“I feel like I want to sell everything I have, pack up and just travel for life!” - Fara.
Oh, trust us girl! We would so love to do that ourselves.
Those were the words of Fara, who is married to someone just as free-spirited as her named Zuhdi.
Having tied the knot on 16 November 2013, they have been conquering many corners of the world…backpacking style! You can check them out on Instagram by clicking here
So, how does backpacking help strengthen their relationship? It all comes down to five words, they told us:
Travelling is very much like marriage: there are ups and downs, bittersweet moments, turbulance (figuratively, not the flight kind lah
!) and what not. All in all, travelling for this couple is a gamble.
One would think that detailed planning would be the only guarantee to a wholesome experience. Well, Fara and Zuhdi have proven otherwise.
Their Euro tour turned out to be the perfect fit to illustrate how much of a gamble their travelling was. All they did was purchase their flight tickets and booked the first hotel upon arrival in London. That’s it. Literally.
“We expected to fall in love with Venice but…nope. We fell in love with Brussels instead,” those were Fara’s words as we spoke over coffee and cupcakes.
It was barely possible to keep up with Zuhdi as he translated Brussels’ art beauty into words. His enthusiasm was spilling all over the place that it became contagious.
Majestic old buildings, coupled with the many characters of the locals, captivated this couple. So much so that they decided to “burn” their train tickets to Amsterdam and spend another night in Brussels.
Don’t you wish you were with them?
Of course, every gamble we make comes with a bundle of risks. For Fara and Zuhdi, it was the possibility of going beyond their budget. Without detailed planning, there’s also the risk of spending more time “on the scene”.
Everything thing needs to be decided there and then. But that didn’t stop them from exploring places like Geneva and Paris.
Remember Lynette’s dialogue from Desperate Housewives
? It went something like, “I think what Tom meant is if you want to know how strong your marriage is, open a restaurant.”
In this case, if you want to know how solid your marriage is, go backpacking!
Fara and Zuhdi represent a free-spirited life at its finest. They keep us reminded that starting a new life does not mean ending the previous one.
They have been through chaotic times during their travels but that only strengthened their bond. Would you have guessed that this couple starts arguing even before their trip?
There are decisions like where to stay, where to go, what to see… Fara usually takes care of the hotel bookings and there are times when Zuhdi is too piled up with work that he just agrees with any option.
The chaos, folks, comes when Zuhdi ends up not liking the place upon arrival. It doesn’t end there. Zuhdi loves historical places while his wife...let’s just say she’s unpredictable. So when he takes care of the itinerary, it’s a whole new Da Vinci code to crack.
One incident remains fresh in their minds. This couple ended up wasting their RM800 bus ticket after missing their ride from Tokyo to Kyoto in Japan, all because of a tiny overlook of the time.
Toss in Fara’s athma attack and you have a complete package of chaos going on. Word from the travel couple: “Always check your ticket, especially for countries in which punctuality means everything, like Japan.”
#3 Reality Check
We need this, don’t we? Life is a winding river that makes us drown in the current. One way to get back up - reality check.
Travelling with Zuhdi reinforces Fara’s confidence that Zuhdi will always be her life saviour. She was down with an asthma attack while climbing a super high staircase in London but her hubby managed to keep her calm throughout the ordeal.
“He saved me twice," she said, and you actually could feel her appreciation as she said those words.
This couple have grown to be even more compatible from their very first trip together. There’s no doubt that they are meant for each other.
Travelling together is the canvas on which their respect for each other is painted. Their ability to cooperate and their approach in spending quality time abroad crafted them into good problem-solvers.
“We need to explore, explore, explore, research research research to try new things," Zuhdi said.
Freedom is one of the main reasons why this couple loves backpacking. Yes, travel agents are a good travel source but Fara and Zuhdi prefer to conquer the world without keeping track of a schedule someone else gave them.
The freedom of choosing where to shop, what to eat and when to go where seals the deal between this couple and backpacking.
Unlike conventional tourists, they prefer to go local, staying away from tourist-focused modes of transportations. This approach not only satisfies their crave for a fresh experience, it is also cost-efficient. Bus, train, ferry, foot…that’s more of this couple’s style.
In Turkey, for example, Fara and Zuhdi prefer to go behind-the-scenes at the carpet factory rather than buy a carpet, as most agents would expect tourist to do. Mainstream is just not this couple’s style.
In Japan, their hunger for something out-of-the-box led them to a heritage place known only to the locals, Nikko. Even the ride to Nikko involved a heritage train.
That would be the reward after so much gambling and chaos. The satisfaction that comes from stepping on new lands, breathing new air and experiencing new cultures is like ecstasy to this couple.
They are already thinking about having another dose of Euro tour, this time moving further into each town. The hectic decision-making and all those arguments? They go right down the drain once the travelling spirit takes over.
Both Fara and Zuhdi used one word to describe their entire backpacking experience: satisfied!
Getting up-close-and-personal with Fara and Zuhdi is another reminder that life is only as good as we make it. Their presence on social media is sure to blossom into a chain reaction.
This couple envisions being part of the ever-growing backpackers community in Malaysia. With hopes of foraying into the hospitality industry, Fara and Zuhdi aims to cater to global travellers with chic hostels.
Transsiberian route, Macu Picu, North Korea, Switzerland… those are just some places they wish to visit one day. Looks like their journal will never stop expanding, would it?
Here are some tips from journey.jernal
for those who are dying to experience the travel magic:
- Travel light.
- Hijab - Pick those which are travel-friendly and light-weight but does a perfect job in taking care of the “aurat”. Avoid those which are too thin.
- Think multi-function. One shoe fits all situations, for instance.
- Packing cube. This couple recommends Deuter’s.
- Solomon-branded shoes for both hiking and city travelling.
- Keep the backpack size at 40-liters max (they have washing machines abroad, FYI).
- Dare to travel. Stop thinking too much. Stop planning too much. And definitely stop worrying too much. Just…travel.
There’s one more very, very important thing. Health and comfort must always come first. Eat enough, rest enough. Don’t over-save at the expense of your well-being.
And of course, to other travelling couples out there, spread the love and complete each other.