How many countries have you been to and which 3 stand out the most to you?
Currently I have traveled to 47 countries! Costa Rica would be first because it was my first time seeing cloud rain forests. The amount of wildlife there was stunning. The people were very friendly and the country was just beautiful. New Zealand would have to be Second because when I was younger one of the things that fueled my desire to travel was the JR Tolkien novels. So visiting New Zealand felt like I had finally made it! The country is gorgeous the people are extremely welcoming and yea all in all it was one of the best trips I’d ever been on! Third would have to be Nepal. While Kathmandu isn’t the prettiest of cities but once you get to the Khumbu Valley en route to Mount Everest it’s amazing. Flying though the Himalayan Mountains was definitely one of the pinnacles of my career and life being able to fly daily among those views was just breath taking.
So, when did the travel bug bite? Tell us the story.
I think it honestly started with The Hobbit when I was young reading that book made me want to go on an epic adventure. The more I read the more I wanted to go out and find exotic new places like the books I was reading.
In general, how have you been received as an American in the different places you’ve visited?
It really varies the reactions. Some people don’t believe that there are actually black people in America. A lot of it is also well if you are American why is your name Abdulla or why are you Muslim. But all in all I haven’t really had any negative experiences.
You just landed in a city for the first time, in the taxi headed for your hotel. What are you looking for as you gaze out the window?
Restaurants first and the layout of the city. Usually when I get boots on ground I like to make as much sense of my surroundings as possible.
Where have you been that probably no one else who’s reading this has been?
That’s really difficult but probably Nepal, New Zealand or Armenia.
What’s in your carry-on bag?
Snacks, something to read, hand sanitizer, otc medications, antibiotics vitamins, two changes of clothes plus a rain jacket, chargers, cords, contact lenses glasses and a scarf (shemagh).
Of all the countries you’ve visited where do you recommend for a foodie?
Turkey, or Thailand for sure! The best thing I had in Turkey is probably the iscander kabob and the apple tea. The pad krakow gai in Thailand was amazing. That’s stir fried ground chicken with basil and pepper in oyster sauce over rice. You also have to try the fried shrimp heads, the tiny chicken wings, so many dishes!
Most Americans have careers that offer 2 to 3 weeks vacation at best. Your career as a helicopter emergency medical technician obviously has contributed to your ability to see the world. What career advice would you give to a curious 20-year old who’s still trying to figure out what route to take?
Find something you enjoy first of all, second find a skill which can travel with you. So many skills and jobs are universal so something which will allow you to travel and utilize that skill is definitely ideal.
If you could get dual citizenship anywhere, what other passport would you carry?
I would definitely choose Japan or Singapore.