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My Story: Piecing Together Elements That Make Me The Person I Am Today

I have been taking many pause and reflect moments these days in preparation to welcome the new addition to our family. These moments have inspired me to think about how my own background and experiences have shaped my life. In an effort to unravel the pieces of my own puzzle, I have made a choice to capture my thoughts through writing. Perhaps unexpected 'aha moments' may be revealed as a result. For now, five highlights come to mind that I would like to share and explore in greater depth in future posts.

1. I am so proud to be Bengali American. As a first generation female born in Indiana (not India - I get that a lot) I have learned to appreciate what it means to grow up in a multicultural household. I can totally identify with people who have written about being an ABCD - An American Born and Confused Desi. We are taught certain etiquette at home, and then are exposed to an entirely different way of living outside of our household. If you have heard this expression before, all the stories are probably true; it's so confusing. As an adult, I can appreciate what my parents were trying to do; they were trying to impart their cultural knowledge upon us because that's what they grew up with in Bangladesh, and they did a wonderful job raising all six of us (I like to call us the Bengali Brady Bunch). Queue the awkward 80's family picture below. I'm the tiny one with my tongue sticking out.

The Bengali Brady Bunch On A Family Trip
Your Typical 80's Family Photo - The Bengali Brady Bunch

2. I am Muslim. This isn't a confession or a label, but merely a part of what makes me who I am. If it comes up in conversations (which is not too often) I am always fascinated by the look of astonishment on peoples' faces. They perceive a Muslim to look a certain way, and I apparently don't fit the bill.

3. I was brought up in a household that treated boys and girls as equals. My parents raised all three boys and three girls to understand the value of education; they encouraged us to be whoever we aspired to be. And as equals, I believed that I could accomplish anything regardless of gender. Apparently this is a concept that is being discussed during our time today, and I am ever grateful to my parents for raising us this way. It's a concept that I plan to instill into our family.

4. Travel is an integral part of my life. Exploring the wonders of this world and meeting people from different cultures unleashes a sense of newfound hope and happiness that my soul constantly craves. I think back about how I was raised, and I give plenty of credit to my parents for inspiring me to be curious about all our world has to offer. My interest in travel and a career in international development sparked from living in Sri Lanka as a 10 year old watching my Dad work on projects geared toward changing people's lives. As I transitioned into my own business, I still hold those principles of creating meaningful impact at the forefront of everything I do for a living. The funny thing is that I had traveled the world for my job and continue to do so now, but I have never expressed the reason behind the motivations for my actions until now.

Sophia's First Work Trip in Western Cape, South Africa
My First Work Trip in 2006 - South Africa

5. Wellness is another important facet of my life. I have always been an active person, but something was fundamentally missing in my twenties that I couldn't pinpoint until I reached my thirties. Yoga, meditation, reiki, and becoming a life coach has placed me on a path of sanity, confidence, strength, and resilience. I have a greater sense of self awareness, and I do my best to live in the moment as humanly possible as I can. I have also learned to listen and trust my inner voice, that intuition that I used to ignore in the past.

Morning Flow Yoga, Bucuti and Tara, Aruba
Teaching a Morning Flow Yoga Class at the Bucuti and Tara Resort, Aruba

We all have such profound stories and perspectives. My overall goal here is to continue to share positivity and thought provoking dialogue amongst each other. What moments in your life have inspired you to be the person you are today?

Feel free to contact me if you would like to connect!

The inspiration behind my explorations as an individual and a traveler are inspired by this blog post written by Oneika the Traveller who highlights the importance of needing a greater representation of diverse perspectives in travel. This post is the start of an attempt to share my stories I was reluctant to do so before, but upon reading her post, I realize that I have a lot to offer. (AND if I can, so can you!)

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