I’m writing this from a very comfortable bus (an autocar to be exact). I thought I’d document my trip to remember the places I’ve been to and faces I’ve seen. Today is Day 3 out of Day 12 so you can say that we’re at the beginning of our trip.
Hubby and I usually look for a good balance between comfort, local-living, and adventure. So, if you are into that as well, continue reading.
PS. This is my second attempt at writing this as I lost my first draft. So, here goes nothing…
Before I get into the deeds of how the past 2 days went. Let me give you a little bit of context. We are a young couple based in Paris, who decided to come to Turkey for 12 days (and 11 nights). Our dates are 25 May to 05 June, so you can say that we are traveling off-season during a period where the Turkish Lira roughly amounts to 17.5 TL per 1 EUR.
Several people have told us that we’ve got a good deal but deep down something didn’t sit right with us. Enjoying services that should have been doubled in price for what they are worth doesn’t seem fair somehow.
Having said that, we’ve decided to travel differently; by being less of a tourist, supporting small local businesses & using public transportation.
We’ve decided to be fully immersed in day-to-day Turkish living during these times.
On a positive note, Turkey is as beautiful as it has always been, if not more. And we can’t wait to follow through with our schedule.
Hubby planned a closed-loop trip with a couple of stopovers starting with a day in Istanbul:
Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Intro (1)”
- Paris to Istanbul (by air) – 1 night
- Istanbul to Ankara (by train) – 1 night
- Ankara to Gorëme/Capadocia (by bus) – 2 nights
- Gorëme to Konya (by bus) – 1 night
- Konya to Antalya (by bus) – 1 night
- Antalya to Pamukkale (by bus) – 1 night
- Pamukkale to Istanbul (by air) – 4 nights
The title of this blog post was inspired by a song with the same title by a band called Florence and the machine. I enjoy listening to them; I really do, but my appreciation of their music isn’t the subject of this post. So, let us not get into the debate of how lyrics can impact a believer’s emotional state.
I get your skepticism; how on earth am I writing about religious content while making reference to a song? However, if you dig deeper, then you will realize that I was merely inspired by the title and not the lyrics.
Anything can be a sense of inspiration if one’s heart is in the right state. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that listening to music is the way to go for the remembrance of God (Allah) all I am saying is that when I heard the title, I remembered God and that surprised me.
Moreover, I started observing my surroundings to understand what inspires me and everything came down to this – nature. I am inspired by life and everything that is living or anything that reminds of the essence of it. Simple things like: plants, landscapes, birds chirping, my hamsters’ behavior, and more make my day and remind of how great my creator is. For no scientist, can make a plant out of a seed.
If you are not where you would like to be this Ramadan then that is okay. However, what is not okay, is not trying or attempting to develop a relationship with your creator. You can take baby steps by observing the things that inspire you and linking them to God.
I AM GREEDY; I AM. I want all the best this life has to offer and the next one too. I am greedy but not for neither financial gain nor material success but rather for contentment. As the days change into seasons so does my contentment and level of satisfaction with my current reality. Not being melodramatic here or anything, but these fluctuations bother me.
My greatest fear is being dissatisfied with what God has blessed me with and always being in a state of “wanting more”. I pray that someday I will be the embodiment of how a believer should be, as described below:
Continue reading “All this and heaven too”
Given today’s context, this Ramadan, like the previous one, will not be celebrated as usual, pre-COVID times. Families and friends will not be gathered around a table to break their fast, some of us might be confined alone, without the ability to pray night prayers (taraweeh) in a small group, and most of us may spend a significant amount of time reminiscing the good old days. However, today’s difficulties should not impact how Ramadan should be experienced and cherished.
I apologize for the grim start to this post but I couldn’t avoid the elephant in the room. I believe that one way to celebrate Ramadan is to remember its blessings and plan it in advance.
Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven. – Said by Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as narrated by Abu Huraira, Sahih al-Bukhari
Evaluate your heart
Faith (Imaan) comes with its highs and lows; I always compare a person of faith (mu’min) to a surfer that is in constant search for the next wave. This analogy makes sense to me because I compare my faith to a tide. A tide can come in three forms: it can be high and rising with each successive wave pushing higher and higher; it can be high and falling with the energy in each wave subsequently decreasing; and finally, it can be low with each wave becoming less powerful and flatter.
Unfortunately, today my faith compares to a low tide that has reached a plateau; as much as this saddens me, it motivates me to attain a higher level. In order to feel closer to God, the first steps I took were:
- Admitting the distance that I feel and finding ways to address it.
- Paying attention to the content I was absorbing; I decided to switch out a Netflix series with a religious one.
- Engaging in conversations about God and learning more about my religion.
- Staying consistent with my prayers.
- Realizing that in order to overcome the lows of faith; I needed to understand the essence of it.
The essence of faith: Legal vs. Real
Faith can be grouped into two groups as explained by Nouman Ali Khan; the first group is “legal faith” while the second one is “real faith”. Real faith can then be sub-divided into two categories: spiritual and intellectual.
In layman’s terms, a person can obtain legal faith by affirming his/her faith by saying the Shahadah (first pillar of Islam). A muslim can not question another muslims’ legal faith. If a person is known to be muslim; then he or she should be treated and respected as one by other muslims regardless of his/her actions.
Continue reading “Ramadan 2021 is almost here”