I was in Malaysia and had some time to spend while waiting for a family friend, so I went into a bookstore of course. The bookstore is called Silverfish Books and they advertise as an Indie bookseller and publisher. The bookstore itself is so unique, it has the most interesting collection of books, most of which are by Malaysian or East Asian authors. I really enjoyed walking around and I had several books I wanted to buy. Having only a carry on sized bag with me though, I was limited and so I just bought this book.
I have read countless travel books about different places in the world, but I found this one very compelling because of the places and also because of the background of the author. There is an obvious perception about Muslims and especially Muslim women. I really like branching out and challenging perceptions in anyway I can so I knew I had to buy this book to help spread the message that not all Muslim women are oppressed and confined within the walls of their homes.
Ms. Abu Bakar first starts off her travels in Turkey and it was a very poetic read. Her descriptions of everything, even the winter setting really made me want to go to Turkey even more. Coming from Malaysia, the author herself was not used to such a wintery setting and it made for some funny moments.
The next portion of the book takes place in Saudi Arabia, and the author travels there with her family for Hajj which is a pilgrimage Muslims make to the Holy Cities in Saudi Arabia. It is part of the five pillars of Islam and it is a very important part of their faith. I had never read a first hand story about someone’s Hajj experience and being a non-Muslim I will never be able to make this journey myself (the Holy Cities of Medina and Mecca are off limits to non-Muslims). It was fascinating to learn about the traditions that millions of Muslims participate in during this pilgrimage and even more so from a non-Arab and female perspective.
The last section takes you to Indonesia, where the author, for the most part travels by herself. She travels to Sumatera and Java to visit historical sites, UNESCO sites and also did a homestay with families. I think it gave way to a unique experience outside the usual Bali type stories and it has inspired me to visit other areas of Indonesia.
The author has an instagram account where she constantly posts pictures about her current travels, including those back to Indonesia.
Here is the list of travel books I am reading this year, and what you can expect to see on the blog.