I love brunch. It's pretty much my favorite meal of the day! It is safe to say that if I could not eat any meal and just eat brunch, I would. That is why whenever I travel I always make a point to go to a really nice 5 star hotel and have their brunch spread for the day. Even if I am not staying there, I will pay the 30 dollars to eat at their brunch buffet and have a lovely time indulging. I know it seems silly, but I cannot afford to stay at the W on a regular basis, but sometimes its fun to get dressed up and have a million dollar morning. I highly suggest trying it. I promise you'll feel amazing afterwards!
These photographs were all taken at the W Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan.
I have been to Taipei, Taiwan a total of four times and lived there cumulatively for close to three years. I absolutely love Taipei and continued going back there over other destinations. However, on my last trip to Taiwan, a friend's father alerted me that all of the oil at night markets was made from pig fat :o I almost had a heart attack! I thought I was safe because I was vegetarian and never ordered meat, but little did my naive brain know that they used pig oil !! Once I found out this information I started seeking more "halal friendly" restaurant options. The first being that I searched for Halal food shops and found quite a few. There is a small Muslim minority of "Hui Chinese" living in Taipei, so they have created Halal noodle shops and Chinese stores. There is also another great option (depending on your view points) Buddhist restaurants. Buddhist restaurants are all over East Asia and they serve all vegetarian/vegan food options! NOTHING MADE FROM MEAT, so for my vegetarian self these restaurants were a slam dunk, but also I felt safe knowing that they don't use ANY products from meat, thus I didn't have to worry about pork oil or non-halal meat!
Since I didn't have a kitchen I was forced to eat out around twice a week and the halal restaurants were quite far from my apartment, so I found the Buddhist restaurants to be my saving grace during my last six months in Taipei.
First and foremost, I am not a diva. I don't travel with fifty different hijab wardrobes so I can take these amazing photographs in Angkor Watt and post them online. I pack for my destination and bring as little as possible. I bring a backpack and if all of my belongings cannot fit in that small backpack, then I have to take out some items.
A) PACK FOR YOUR DESTINATION- If you're going to Angkor Wat, I don't recommend bringing a pair of high heals or jeans or layers of clothes. I suggest finding an outfit that is as simple as possible and as cool as possible. While I was traveling through Southeast Asia, I wore the traditional, hideous, fishermen pants, but they were comfortable and I made it work.
B) Don't pack a million scarfs, you wont need them. If you're traveling (especially for an extended period) I highly suggest taking a few scarfs that are comfortable and leaving the rest at home. Scarfs take up a lot of room and you and I both know we usually only wear a few anyways. Hiking up a mountain or riding motorcycles around Bali isn't meant to be a fashionable excursion. (Just live and stop worrying about that latest hijab tutorial you saw on YouTube)
C) NO makeup. Maybe if you're going to Paris for a week, but if you're backpacking around Europe or jet-setting your way around Asia, don't bring makeup. Embrace your natural beauty and believe in the power of your own facial features. I know it is tempting to contour before leaving the house, but part of the fun of traveling is going with the moment and you cant' do that if you're worrying about putting on a pound of makeup.
D) Let your natural light shine through. While traveling you don't need makeup, the newest fashion, or some awesome turban, your energy and excitement about walking through a new city will make you radiate with beauty and energy, so be free!
This photo was taken after biking 16 miles in 98 degree heat out to a temple in Angkor Wat. Was I hot? Yes. Do I look fashionable? No. Was it one of the most memorable days of my life? Yes it was..... Embrace life. Dont worry about the heat and hijab. Dont worry about make up. Just worry about the destination, history, and the people surrounding you on your journey :)