Ramallah - Nisaa FM - Nour Brahimii is the first solo female traveller from Algeria to have a travel blog. Soon, she rose to become a symbol of empowerment and goodwill for the North African nation at the United Nations; and recently, a Goodwill Ambassador as well. An introvert by nature, Brahimii today spearheads multiple small businesses, works towards building awareness and breaking stereotypes of women in hijab, travelling, and creating content from all over the world. In an interview with Travel + Leisure India & South Asia, the bold traveller shares her inspiring story and travel hacks. By Chandreyi Bandyopadhyay.
T+L India: What prompted you to start a travel vlog?
Nour Brahimii: I started five years ago when I was 24 years old. Like almost everyone else, I always felt special; like I was meant to do something. But I never knew what it was and never really worked to get it. One day, I was tired of feeling lost, tired of being a shy introvert, and tired of seeing 100 percent of the representation of women in my country on social media as 'the pretty girl that only cares about makeup, looks and shopping’. I thought I care about more than that—my female friends care about technology, health, and culture!
That’s when I decided that I wanted to save money to travel the world. I was going to share my journey—that other women could relate to—using video. A journey of pursuing, not your dreams, but your goals! Today, I am a 29-year-old proud woman from a small country in Africa that knows a little bit more about this world than she did five years ago.
T+L India: You are the first Algerian female travel vlogger. Was it hard? Did you face resistance from family and society when you were travelling solo?
Nour Brahimii: It wasn’t hard. It was challenging. My family wasn’t against it as my parents travelled alone when they were young. I was showing them that I’m a responsible young adult that can make good decisions for myself. As for society, I only get to know their opinion when I go through the comments on my posts and videos. Half of them want to travel like me and half of them think I need a man for everything I do in life. I’ve accepted that not everyone thinks in the same way and I don’t let negative comments get to me.
T+L India: You travel in your hijab. How has the experience been? Have you faced problems because of that?
Nour Brahimii: I would be lying if I said it goes unseen. In some countries, I’ve had people staring as if they were scared. This makes me smile, and want to say “Hey, I am just a girl that wants to see the world!” I’ve had a couple of people say “Go back to your country”. Imagine telling that to every tourist who comes to visit your country! Not so welcoming, right? But luckily most of the time, it’s not a big deal. Everyone is just living their life as they should.
T+L India: Tell us about representing Algeria as an EU Goodwill Ambassador in Algeria. Why did you choose to become one?
Nour Brahimii: I chose it and I was chosen at the same time. I was one of the people that won this title as part of the 'In Their Eyes’ competition. It is an honour because I got to meet many people in my country and got the opportunity to tell their great success stories, not just mine. I appreciate the EU’s approach to giving this opportunity to young people to create a positive impact and influence the world through a modern lens.
T+L India: How do you earn and save for your travels?
Nour Brahimii: I happen to work a lot and secure different income streams—from being a social media consultant to training other people, speaking engagements and working with brands. The only little downside is that it’s not a stable income, so I save and manage my spending like everyone else.
T+L India: How many countries have you visited? Which is your favourite destination and why?
Nour Brahimii: I have been to 18 countries so far, which is a lot when you have a normal passport from a developing country. Hopefully, I have more countries to come. It is hard to choose one favourite destination and it also changes the older I get. I love countries with traditions, history and beautiful nature, so on the top of my list are Lebanon, Switzerland and Algeria.
T+L India: Has travelling solo made you more confident?
Nour Brahimii: I was a shy, introverted human my whole life. Travelling absolutely changed that because you have to talk to people and ask questions. You definitely make new friends on-the-go. Travelling made me more confident because I faced hard situations and overcame them. So, I am not only learning about the world, but I am also learning so much about myself.
T+L India: Any travel hacks?
Nour Brahimii: Pack light, read as many blogs written by females as you can, and check reviews on where you are staying. Is it safe? Is it clean? Also, take time to educate yourself about how to be respectful towards the culture and the people of the country that you are visiting.
T+L India: Any tips for aspiring solo female travellers?
Nour Brahimii: The number one tip is safety first. Don’t just trust everyone, don’t share your hotel address with strangers. If anyone asks you too many questions, tell them you’re travelling with family. If you’re travelling alone, avoid staying outside late. I usually never ever do that. If I don’t do it in my country, I will not do it in other countries.
T+L India: A message to marginalised women?
Nour Brahimii: Live your life the way you want to. No one has the right to tell us what the roof of our dreams and goals should be. All of us as women face a lot of challenges, some more than others. At the end of the day, trying to do something about it is a must. If you do not try, you will never succeed!