole family a few years ago until his father got sick. We went as far as planning out the whole route - how much we would hike each day, where we would sleep and so on before we canceled the trip.
Although I'm not Catholic myself, I've become deeply interested in the pilgrimage. I love history and the idea of walking miles and miles through old Spanish countryside and visiting ancient churches and monasteries has totally captured my imagination. And, since I spent so much time researching and exploring the journey, I now feel totally invested!
Erin Smith - Merchandising Planner
Maybe it's "un peu cliché," but my dream is to go to Paris! I studied French in high school and college, and I have always had a special place in my heart for all things cheese and bread – but I've never visited (except for a brief layover in the Paris airport on my way to Jordan). There's just something about the intersections of art, history and fashion there that I've always found so enchanting! Inshallah this year for my 30th birthday I'll finally take a trip there.
Lily Steele - Production Development Specialist
I want to travel to Tonga and swim with whales! Living in a city as big as New York I find that it is easy to get caught up in the details of our daily lives and forget how important it is to treasure the world we live in and the other species that we share it with. While I have never seen a humpback whale with my own eyes, even in pictures and videos, the sheer size of a humpback and the peace with which they live their lives makes me feel grounded and grateful for our many natural resources. One day I would like to swim next to a humpback whale.
Also, I think some aspects of Tonga's Polynesian culture reflect a certain perspective that hopefully an outsider like me can gain from visiting their homeland. Family is considered to be the nucleus of the society. Everything is shared, and materialism and individual possessions are frowned upon. Tonga's Polynesian culture is also based on deeply ingrained gender roles, so I wouldn't say that I love everything about it, but there are some beautiful elements that reflect the profound surroundings.
Noor Suleiman - Community Manager
Ciao, Bella! At this point in my life, my dream trip is Italy! I'm craving good food, Italian gelato, and exploring a whole new culture. Plus, I hear it's so kid friendly (which this mama of two littles needs!) Italy is so rich in both culture and attractions, and I want to do it all! From exploring the Amalfi coast, adventuring through Rome, boating through Venice, watching the sunset in Tuscany … I feel like it has the best of both worlds - bustling historic cities and relaxing countryside/beaches.
Gizelle Begler - Creative Director
My trip bucket list is quite long, as travel is one of my favorite things to do and something I believe all humans should take part in regularly. Not only does it help open ones mind to the various types of beauty this world holds, it also familiarizes us with people and lifestyles different from our own.
That being said, the past few years have been incredibly trying for me, as I spent most of my time caring for my sick mother until her passing a couple of months ago - may Allah (S) grant her the highest of paradises. Having lost the person most dear to me has left me in a reflective state of mind, constantly thinking about the next life and where our loved ones are once they have passed on. So, if I could go anywhere, it would be to Makkah and Madinah. While I have already been there, at this point in time, I cannot imagine spending my free time anywhere other than as close as possible to God.
Emma Williams - Customer Experience Associate
"My bucket list spring break trip location would be Jamaica! I’ve never been to the Caribbean, and my best friend is from there. However, to preface the rest of my reasoning with some context, I studied human rights and gender and sexuality studies.So, other than the fact that Jamaica has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches, it’s politics and history intertest me. I am generally fascinated with the effects of colonialism and patriarchy on countries all over the world, and Jamaica is a country that is very much reeling from the effects of both.
All the post-colonial unrest and instability in the Caribbean has the footprints of traditional colonial entities. Colonialism, to put it mildly, created master-slave binaries based on perceived physical differences, imposed false identities on people, and diminished/exploited resources that impeded any later growth and development. In spite of Jamaica’s wealth of natural resources, it is still considered third world or underdeveloped. Toxic masculinity is also a pervasive issue that has had devastating effects on social development. Generally, whenever I go somewhere I try to get an understanding of what locals perceive their political and social situation to be.
Other than my intellectual interests, I’d also love to go to Jamaica so I can dance to reggae on the beach, eat lots of jerk chicken and listen to Bob Marley in the country where, out of seemingly political, economic and social necessity, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” all began.
Ardis Barrow - Executive Assistant
Usually when I travel, I am drawn to cultural or historical places. I love museums, art and history, so being able to learn and explore on vacation is my focus. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling like I want to get away from civilization and go somewhere that feels more pristine and wild, somewhere that the natural world is the main event. Maybe it’s all the Viking TV shows I’ve been watching, but I want to climb a mountain and look out over a fjord. Norway is my spring break dream destination!
Mireia Lopez - Fashion Designer
Travel is one of my favorite things to do. Iceland is on my bucket list. Why? To sightsee Iceland's landscape and enjoy it's magical natural resources that are so unique to this part of the earth.
Dilshad D. Ali - Blog Editor
My usual go-to answer to a question like this would be Makkah and Madinah to spend time in worship, going for Umrah or Hajj. Fortunately I had the opportunity more than 13 years ago to perform my hajj pilgrimage with my husband. I haven’t been able to go back since and sure would love to. But if we’re talking about spring-break dreaming, I have two places in mind: the Neuschwanstein Castle in southwest Bavaria, Germany and Jerusalem, especially Masjid Quds and surrounding Palestinian-areas.
The Neuschwanstein Castle, after which the iconic Disney castle was modeled (I think), was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat in an in honor of Richard Wagner. I began studying German in middle school and continued through high school and college, minoring in it from the University of Maryland. However, I must’ve been one of the only language minors who never did a study abroad to immerse oneself in the language. I’ve lost much of my German, but I still long to visit this castle in Bavaria, which has always captivated my senses. A poster of the castle hung in my childhood bedroom, and I did a painting of it when I was a teen. Someday I would love to actually see it in person.
Jerusalem is a bucket-list item for its rich religious history and ancient ties to the three Abrahamic faiths. My brother, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, has done medical missions for years with the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, traveling to Jerusalem, Bethleham, Gaza and other areas. One year he took my parents along, and they told us such emotional stories. As a Muslim journalist covering Muslim communities, so many times times the news has been center in that part of the world. I want to see the lands and meet the people myself.