When I sent my sister off to university in October last year, I decided to meet up with a girl guide friend of mine, Catherine. We both met in Adelboden, Switzerland during a woman leadership seminar in April 2014. Since then, she's visited Malaysia so when I found out I was going to be in UK, I was pretty excited over the prospects of seeing her again. Better yet, we were going to go on a hiking date! I brought Hafsa along, one of my best friends from uni, since she's never hiked before.
We woke up ridiculously early on one chilly morning and got on the first train to Lake District where we were going to meet Catherine, who studies at a university nearby. There's something really FUN about travelling with a friend even if you're tired or in a crowded place. As the saying goes, it's not where you are but who you're with. I couldn't agree more especially since she's had to accompany me to the weirdest of places during our university days for my reporting assignments. I hated those scary adventures but looking back, I can't stop laughing.
I smiled from ear to ear as I looked through the pictures we took that day. 3 of us are clearly of different ethnicities so every picture we took together looked like an ad for Colors of Benetton. Their controversial ads aside; the brand is known for incorporating ethnic diversity into their ads so their models range from the fairest to the darkest of skin colours. It's a refreshing sight!
As a girl guide, I'm exposed to women from every possible country and this has taught me the beauty of mutual respect. To respect another person even if you don't share or agree with their beliefs and lifestyle, requires a certain level of maturity. I don't believe in uniformity but I believe in unity. Be mature enough to respect those different from you and cause them no harm or heartache. Honestly, people have more in common than they think, they just have to be humble and open-minded enough to overcome differences.
"O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one another, not that you may despise each other. [Quran 49:13]
Hafsa and I returned to London that day exhausted but boy did we sleep well! I haven't had the chance to hike since the start of this year but I had my fair share of hiking during my gap year. It's good exercise; an hour of walking and enjoying mother nature already burns hundreds of calories plus you're really working your leg muscles. I'm already fantasizing my next hiking adventure!