Holiday Bosnia: A Journey of the heart
I count myself as a well-traveled person and it is by the grace of God that I was blessed to be so. Therefore, you can imagine my sense of wonder at discovering not just a way, or a person, but a whole travel company that is trying to bring together and honor all of the beautiful Islamic values connected to travel and to the journey of life itself.
In a time and age where travel is touted as the new “trend”, where travelers are vying for extremes of either, adventures in untouched parts of the Earth or unparalleled bespoke luxury experiences, and everything in between, it fills my heart with joy to see a business intending to create travel experiences in a balanced way. It has certainly been a gift of learning and growing, to travel the Holiday Bosnia way!
What is special about travelling with Holiday Bosnia, is that they offer a new and more humane and truly spiritual way to do “normal” travel. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the more altruistic and noble sides of travel before, such as the trip I took with my nieces to Cuba, but my heart and the way I see and do travel will never be the same again after this trip to Sarajevo with Holiday Bosnia, Alhamduli Allah!
My first visit to Bosnia was with Cambridge Muslim College and it was phenomenal. I fell in love with both Sarajevo and their tours. But, little did I know what lay ahead when my dear sister and friend recommended that I ask Kamraan Siddiqui to organize my second visit to Bosnia. I feel so grateful to my friend for this incredible introduction.
I am still filled with the excitement that comes only through the discovery of a whole new world of meaning - that connects me at every level to others in humanity and under God’s Light.
When I contacted Kamraan, the CEO of Holiday Bosnia, he immediately understood what I was looking for and realized that I was looking to learn and understand at a deeper level than what a regular guide could provide so, he introduced me to his friend Edin and his wife Amina, as he knew that Edin is a history buff. I loved them from the first day, for the integrity of their knowledge, their character, and their faith. And I must add their fabulous sense of humor and playfulness ma sha Allah! What ensued was a thorough and completely satisfying introduction to Bosnia and Sarajevo’s rich history and culture.
Kamraan’s deep knowledge of Bosnia and it’s history and culture, deep thought on Muslim style travel and standing in solidarity with those among us who have gone through the ravages of war and deep generosity showed in every interaction, I had with him ma sha Allah. It was all there from the first Whatsapps we exchanged where Kamraan would send me videos, the moment I would mention an interest. I mentioned mosques and he immediately sent me a video of the gorgeous and newly renovated colored mosque in Travnik. I immediately requested a visit to it in my itinerary on Whatsapp! The timing of my visit coincided with the Sarajevo International Film Festival so Kamraan informed me and sent me information on it ahead of time. Then, in our phone conversation to plan the trip, he told me story upon story and fact upon fact about Bosnia that intrigued me and connected my heart to that country and its people.
What stood out for me in the itinerary Kamraan suggested was the human interaction and connection that was gifted to me and my nieces through making food packages and school supplies for single mothers of abused backgrounds and visiting them to deliver.
He also suggested that I meet youth as he was interested to connect them with visitors so that there could be a dialogue for them to understand what was happening in the world around them and outside of Bosnia. While we the visitors could understand their experience and perspective and maybe support them if even in friendship and exchange of ideas. The ultimate goal was to help them to find jobs and stay and build their country. There was the idea that my nieces would go with me for two days and this suggestion turned the idea into a concrete plan! And as usual, travel with them is a joy and as we explore and grow together. The evening we enjoyed with the three youth was a delightfully warm exchange of ideas, life experiences, and aspirations.
And last, but not least, was being invited into a gracious Bosnian home when Amina’s mother invited us for lunch after Amina joined me for a day trip exploration of Travnik, Amina and Edin’s home town. There is so much to fall in love with where Bosnia is concerned. You will read it now from Kamraan’s account of his own journey with Bosnia. He spoke so eloquently and movingly that I have decided to give you his almost verbatim account so that you may know Bosnia and Holiday Bosnia through his eyes and words.
ENJOY Holiday Bosnia
Holiday Bosnia is a Tour Operator and Destination Management Company specializing in unique experiences in Bosnia- Herzegovina. They believe that the sophisticated, educated and socially aware traveler of today wants a more meaningful holiday experience than just being a tourist who is ‘passing through’. For this reason, their tours are unique and tailored to meet the individual needs of every visitor or group. No two tours they offer are the same.
EXPLORE Muslim Aid
Muslim Aid is a UK based Islamic charity NGO. It was originally run by former senior staff of the Muslim Council of Britain and is now run by a new board of seven members which took office early 2018 and is chaired by independent management consultant Iftikhar Awan, a former trustee of Islamic Relief.
To Holiday Bosnia for the contribution of images
Thank you Hala for sharing your experience!!! Love Seeing the world through your eyes.
Thank you Manya. ?? It’s such a gift that we can all share these experiences so easily these days. I am endlessly inspired by the unique and creative jewelry you feature on your Instagram. A beautiful and eclectic symbiosis. ✨