I only recently met Mo in the “Twittersphere” and I really love his stories and photos and invited him to be my Curious Traveler this week! He’s lived in many places and has some great tales to tell. I know he’s be a good person to go for a beer (or a coffee) with! I feel like I really got to know him through his answers here and I hope you enjoy getting to know him too!
I’m curious ABOUT YOU:
1. I’m curious. Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Mohammed, but everyone calls me Mo. I am originally from the holy land – Palestine. I have been living all my life in different places. I was born in UAE – Abu Dhabi and moved to Ireland when I was 16. And for the past few years I lived in Spain, North Ireland, and many different cities in Ireland. By the end of this year, I am moving somewhere else, not sure where though. But I know I will be traveling South East Asia to explore and get lost.
2. What is your website called and what’s it all about?
My website is mosaffer.com Most people think its my name, its actually not. Mosaffer is an Arabic word which means “Traveller” and my website is all about travel. I blog about travel tips, travel pics, travel tricks and of course travel stories. I am a story chaser and with my stories I hope to inspire others in giving them that extra push to make them travel. My aim from this website is to inspire other people who are afraid to go and explore, mix with cultures or get lost. I think everyone should experience this once in their life. I am %100 sure it’s the answer for most problems that people may have.
I’m curious ABOUT FOOD:
3. What is the most curious thing you’ve ever eaten? (curious meaning weird!)
I ate an Octopus in Madrid once, not sure if thats weird, but to me it was. My housemate got a good deal from the shop and he was so happy about it. He arrives home and said to me: “Mo, Mo, I got an Octopus, I make dinner tonight, you join me, si?” – Of course I accept. I am still until this day not sure what to make of it, whether I liked it or hate it. But I ate it all.
4. I love to cook and try to re-create dishes that I’ve had while traveling. Do you have a favourite meal that ends all meals? What was it and where did you have it?
Ooooh – that is a tough one. I am a food lover, I love trying new dishes. I think cooking is an art at itself. I think anyone can make a nice tasty dish, any one with imagination.
Its difficult to choose between which would be my favourite cuisine, I like Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Thai and many more. Though Lebanese cuisine in my opinion is the best probably out there, unfortunately it’s under rated, not many people has tasted the amazing variety that it offers. I was in Beirut, Lebanon for family vacation when we went to a restaurant that had many different variety of choices, the waiter approached me and asked what would I have, I said Mixed Shawerma. Everyone on the table was surprised, I could have ordered something else as Shawerma can be bought in fast food restaurants, but for me Shawerma and Falafel would be my favourite. For you all readers (Turkish Kabab and Shawerma are two different things) Shawerma and Falafel is good enough for me – mix meat with Shawerma please that’s the way I like it.
I’m curious ABOUT ART:
5. Is there a particular genre in art that you love (like The Impressionists or the Renaissance Masters) or a favourite artist?
I should and I was, but not anymore. I don’t follow art that much now a days, I aim more towards people. I am more interested into people and how they behave. But I believe art is always surrounding us, wherever we go, if you see a building, its an art, if you see weird looking car, its an art, if you see a person in the street making an ashtray out of a can its a true art. We are surrounding by art.
6. I’m an art destination traveler. I went to Malaga, Spain just to see where Picasso was born and had to go to Florence, Italy to see Michelangelo’s David. Have you ever gone out of your way to see a particular piece of art?
I am not a museum guy, I prefer to be in the outdoor, I am more into mixing with people, taste their local food, mix with the locals and get lost in the unknown. But I had went off my way once. I went to visit Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, its considered one of the top museums in the world, so I had to check it out. I highly recommend it to the art lovers. Check out Things to do for free in Madrid, and best times to visit the museum.
I’m curious ABOUT CULTURE:
7. Do you have a phrase that you absolutely MUST LEARN in the language of the country you’re visiting?
Absolutely, I always try my best to learn these words – Hello, Excuse me & Thank you.
In regards of a sentence, yes I gotta learn how to say “You are beautiful”. I like saying it in different languages, I like saying it to the girls I meet. I like saying it to the older women, with my accent as well I can get a good giggle out of them. (أنتِ جميلة اندريا)
8. Where is the most culturally different place you’ve ever been and what made it so different?
Puuffff – Another tough one. That is a really difficult question, I’ve been in many different places and diverse with cultures. I am a people and culture lover. I think I have to chose Egypt for this one. Egypt has an extreme different culture, its a country where the rich and the poor collide but in an extreme way. You can see a lot of poverty, and you will see so many rich people. I will never forget the moment when a kid chased me in Cairo for over a mile begging me for one Egyptian pound. But you can see the goodness in their eyes and when you go back from where you came from, it makes you appreciate what you have and stop complaining, because there are people in the world wish to have your life.
I’m curious ABOUT THE WORLD:
9. Who is the most curious person you’ve met while on the road (it can be a single person or a whole tribe!)
”Colombian guy with funny moustache” – I can’t remember his name, but he was a special one.
When I moved to Madrid I got hosted by an American girl through Couchsurfing for a few days until I find my own. Her boyfriend was from Colombia, and his best friend too, “Funny moustache”.
Once I was introduce to them they fire at me so many questions, personal questions, they were both curious. I didn’t mind, I was at their home and it was right for them to ask. The thing is the conversation was going in a circle, they don’t speak english and I don’t speak spanish so we had the American girl translating for us. It was a nice conversation that lasted for more then an hour. Later they said will go to the swimming pool and asked me if I would like to join, I said yes of course. This guy was so nice that he bought me beer, food and asked me if I needed anything just ask, showing the good host he was.
The reason why I moved to Madrid is for a job offer that I had working for EA Games, testing FIFA and the guys thought that was awesome, living in Madrid, working for the biggest Gaming company in the world is definitely the good time and the dream for most guys.
Bear in mind I was coming from Ireland, bad weather, rain, cold and wind. Within a few hours later, here I am by the swimming pool. We stayed by the swimming pool for a while and it was time for us to leave.
”Funny Moustache” screamed my name loud came very close to me, looked straight into my eyes and said: “Mo, Buena Vida” I had no idea what he said or what that meant. I immediately looked at the American girl and asked what does he mean, she said: “Good Life”. There was a flash in my head came within split seconds I could see everything from the day before while being in Ireland to the next day being in Spain.
It was truly an amazing moment for me where he made me realise the beauty of life and the world we live in. No matter where or with who we are, we can have a good time just by being nice to each other. He made me realise the importance of cultures and the diversity that we have, but at the end of the day our humanity chasing the same thing in life, no matter where we are, we’re looking to have a good time. That Colombian guy with the “Funny Moustache” is one of my curious people I met.
10. Where in the world are you most curious to visit that you haven’t been?
The holy land – Palestine is definitely by far my most curious place I would love to visit. Yes, Palestine my country. People in the world don’t know half the truth about other people’s culture and diversity. People think everyone in this world has a country. (But I am not gonna start explaining now). One day i will attempt to visit my country and hopefully I will be allowed in by both governments. Perhaps I will leave it to my 100th country to visit as it would be a special one for me. Palestine is in my heart but one day I will see it with my own eyes.
You can see Mo’s website here -> www.mosaffer.com
Follow him on Twitter here -> TWITTER
Like him on Facebook here -> FACEBOOK