“I like to think I inherited my love for travel” Faris Almussallam tells me as we settle into the spacious diwaniya on the upper level of our new office, flooded with natural light and a view of the Arabian Gulf. “My mom’s parents were born in India, as they were part of the Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian merchant families who lived there. And, my [paternal] grandfather was with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before eventually becoming an ambassador, so he travelled a lot too.”
This tidbit of history is only the beginning. Thanks to his father’s job, international living was a continued trend in the Almussallam family. Having lived in Ankara, Casablanca, Tunis, London and Manchester throughout his life, Faris’ nomadic spirit is survived through an endless itinerary of travel, which he so happens to document on his blog, TravelEye.net.
“I started taking travel seriously around 2013, but had always been conscious of it,” He says, reflectively. “I travelled a lot with my family over my life, but university days were when I branched out. I did both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the U.K., and had accumulated an international group of friends with whom I would take trips with and visit. This especially allowed me to discover an Europe outside of England.”
Although Faris eventually settled in Kuwait to build his career, his love of travel hasn’t been compromised. Instead, he makes it a point to travel as much as possible to places that catch his eye, and documents them in the process. “To me, TravelEye is purely a passion project. It all started when I caught onto friends asking me to recommend restaurants and sights for them to see while travelling to specific places, and they’d even ask if they could join me on trips!” To Faris, (who tends to travel alone) this was the perfect opportunity for him to share his experiences to the masses. And thus, in 2015, he created his first blog post on TravelEye, by showcasing his trip to Istanbul.
Typical topics that can be found on TravelEye include reviews of restaurants that he found are worth trying while there, hotels he’s stayed in, places of interest he’s visited, and even flight reviews! “Travelers want to know which restaurants they should eat at and which flights have the best service – these details are important.” And what’s even more special is that Faris’ opinions are truly unique, as he strays away from the expected in each city he visits. “People here tend to go to the same places when they travel: everyone stays at the same hotel, they eat at the same restaurants and stay within the same two streets. I leave Kuwait to experience something new, and I think everyone else should too.”
And this summer, he has his eyes set on something new for us to look forward to reading about on his blog: A trip to Helsinki, Finland in August. We can’t wait to see what this destination has in store for him, and what tips he’ll reveal during the visit! “It’s another one off of my bucket list! What’s left is Chile, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand and of course, India – specifically Mumbai, where my family lived.” We’re also excited to announce that an expansion is in the works, and Faris will be introducing different ideas and opportunities to travel with him in his blog and social media channels soon. Until then, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves more with his words of wisdom with a friendly game of Truth or Dare – brought to you by our favorite new travel blogger and soon-to-be columnist.
Truth or Dare Questionnaire
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
Too many to list or even remember. They’re all borne of urban legends and Chinese whispers, despite an abundance of knowledge, which we all have easy access to.
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
I went to Paris for a weekend to watch an Arabic production of Shakespeare. I only spent one night in the city – and by the time it was time to go see the play, I was too tired from walking that I just ordered dinner and stayed at the hotel.
What is your theme song?
It changes all the time, the current one is Worakls Remix of Joachim Pastor’s “Joda”. It works great as a mood lifter, and isn’t too bass-heavy.
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
Where would you like to live? What is your dream retirement location?
Singapore. It’s compact, modern, vibrant, multicultural, clean, has a moderate climate all year round, and the perfect springboard to a number of other exotic countries.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” (Plato)
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
What do you miss about your childhood?
All the things I worry about now that I didn’t know existed.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I wouldn’t. I like my name, and it’s inextricably linked to my identity.
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
What is the toughest part of your character?
My curiosity and persistence.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Margaret Thatcher. I’m naturally drawn to strong characters of conviction that have sharp minds and resilient personalities.
What in the world do you least desire?
Complacency. I feel that, whenever you get too comfortable, your desire and will to grow dies.
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of, would make the world a better place?
Empathy and sympathy: I notice that people are increasingly isolating themselves in bubbles and echo-chambers where they only hear and see versions of reality that mirror their own.
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
I genuinely don’t think about that nor would I want to be conscious of it.
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is a thing called…”