It’s back! The Travel Is series and this time we hear from Shireen who shares how Travel is all about creating happiness…
I’m Shireen from The Happy Days Travels. I am a travel writer and blogger focusing on learning through travel and making travel meaningful. My favourite things to do while travelling are tasting local cuisines, meeting locals and travellers alike and sitting with a coffee watching people and the world go by. I travel slowly so I can learn about the culture of a region/country. I grew up in South Wales near the sea so whenever I’m near the ocean when travelling, I truly feel at home. My blog is a mixture of informative posts, itineraries, stories and guides for what to do in places. I studied English Literature at university and naturally, reading is a hobby of mine. Hand in hand with reading is writing. I have always enjoyed writing since I was a child and combined with my passion for travel, it was inevitable to become a travel writer.
What is travel to me?
Travel, to me, is about people and happiness. They say money makes the world go ‘round, but I think people and laughter make the world go ‘round. I first was bitten by the travel bug on a weekend in Amsterdam after spending my time learning about the place and the people. Amsterdam is a meeting point for many nationalities and the diversity in this city drew me in to learn about other people’s cultures and lives. Fast forward 3 years and I spent 5 months travelling South East Asia and New Zealand. I had the most incredible time visiting Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and New Zealand and learning about the people of each country, how they live, what they eat, the history, their pastimes and their customs.
Learning about other people is what makes travel meaningful to me. Everywhere I visit, I take something away with me. I love socialising and meeting new people is an important part of my travels. When I was travelling through South East Asia, I was overwhelmed with the amount of people I had the honour of meeting, and becoming friends with. I am actually still friends with a lot of people I met travelling and I’m so proud to say that I have friends in lots of countries. For example, I made friends with people from France, Canada, USA, Australia, Germany, Thailand and other parts of the UK who I have met up with after travelling. I learned a lot about people while travelling through South East Asia and not necessarily about the people of these countries. I learned how friendly Thai people are, how curious Cambodian people are and how accepting Vietnamese people are.
What surprised me the most, however, is how much I learned about people from other nations through meeting travellers from around the world. I learned a lot about Bavaria when meeting travellers from Munich and I learned a lot about Catalonia when meeting a traveller from Barcelona. I like to think that people I met learned a little about my home country too such as the fact that Wales is in the UK but it is not part of England and we have our own unique culture. Because that’s what travel is about, for me, meeting new people and learning about them. Something I like to do when I meet someone who speaks another language is learn how they say ‘cheers’ in their language as it’s something I always say when I’ve met someone new and we’re sharing a beer.
Learning about other people and witnessing the lives/culture of other people has helped me become a more grateful and humble person. I have realised over the years how privileged I am to be able to travel and get the opportunity to meet these incredible people around the world. It has also helped guide me to live the life I want and chase my dreams. I watch the way other people live, how happy people are without materialistic things and it has helped me understand that that is the path I want to take and live an alternative life that makes me happy. After travelling South East Asia and New Zealand, my partner and I went home and saved for three years and we are now on our second bout of travelling which will hopefully take us happily around the world (working along the way). I wish happiness and open-mindedness for everyone who travels.
Thanks Shireen for sharing such an relatable story about how travelling brings happiness and provides the chance to meet other like minded people.
Be sure to subscribe so you can read Episode 5 of Travel Is series next month along with lots of other great food, lifestyle and travel inspirational posts.