73. The Arabian Wanderess, Esra Alhamal; Iran, Morocco, Eastern Europe and Mindful Muslim Millennial Travel - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 73
July 24 , 2019

73. The Arabian Wanderess, Esra Alhamal; Iran, Morocco, Eastern Europe and Mindful Muslim Millennial Travel

Known as the Arabian Wandress, travel blogger and artist Esra Alhamal is this week’s guest talking about what it’s really like to grow up as a female in Saudi Arabia, the beauty of Islamic architecture and her travels as what she calls a Muslim Millennial travelling mindfully around the globe.


On this episode we cover:


How she became The Arabian Wanderess

Growing up in Saudi Arabia

Getting a scholarship to study in the US

Finding Manchester ‘had no technology’ compared to the US

Loving the UK once she adapted

The US being so vast and diverse

Being blessed in Europe with cheap flights and great places to visit

Ryanair flights for a fiver

Kids restricting cheap holidays

Are Saudi women repressed?

Sewing, knitting, reading books (pre internet…)

Visiting Bahrain for the cinema

Restrictions being on both men and women

Women permission to leave the country

Media focusing on Muslim women supposedly being repressed

Being many grey areas

Women wearing lots of coloured ‘abayas in Saudi

Fewer black abayas being worn

In western Saudi women not covering their hair

Saudi having a lot of nature rather than just the buildings and the desert

Blue Abaya Saudi blogger

Being ‘a Muslim millennial travelling the world mindfully’

Trying to be conscious of her environmental impact

How it’s easy to find somewhere to stay that’s owned by locals

And buy from the locals

Travelling as a guest in other people’s countries

The particular issues with travelling as a Muslim woman

Yet being a hot headed Arab

People out there who will judge Muslims on sight

Feeling the added pressure to be an ambassador

Lisa talking to random people on the tube

Esra being much less smiley in London

The beauty of travelling in Iran

How the architecture in Iran is beautiful enough to bring you to tears

The fascinating history of Persia

The surprisingly good skiing in Iran

Being surprised by the beauty of Bosnia

The dark side of recent history in Sarajevo

Croatians blaming the Ottomans for things!

Learning life lessons in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe being surprisingly nice

Meeting two girls on Instagram in Morocco

Overbearing salesmen in Marrakesh

Seeing a different side of Morocco with the locals in Fez

Studying for a PhD in Iranian architecture

Her dedication to Islamic art Islamic Illumination

Travelling with Art of Islamic Pattern to Spain

The breath-taking tile work in Alhambra in Granada

The artwork in Barcelona and Madrid

Using pure gold to paint her patterns (!)

How the Koran would be illuminated with gold

Using teaching her art to fund her travels

Portugal being more than Lisbon, Sintra or Porto

Islamic heritage in the Algarve

Avoiding meat when travelling with Halal being hard to find

Wanting to have the full experience by eating local as much as possible

The impressive vegan scene in Prague

John Simpson telling Lisa about eating roasted monkey in the Amazon

Is eating a monkey the same as eating a sheep?

Whether she feels vulnerable as solo female traveller and also Muslim traveller

Find Esra on www.arabianwanderess.com and www.islamicillumination.com