As Ibn-e-Battuta said,
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller,”
This is an accurate quote to describe this Wonder Woman who is a mother to two children and still manages to travel different places and write about them.
Mahvish Ahmad, a lecturer by profession, has a true love for traveling. A girl who gets fascinated by the color of life, tell us about her journey as a travel writer.
Q: What inspired you to start your own blog since you’re a lecturer by profession?
A: I initially started my blog because of my love for traveling and photography while I was still teaching at the IBA in Karachi. However, my blog became much more than just traveling after the delivery of my second baby, which turned into a life-threatening procedure. Since then, what inspired me is life and the colors that are associated with it. We are currently based in Switzerland and so, I am not in lecture halls anymore. But the greenery around me, the laughter of my children and the beauty that you call life to inspire me to write, to be positive, be content and be full of gratitude.
Q: What kind of a traveler are you?
A: The kind that likes to experience every new place on foot, take lots of pictures, sit down for long coffee and cake breaks multiple times at local cafes and using the evenings for shopping! I like places that can offer nature as well as city life. I enjoy architecture a LOT but museums not so much. I love European cobblestone streets and sunsets of East Asia.
Q: Would you like to tell us about your most recent trip?
A: Well, Alhamdulillah, because of being in Switzerland, every other weekend becomes a trip. But visiting the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland last month was such a fun holiday. This area is definitely the most beautiful piece of land in the entire world, offering breathtaking views of the Alps as well as blue lakes. The region is where a lot of Yash Chopra Bollywood films are shot. My husband and I are very filmy and ardent fans of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaeingay so on this trip, we searched for some of the DDLJ locations and made crazy dubsmashes when ON LOCATION. It’s one trip that I will never forget!
Q: Which is your favorite destination?
A: I think I have too many favorites. I love London because I spent time there while studying at University. I love Galle in Sri Lanka for its Portuguese feel and the incredible sunsets it offers. I have discovered lots of small, charming Swiss towns that I find beyond gorgeous. Paris is VERY close to my heart and I absolutely love the riverscape of the Seine. My husband and I had a great time discovering Slovenia on one of our trips to Europe. I admire Budapest for its warm people and Barcelona for Gaudi. I think I can go on and on about this….so I shall stop here!
Q: How do you manage your time between your kids and your profession?
A: Well, I think time was more difficult to manage when I was back in Karachi and I had my lectures to prepare for as well as writing deadlines to meet. I had house help so my weekdays were for work and weekends for my daughter. Now, since I write for my own blog or for print/online publications, it is easier to manage my time. I usually do my writing when my baby naps or at night when both my kids have slept. When an idea or thought pops in my head, I make little notes on my phone and convert them to blogs or Instagram posts later on. My little one has started childcare 2 days a week so that also gives me more time to blog. And if there is anything urgent, my husband helps and babysits.
Q: What is your greatest personal accomplishment?
A: I don’t think I have reached anything so special that I’d say ‘YES, I have done it!’ to myself. But in every phase of life, there have been little accomplishments that I am happy about and they make me who I am today. Getting the acceptance letter from the University of Warwick for MSc Economics, graduating from there, getting to work at the IBA, the positive feedback from my students and peers (gives me the best feeling), having my first piece published, overcoming my fears bit by bit with every day that I spend here in this alien land…..all these little achievements put together make me happy about myself, Alhamdulillah.
Q: If you could go back in time and tell young Mahvish one thing, what would it be?
A: I would tell myself to be more confident about who and what I am.
Q: As a writer, how do you feel about blogs? Are most of them bad, or do you think it’s the future of the industry?
A: I think it definitely is a future of the industry and a powerful marketing tool. Bloggers have thousands of ardent lovers who ask them for tips, suggestions about different products and advice of all kinds. My blog is very small, yet my entire day is spent replying to people who come up to me for advice, fashion and product suggestions as well as sharing their intimate stories. There are some blogs that I particularly enjoy – some give life advice, some talk about fashion, some have some of the most amazing travel photos to share and some discuss makeup tips. I definitely have my favorites. But yes, there are a lot of blogs posting celebrity news etc. I am not sure if that counts as ‘blogging’.
Q: What is your best feature up till now?
A: I cannot pick a favorite! All of them excite me and if it’s in print, I always buy the magazine and add it to my collection.
Q: Would you like to share any of your fondest memories with our readers?
A: There are lots of memories that make me happy. Tons from my childhood. Hundreds when my husband and I were falling in love. But the most endearing one is when I held my second born for the first time. It was in the ICU and I had survived a condition called Placenta Accreta during my delivery. I made it but it was a close call. I was told that I cannot become a mother again. So, once I gained consciousness and strength, my baby was brought to me for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe that there was a chance that she would never see me. I value that moment and the fact my kids have me. Thinking of that moment always makes me emotional.
Q: What tips would you give to others who aspire to pursue writing in this niche?
A: I will give writing advice in general – whatever niche you want to pursue, just write from your heart. If it’s about travel, go back to the place you visited when you pick up your pen, feel the breeze, imagine the sounds and smells and then write. Don’t try to copy anyone’s style and don’t be a captive of using big and fancy words. Be you in your writing. Let your blog reflect YOU. That’s what helps me connect with my readers most.
Q: Which is likely to be your next destination?
A: We haven’t decided yet but definitely someplace coastal! Inshallah.