Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Positives I'm Taking From The Chaos That Is Donald Trump

Donald Trump Muslim Ban Women's March
Merely two weeks into his Presidency, Donald Trump has managed to divide the world in a way that we initially thought, was humanly impossible. Myself, along with many others, thought we had come further than this. Even as a UK born and living citizen, I feel the sting. How the hell did an unqualified, misogynist, arrogant individual, who'll do anything it takes to live up to the notoriety, become the leader of the free world? How? How could those people who voted for this creature of injustice do this to themselves?!

So far, as well as temporarily freezing the hiring for federal agencies, dismantling the Affordable Care Act and renewing construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline, which could severely impact sacred Native American land, here are two other outrageous things he has done:

*He has reinstated the Global Gag Order. The order, also known as the Mexico City Policy, severely limits federal aid to family planning organisations that provide abortions and provide educational information on the matter. Pro Trump voters, congratulations! You're screwed if you, or your daughters, sisters, relatives, and friends need to make a crucial decision on their reproductive health. And unlike the rest of the States who didn't vote for him, YOU'LL be the only ones kicking yourself in the back. 

* He has also restricted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the USA for a period of 90 days. The United States' refugee system has also been suspended for a period of 120 days. The former Apprentice honcho thinks that his 'extreme vetting' will keep 'radical Islamic terrorists out of the USA.' Oh and he's pretty keen on building that wall too. The thing that strikes me the most about this is how the words 'Muslim' and 'immigrant' are represented as dirty, evil, and holding all of us back. My dad was a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan in the 80's and I'm so proud of what he's accomplished. And my views are the same for all those others who take their new found freedom and run with it.
Donald Trump Muslim Ban Women's March
However, despite all the forces put in place, hoping desperately to divide us, you can't help but marvel at what it has unwittingly achieved in return - such as: 

- It's bringing women together in a way like never before
I honestly couldn't believe my eyes when I saw thousands of women across the globe unite to march for Women's Rights. How the hell is one man going to tell us that our right to choose, isn't a right any more? We shouldn't have to fight for equality anymore, especially by someone of the opposite gender who doesn't know what it's like to be pregnant, give birth and states he 'want to grab that pussy' like it's no big deal.

- It's telling us that we have WAY more support than we initially thought
After hoards of people stood outside US airports, demanding for detainees to be released as a result of Trump's Muslim ban, it brought tears to my eyes to see how they were greeted when finally released. 'Welcome! Welcome to our country!' they chanted. And you could see it in those people's tired eyes, who had been delayed and questioned for hours. They were so thankful - and once again so hopeful. 
Donald Trump Muslim Ban Women's March
- People are putting their personal needs aside and looking at the greater good
As someone who works in the entertainment industry, it pleased me to see artists and performers use their platform to spread their voice over the outrageous Muslim and immigrant ban at the recent SAG awards. As Taylor Schilling said: 'What unites us is stronger than the forces that seek to divide us.' Use any opportunity you can to fight for justice. 

- If we unite together, something good can come out of it
Yes, he has stayed true to his evil words and followed through with a lot during his short time in Office. But look at what we have done in the same time period by fighting back. Those marches across the globe for gender and race equality have not gone unnoticed. How could they? If we keep it up, change is wholly possible. 

I honestly hope the White House and all of the pro-Trump voters come to their senses soon. How can you not WANT to be unified nationally and internationally? I tweeted this the other day: 'I don't know how you can look around and hear all these different languages being spoken and see people who look completely different than you, and not think that's beautiful.' 

Images sourced from Unsplash


Monday, 16 January 2017

TRAVEL INSPIRATION: My Top Six Favourite Holidays Ever

January always seems to add to our bucket lists. The checklist of dreams, goals and hardened flaws we want to overcome gets longer and longer. And one of the main components of our visual wishes is the desire to travel. Along with our innate need to be thirsty in knowledge about an individual our age, living on the the other side of the world, is the the current day popularity of social media prowess - dedicated to the hard-to-achieve message of 'you can see it all too'. But what we need to remember is seeing the world is wholly personal - it's what you make of it, what it does for you, and what you take away from it.

I haven't travelled as much as I'd like to. And at the age of 27, I've only been on two small trips as part of a solo, 'for me' journey. Of-course, longer more fulfilling trips are on the horizon. I have some locations set in mind, from the far-flung and sun-kissed to the challenging and gruelling.

As of now, I have reached my capacity in where I'd like the wind to take me. I'd rather not drown myself in the pressures of cramming what I can into a time-frame I'm not fully aware of. So right now, I'd like to look back on the trips that were special and worth it. I mean, not every holiday is as smooth as a VCSO-filtered snap on Instagram. The lows can be lethal. But the highs when it comes to getting away, is what counts. 

1. America- Cross Country
America travel

Throw the USA's political debacle out of the window and you have a visually, spectacular country. The landscape from one city to the next is so diverse, unique and on many occasions - jaw-dropping.

I knew it would be like that and that's why I didn't hesitate in making it my first solo trip - away from the comfort of family and friends. I booked myself onto a Trek America tour group where I'd be surrounded by fellow travellers with a similar mindset as me.

The West Coast to East Coast journey was a marvel that, at times, I couldn't quite believe existed. Trust me, there's no place that romanticises the road more than America. From the star-gazing streets of Los Angeles, the fiery red sands of Death Valley, the sunset at the Grand Canyon, the small town Texan charm, the music in Tennessee to the history in Washington, D.C - no matter what your views of sensationalised present day America is, don't let it hinder your ability to look past it for the bigger picture.

Read more about my Trek America Trip here and here.

2. Iceland
Iceland travel

A true Winter Wonderland. Probably the country that was most unrealistic, most unattainable and needed more of a 'pinch-me' moment. Iceland is like a beautiful human-being that teases you and plays hard to get. You can look, yes have a cheeky touch, but you won't have her.

I was there for a three days - honestly, a perfect amount of time to whet your senses. I went there with my little brother - jetting in on Christmas Eve, only to be met by the world-renowned geothermal Blue Lagoon spa the next day. Yes, I was swimming in the snow on Christmas Day, Top that! Two days later, I rang in my 25th birthday staring up at the Northern Lights. I couldn't have been more colder in my life but the possibility of frost-bites where so worth it. Complete out of body experience.

Read about my Iceland trip here

3. LA
Los Angeles travel

You hear people who live in Los Angeles complain about it being lonely and hard to make friends - with everyone after their own hustle. And I do believe that is the case - But when you have a week to see the bustling city by yourself, you're met with a completely different experience.

I work as an entertainment journalist, so you can imagine LA was like my playground. From the old school Hollywood touches (the history of the city is like no other - and SO overlooked) to the exciting new age references, the town no doubt boasts a sunny disposition - albeit on the surface at least. It's a city built on opportunity, monumental success and tragic lows - and it's this steely, starry drive that keeps the sun-kissed neighbourhoods relevant and a complete haven for people across the world.

Read about my LA trip here, here and here

4. Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria travel

This was our family holiday of choice when I was younger. I have such vivid memories of Gran Canaria as my dad would go there for business and we'd easily make a family trip out of it. From the hotel shenanigans, making friends with other kids in the swimming pools to heading out on long strolls - going nowhere on the old cobble streets. I also remember, as clear as crystal, watching loved-up teen couples kissing and holding hands, spending - for them - another average weekday by the beach. It made me excited about the prospect about growing up and having a moment like that to myself too. 

5. Canada
Canada travel

We went in the sub-zero temperatures of Winter. The trees were frozen with ice, we were kitted out to the max - but we always returned to the homely warmth of my mum's friend. They grew up together in Pakistan and were inseparable at school as teenagers. Getting married off straight out of school, saw my mum head to the UK and her friend jet off to Canada. This trip, more than ten years ago, was their big reunion. And while I was seemingly unaware at the time of what the trip meant for my mum, it was just as pleasing for me. In a weird way, I enjoy the cold. It was interesting to come from a freezing place as England, to another, which just happened to look completely different. With its open spaces and lush landscape - it was a completely world than the densely populated streets of London I was so used to.

6. Dubai
Dubai travel

I actually lived in Dubai for two years. But for me, keeping up with the lavish lifestyle was a little unattainable - therefore, I always refer to my time there as a 'really long holiday'. And what a 'holiday' it was. There's something magical in going to a palm tree lined school, having everything catered towards the blistering heat and having your average school trips driving through the deserts of the far-flung corners of Dubai. And even though the majority of the city was littered in wealth, it was still an exciting and humbling way for me to experience a way of life miles away from London. I haven't been back since. I would like to go back and see how everything has changed, because if there's one thing you should know about Dubai, it's that it is always changing and evolving - like it's in a competition with its self.


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