T: A short bio about yourself? 3-4 lines that best describe you, what you do for a living and so…
A: Hello! My name is Alya Ariffin, a 20 years old first-year medical student. I’m from Kuala Lumpur but I love to travel around the world and immerse myself in wonderful places and cultures (in my free time, of course, being a medical student that is super duper hard to find!).
T: Where have you been?
A: I have only travelled around Asia and Europe which is Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, England, Italy, Montenegro, Slovenia and Spain. I hope I haven’t left any country out though!
T: What was your best trip ever?
A: This is the hardest to answer, it truly is very difficult. Every place I’ve visited holds its own little unique adventures, memories, drama (of course). Well, I guess my best trip would be to the beautiful country of India. I may be biased because I’m still having post-India withdrawal syndrome! For me, I love India due to its absolutely romantic history (well there are some tragic ones but obviously as a hopeless romantic I would relate to the romantic history haha), the intricate architecture and the extravagant way of life of the royals in the ancient days. Not to mention the mouth-watering delicious food, very friendly and hospitable people. What’s most important is that I went there with my family and it is truly difficult for all of us to be in one place at the same time, so it was really nice to be able to make new memories and joke around while we were there. I better stop – I can because I can go on and on about India.
T: What did you learn about yourself during your most memorable trip?
A: Well… The trip that affected me the most was when I went for Umrah in 2013. It taught me that sometimes you just need to let go of the outside world and truly devote yourself to your Creator. I really miss Makkah, the atmosphere is just so spiritually peaceful. I hope to go there again, Insya Allah.
T: Do you prefer to travel alone or with families and friends? Why?
A: Definitely with family or friends! I mean, yes I can travel alone, no problem as I can get around by myself and settle the logistics and all. However, I like to be “manja” with my loved ones and I would like to experience the culture together so that in the future we can recall the events with pleasure. Plus, I feel that travelling with loved ones will just increase my confidence in terms of security etc.
T: We saw some pictures of you travelling with your family recently on Instagram (guilty of stalking), how is it? Tell us a little bit about the trip.
A: I usually travel with my family, but it’s very hard to organise a trip where the whole complete squad is able to join. So as mentioned above I went to India with them… It was really lovely to be able to spend time with them. We caught up with a lot of stories from each other, made many new inside jokes and laughed at each other’s antics. Some people were concerned that we chose India as a location for our family vacation. But we disagree, we feel that India’s unique history, culture and ideologies taught us a lot and also made us more open to accepting people’s different beliefs. And who wouldn’t want to explore the beautiful landscapes of India with their family? I also had an amazing euro-backpacking trip with my eldest sister, Atira. Do check out my blog: https://alyaariffin.wordpress.com
T: What’s your favourite/dream travel destination and why?
A: There’s obviously plenty of places I want to visit. But InsyaAllah if I can (probably as my retirement holiday with my future husband lol) I would love to go to Antarctica. I once read a book about Antarctica, and how the book painted the picture of Antarctica made me really keen on visiting the pristine place. I am a sucker for nature, I prefer it over them bustling cities.
T: Your message to fellow young Muslim who wish/dreams to travel just like you.
A: Just do it! Save up some money, make time and fully utilize your youth!