Recently someone told me that they dedicated their entire Friday night to Zahra Travels because of my biggest fan, who happens to be my beautiful sister, lamely shares everything I publish, ever.
Mind you, this ‘someone’ and I are not even mutuals on Facebook but I was so honored by the words she chose to describe me with. Many people congratulate me on this blog but I’m not doing anything new. Everything I write is what I once upon a time whispered to journals I started as a way to practice learning this new language and cope with this new life I was a guest in. If you’ve passed grade 6, you can see multiple grammar faux-pas in my work. But that’s just it, this is not meant to be perfect. Zahra Travels is not to one day land me a great job, it’s to act as a method of ventilation when my lungs can no longer exhale stress running lap after lap.
As a person who always interviews people, somehow the tables turn when I’m confronted by my audience and they ask me questions. I often rudely leave them hungry for answers I never cooked. More than recognition within my peers, far off relatives I blocked on social networks in high school are the ones that continue to present me with love I cannot carry on my undeserving chest.
My mom tells me “this isn’t a hotel that you just come to get your laundry, raid the fridge, and sleep in” because I spend fewer hours at home than I do on my TTC commutes some days. And even when I am home, my thoughts are glued to screens that illustrate places and countries I have not yet walked upon. I got so caught up in traveling, I started treating my origin as a visitor. When does home even become a tourist destination? When you start living on your own or when you call your own country “back home” with no actual intention of going back? Little did I know collecting innocent pocket souvenirs here would soon transform into full checked-in baggage.
I became a cousin, a sister in law, and now an aunt to a beautiful baby girl in the span of eleven years I’ve spent as an outsider to my origin. I’m going to Pakistan in May.