Before I was a blogger, I was a vlogger, chasing after the Logan Paul fame minus the utter ignorance and disrespectfulness.
I vlogged my trip to Istanbul, Turkey – it was beautiful and fun, my friends and followers enjoying my content and virtually tagging along with me on my experiences. But things got serious when the coup occurred and rogue members of the army attacked a mere 50 feet from our hotel. As a result, our flights got cancelled and our accommodation at the hotel had ended, and they had no extra rooms available. We were stranded in a foreign country. This resulted in my worst anxiety attack as of yet. And even though the coup was a failure, the army members driven back to interrogation camps for their act of treason, we were still stuck in a terrifying dilemma of trying to go home while still trying to stick it out on the streets of Istanbul. This event was plastered all over news and media outlets, and yet none of my friends had messaged me to ask if I was still alive, let alone okay. I had never felt more further from a friend. Whether I vlogged my trip or not, they knew that I was in Istanbul, they knew that it wasn’t ordinary for me to miss an entire week of school, they knew that something must have happened to me. They knew, I realized, but they didn’t care. I can’t say the same for the rest of my family members who received concerning and reassuring messages from their colleagues and friends.
That is why I didn’t want to vlog my trip to Islamabad, Pakistan – I didn’t even want to tell people that I was going. But maybe blogging about it won’t be as emotionally scarring, especially after I can assure that I am home safe and sound and longing to go back.
Without further a due, here are the 5 things that resonated with me from Islamabad, Pakistan:
1. Be bright when defining who you are
Whether it be in terms of clothes, trucks, taxis, food or even just the balloons and flowers that people sold on the street; there was a commonality to be bright and to be proud. Your chosen colors may not match, your patterns may be a bit too distracting and someone will always seemingly be brighter – but that doesn’t erase your existence, that shouldn’t be a factor to dull your brightness.
2. Don’t restrict yourself to the limitations given to you
Let’s go with the analogy that you are a box and often times society will try to regulate what goes in your box or how to pack things in your box, or the lack of either and just scrutinize your methods. On the roads of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, I saw people completely disregard these factors as I watched them fill and pile the backs of their motor vehicles, thus their boxes, with however much and whichever much stuff that they wanted. Not to say that sometimes it didn’t become a safety hazard – accommodating 8 people on a single scooter, a taxi that carried copious amounts of cooking oil and people, etc. It often becomes a burden when we want to overflow our box with love or perseverance or individuality that society discourages and cannot control. So don’t restrict yourself to these unwritten social ethics and morals – fill your box the way you want to – so long as it is safe and you can manage it.
3. Celebrate a form of self-patriotism
In Pakistan it is considered as a crime to not proclaim one’s love and pride for their country. In that same way, I think that we should govern self-love for ourselves, without the impending punishments. We should celebrate our being – every shop window, car door, magazine and advertisement has a lusciously green poster of the Pakistani flag, and every so few blocks, a Pakistani flag waves in the monsoon winds. We should regard ourselves as prestigiously as the Humanitarian Sites – always clean, different from the other sites but attractive nonetheless and your worth be regarded as ticket fees (plus tax). After all, how many people merely stay to get to know you, to fulfill their tourist agenda with you and quickly go away to the next station. This comes with accepting our insecurities and fully embracing the person we are or on our way to become. And this projection of undeniable self love and contentment may convince your neighbor to proudly claim their colors as well.
4. Take the time to climb that mountain – the view is worth it
Islamabad is almost like a valley with two huge mountains on either side, Murree and Monal. We got to go visit both of them. The word “visit” hides the exhausted six hour drive, a sweating hot car with a low air conditioner and the tummeling stomach of motion sickness. But the winding roads were surely worth the breathtaking view, the freshness of the air so high up and away from the hustling cities, and the observance of nature’s beauty. Your journeys may be long and the gurgling in the pits of your bowels may threaten you to stop and go back – but don’t. Keep going on, keep pushing forward because the view and the WeHeartIt photo opportunities are far greater than where you began, at the bottom of the mountain.
5. Don’t let the competition frighten you
In Pakistan, the retail industry is mostly divided into districts, sections and little malls in blocks. Then these districts, sections and little malls in blocks are further divided by their category of consumption. Meaning that there are a number of shops that sell similar clothes, materials, kitchen equipment and even restaurants all in the same block where you are. It’s so easy to be discouraged and afraid to compete in such a tight market with an even tighter consumer control of the community that surrounds you. People will talk, they will say things to bring you down and they will discredit all the hard work it took for you to be there among them. So you shouldn’t absorb the comments of the crowd but work harder to stand out. Make your billboard bigger. Make your lights brighter. Greet the customers of your life with an even greater smile. You might not ultimately beat the competition but you will have a lasting impact.
How did you spend your Easter holidays? If you enjoyed this post or enjoyed my snippets from Islamabad, give this post a like and comment.