For Travel Blogger Thursday this week, we’ve interviewed Samiya who travels with her family. Together, they write a blog called The Selim Family Raasta where they share their experiences from around the globe. They love visiting natural places, including national parks, bodies of water and viewing wildlife. With their children, they have visited fourteen countries and have no plans to stop traveling! I really admire how they try to live as sustainably as possible, something that I strive for in my daily life, too. I asked Samiya a few questions about their journeys.
What inspires you to travel and what do you enjoy most about traveling?
Traveling itself inspires us – experiencing new places and cultures, meeting people, enjoying local cuisines, having fun adventures – it all comes together, enriches our lives and makes the family bond stronger. Traveling as a couple in Asia in the earlier days had made Ashique and my relationship stronger and now with the kids, it’s been great fun seeing the world through their eyes and being part of new journeys together – snorkeling in Croatia, seeing glaciers for the first time, learning about the real story behind ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ in Verona!
Where is your favourite destination and why?
We are biased towards Bangladesh as it’s our home country and there are still many unique places there we haven’t been to. Besides Bangladesh, India is one of our personal favourites and I look forward to going back with the kids. As a family, we really loved Italy, Morocco and Croatia. National Parks in North America is another favourite!
When did you start to travel, and where did you first visit?
We both traveled a lot with our parents as children. Am guessing India was one of the first countries we traveled to. Ashique and I both started solo traveling in our late teens – him in India and the subcontinent, me in North America. We moved to England, had kids and have been traveling with them across Europe, North America and Bangladesh since they were 6 weeks old.
You travel as a family. How do you decide where to visit and which activities to try?
We travel as a family most of the time. Ashique and I try to do our anniversary trip kids free and I sometimes get to travel through work. I was really lucky to travel to China, Italy and Turkey through work the past two years!
We prefer to visit places where we can explore the natural environment and enjoy outdoor activities – be it national parks, coastal regions and the wider countryside. Activities usually involves hiking, visiting castles and famous landmarks, eating local food and wines, and enjoying the beach, swimming and snorkeling when we can. Lot of our travels have been based on visiting family and friends scattered across the globe in USA, Bangladesh and Europe. These usually involves plenty of eating, drinking and sightseeing with locals which is always the best kind!
Besides the outdoors, we also like visiting museums and historical sites. Our extensive travels in Europe the past 10 years has allowed us to do plenty of that.
You are interested in wildlife conservation and sustainable living. How does this factor into your travels and what tips do you have for our readers?
We are very passionate about wildlife conservation, doing a PhD in marine ecology is a strong testament to my love for all things marine! As far as sustainable living…we try and make conscious choices to tread as lightly on the environment as we can.
I use the word choices because there are many ways one can choose to live sustainably – Using public transport and not driving, conserving energy and water (turning off lights, using energy saver bulbs, unplugging gadgets when not in use, filling kettle only with amount of water needed). The big one we do is with food – buying local produce, buying local and organic, I am also a vegetarian, rest of family eat less meat, we grow some of our food, teach the kids where their food comes from. We buy second hand clothes from charity stores and only when needed.
Having said that, we also choose to travel, A LOT. But we do try to fly as little as possible and do overland journeys when possible. In 2014 we traveled to 11 countries, but flew to 4. That was too much for us, as we try to keep it down to two per year, usually to Bangladesh and North America! Our love for travel is strong, but there are many ways we compensate for our heavy travel footprint – e.g. Last year I ran my first Marathon and raised money for Orangutan Conservation.
At the end of the day, it is about being aware of our actions, doing our own bit, which might different for each individual, and trying to live sustainably as possible. It is also very important to pass that knowledge to our children through our own actions.
Why did you start your blog, and what do you enjoy most about blogging?
It’s funny now looking back at why we started the blog and where we are now! We were planning an overland journey from England to Bangladesh, and wanted to document that. Unexpected life events happened and now 8 months onwards, we are moving to New Zealand instead. During this time I discovered how much I enjoy blogging and writing about our travel stories! The best part has been connecting with other amazing travel bloggers who share similar passion as us when it comes to travel, adventures and new life experiences.
What do you like to bring back from the places you’ve visited?
A magnet from each country and sometimes from each of the attractions we visit. And lots and lots of pictures and memories. We rarely shop when we travel. Sometimes the kids pick up a souvenir toy or book when we visit Museums and other attractions, sometimes Ashique picks up a local spice or truffle oil.
Where do you plan on visiting next?
We are off the New Zealand for a year! Super excited as we have never been in that part of the world. Plan to do plenty of local travel around North and South islands. We also want to visit several of the islands nearby – mainly Samoan and Fiji. We will be going to Thailand for a few weeks in April. At the end of the year we will do a 3-4 months road trip around Australia early 2016 and then onwards to Asia.
Thank you so much for the interview, Samiya! You can follow along the Selim Family on social media:
On Thursdays, we feature a fellow travel blogger and highlight their journeys around the world. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be interviewed for this weekly series, please contact us.