Recently we watched an episode by popular travel blogger Drew Binsky, featuring the inspiring story of an “Unconventional Pakistani Woman” named Kinza Raheel. We reached out to her for a closer glimpse of her exciting travel-happy life!
Who is Kinza Raheel: Kinza Raheel is a 26-year-old Pakistani girl with a Masters in Media and Communication Science from Germany. She aspires to learn new things, take up new challenges, collect stories along the way, and use her personal and professional skills to create a positive change in the world and blur boundaries across the globe.
How did you get started: I started traveling from the start. Although I am a Pakistani, I was born in Hong Kong, China and that’s where my journey began. My father was posted across the globe because of his job (that’s why I was born in Hong Kong). Although my father’s job enabled me to travel, that’s not the only reason why I travel across the world. I have a personal passion for traveling and that’s why I might have started from Hong Kong, but I never stopped from that day onwards. I look for cheap flights on my free time and whenever something clicks, I hop on a plane, bus or train to explore the world.
How many countries have you been to and lived in: I have been to around 30 countries and lived in 7 countries; which include Hong Kong (China), Lebanon, Egypt, Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic and of course, Pakistan.
You can speak five languages: Learning new languages is not only challenging but also extremely fun and useful. Every language I’ve learnt gives me the ability to connect to a wide variety of people across the globe, create personal connections, excel in my profession and learn new cultures on a deeper level. It has taught me to challenge myself and never give up, even when a language might sound like gibberish at the beginning. I have learnt that if I overcome my fear of failure, I can be proficient in anything I put my mind to.
Five travel essentials you always carry: I believe that travelling light is always the best way to travel. So, I would say I just keep things that are extremely necessary:
1. My phone
2. Phone charger
3. Some clothes and shoes,
4. Toiletries (toothbrush, perfume, basic makeup)
5. An umbrella.
Don’t forget to pack an umbrella when you’re traveling around Europe, because you never know when it might rain!
Most fearless thing you have ever done: I believe, being a Muslim girl from Pakistan, I have a lot of stereotypes attached to me by the rest of the world. Therefore, to me, the most fearless thing I’ve ever done is to break those stereotypes, making people more aware while continuing to achieving my goals one day at a time.
Have you ever got into any trouble while travelling: Luckily, I would say I have never had any trouble while traveling and I hope everyone else stays out of trouble too!
What key lessons has travel taught you: Travel has taught me that the world has more similarities than differences. It has taught me not to be scared of trying new things. It has taught me how easy it is to make friends, no matter where you are on the planet because people everywhere around the world are eager to love, and be loved. Travel has taught me to be more accommodating, accepting and loving. It has shaped me into the person I am today, to spread the message of peace and love, to collect stories, to learn from experiences, and above all, never believe in stereotypes, but to explore the world with a clean slate, and a positive mindset.
I would urge everyone to get out of their comfort zone and travel; even if it means going to a city nearby which they’ve never been to before; it will teach them how to be accommodating, compassion, and accepting of everyone in the world; a skill that no book can ever teach.
Were you nervous when heading to Syria: I wasn’t nervous at all. I was extremely excited to go to Syria because I knew Syrian food and bazaars were really famous. And just like I imagined it to be, Syria didn’t
disappoint me. It is one of the most memorable trips I’ve had so far. I can NEVER forget Syria. The food, their bazaars, the people there, and the colorful environment are etched in my memory forever.
It makes me so sad when I hear the news of all the bombings and destruction that is taking place in Syria right now. I could have never imagined this day would come when I walked the streets in Syria. It has taught me never to take anything for granted.
I hope and pray that everyone who is in Syria right now, stays safe, and the people who had to flee their beautiful country have the privilege of heading back home to their magnificent homeland soon. I would request everyone reading this to say a little prayer for Syria and its people, to come out of this turmoil and live a better, safer and more peaceful life in the future.
Give us some tips on low-cost travel: Well, planning a trip on a budget is an art. One of the most important aspects of traveling on a budget is doing your research. You should read A LOT. Read about every city you plan on visiting, so you aren’t fooled as a tourist. You should learn all the tricks before you’re in the country. You should read up on the cheap restaurants that are in the city instead of spending all your money in heavy-tourist areas where the same food is double the price.
Make sure you know where to go, how to get there, and look at all the fun yet free activities in every country; for example, seeing the East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall) instead of the Berlin Wall Memorial (which costs money) or buying cheaper souvenirs from Havel’s Market in Prague.
Be sure to see which countries border each other, so you can visit more than one country at a time if the distances are short. And when you’re looking for flights, always consider budget airlines; sometimes the flights are dirt cheap. I once bought a flight ticket from Berlin to Brussels for 5 Euros! I recently started a budget travel Instagram: @desionthego, it’s still fresh, but I plan on using it to narrate my experiences, share my stories and teach people tips and tricks on travelling on a budget.
Kinza Raheel spoke to Nihit Anand of Travel Secrets Magazine