Come Travel with SF
Tell us a little bit about who you guys are?
I’m Samiya and Faizan and we are Come Travel with SF.
How did come travel with SF start?
Faizan: So before we got married, we’ve been married for 2 and half years now, so before we got married I was travelling by myself, and she was travelling by herself and then we got married! And we used to get a lot of questions from family, friends about travel, and tips- and we’re like why not just create a blog/vlog and start addressing these issues, tricks and how to get good deals and that’s how we started the blog!
Samiya: That’s how the blog started, and then what really sparked our interest was when we started travelling together after we got married, of course we like to capture photos everywhere we go and then Faizan got really interested in photography and editing and lightroom – all of those kinds of things.
Faizan: So travelling is one thing but we wanted to capture culture, the food all the landmarks! So we created a guide kind of thing - it’s for us and for our followers, who would usually ask us questions about “what’s the best food to eat there, where should we stay all that stuff” so we want to document that, so it’s easier online than people asking us.
What are some of the things you learned early on being a travel blogger?
Faizan: I think content is king! Keeping it focused. Initially I think that’s the biggest thing for me.
Samiya: I kind of learned that being a travel blogger or influencer is not as easy as it seems or looking at someone’s Instagram feed might seem like everything is perfect and how did they find all of these travels - I learned that it’s important to have a full time job which we have on the side and like our motto is “work, save, travel, repeat”- so you have to have a professional job where you can save up and I feel like …..being from Toronto and getting an education is really important, because yes we like to travel but it’s not always like putting on rose coloured glasses and just looking at the Instagram feed – it’s a lot that goes behind it! And even behind one shot that you might see it could’ve been an hour.
Faizan: So it’s a lot of prep, a lot of planning- the lighting has to be perfect! And so a lot of prep goes into it! And also standing out - obviously everyone is taking the same picture everywhere. We want to stand out! It takes a lot more effort than you think to do that.
Faizan: To be in this sector you have to be a little crazy I feel! If you’re a normal person you might not be able to do this! You might have to sit 10-15 minutes to get the perfect shot! You can’t just one click and move on.
Can you recall a moment where you really had to step outside of your comfort zone to get a shot?
Faizan: Initially….it’s Paris I’m talking about.
Samiya: I was thinking Paris too.
Faizan: We were just getting started and to be honest, we sat there for half an hour.
Samiya: I think it was an hour.
Faizan: It’s a big tourist location to be, and there’s a lot of traffic, so we waited there for at least a half just to make sure there’s no one around, for perfect lighting and what we wanted was there! So it took us half an hour to get everyone out.
Samiya: It’s funny because it was a picture of me, and you know the Louvre in the back and there is like an arch, it’s just me walking back and forth, back and forth! And him just trying to capture the image and sometimes there would be people in it, and then there wouldn’t be! But ultimately we got the shot that we wanted and it was perfect!
Faizan: And exactly, just to add back to that when you know you got the shot, you know you got it! And that’s when I’m like “We’re done, lets go home!”
Samiya: But I didn’t know so I’m still walking back and forth, and back and forth!
Faizan: But I knew what I wanted.
Samiya: Sometimes he doesn’t even tell me! So it’s like he’s got the shot, and he’s looking at it, and I’m still doing my own thing!
Faizan: I think the vision- I think for me it was having that vision and when you know what you have! So it’s just striving for that.
What have some of you favourite places been to travel together?
Samiya: For me, I think the first trip we took was Thailand.
Faizan: For our honeymoon.
Samiya: It has a special place in my heart- it was the first trip we took because we had a pretty extravagant wedding. Thailand was like the perfect balance of the beach, and some city life and getting to experience the culture and the food! The food was so good! And a lot of the food was halal, which is what we eat! And it was really nice. It’s hard to pick one favourite place.
Faizan: It’s a contrast from your North American, European culture. We’ve been to L.A where the culture is very similar, New York, Chicago - if you want to be different you gotta get out of your comfort zone that’s what it is!
Samiya: Trying their food, trying to communicate with them when they don’t speak English.
Faizan: I think because of that we like Toronto better, you appreciate the value of Toronto a lot more. Like we take all of this for granted. Like when you got to all of these cities - you’re like wow!
Samiya: Like sometimes you see people who are less fortunate - and it makes you appreciate what you had growing up and maybe like coming to this country, I was born here but Faizan or like my parents who came at a young age and maybe they didn’t have everything that we have today. So when we travel we appreciate Toronto more- we see that people see our Home is Toronto gear or Toronto vs. Everybody gear- and that makes us more approachable. So people come up to us and say “Hey, you’re Canadian, where are you from?”
Faizan: More in the States, “what’s Drake up to?” So we always get that a lot! We’re surprised actually the amount of people that know the Six, and as long as we wear “Toronto vs. Everybody” Repping Toronto, you know what I mean.
So you bought your first Toronto vs. Everybody shirt in 2017, What was it like when you found out about Peace Collective ?
Samiya: I think our first purchase, we saw it all over social media and we saw people going to the Raptor’s game and wearing that Toronto vs. Everybody. That’s when our initial spark started for us. When we first purchased we’re like “wow this looks cool, it’ll be fun to wear on our adventures but then the feedback that we got from tourists or other Canadians we came across, that blew my mind! That was insane. It’s crazy what Toronto means to people from across the world. We saw this in Hawaii, we this in Mexico, Paris, and Spain and Morocco! We wore the shirt in Morocco- and it makes us more approachable. People were more willing to come up to us and have a conversation. And then some people ask “where are you actually from?” and at first I might’ve been offended because I’m like “I’m born in Toronto, I’m raised in Toronto” but everyone is born somewhere, and raised somewhere- so there’s history! So my mom came here from Pakistan, and my dad came from India! So that’s the special thing about Toronto- everyone has some history, there is so much diversity and that speaks volumes! So I mean everyone reacted so well to Peace Collective garments that we bought more. We started getting Canadian built.
Faizan: I think it’s the pride! Like everyone here’s Toronto and is like “Ohh yea!” I think a lot of people have good connections or good stories to tell about to Toronto.
Samiya: Everyone is friendly.
Faizan: So they talk about Drake, it’s just a good way to connect with everyone! Tourists, locals, raptors! Toronto vs. Everyone or Peace Collective, it’s all those things connecting with multiple cultures the artists, the city, the 6ix.
What’s one memory you’ve had about someone stopping you with the Peace Collective gear while travelling?
Samiya: So the Empire State Building. Everyone knows the I heart New York shirts, like I love New York, I heart New York. I even have one of those from when I went to New York with my friends in 2010. So everyone buys those shirts. This time when we went together, we were wearing Toronto vs. Everybody and the security guard, he stopped us and we were “oh no! Why is he stopping us right?” and he’s like “Everyone comes to New York and buys I heart NY shirts, and here you guys are repping your city” and that just made us feel more proud, and from Toronto. You see people reading your shirts when you’re walking down the street and the guy, we first got scared thinking what is he going to say but he turned out to be really friendly. And that’s something that these are memories that help stay with you forever, and not only like tell everyone else that you’re from Toronto, but your remember that kind of people that you interact with on your travels.
Faizan: For me that one I remember was this girl who was walking by and she read our shirt and I think it was Toronto vs. Everybody but she was from Vancouver! So she got a little offended, and was like “oh what about Vancouver” because I think at that time you didn’t have any Vancouver gear! She was like, “why aren’t you repping Vancouver” and we’re like “but we’re from Toronto” so she actually moved from Vancouver, I can’t remember now- to New York we went to. She was like you should be repping all of Canada, and not just Toronto.
Samiya: So next time we wore Canadian Built, and so we connected with more Canadians on our travels.
Faizan: It was funny because when we wore the Toronto vs. Everybody we found out how many people actually moved from Toronto and have gone to different cities. They’re like yeah we’ve grown up there, or moved to work or for whatever reasons! So it was eye-opening for me. So many people are actually from Toronto and are somewhere else now. Toronto is home for them. When they see that, they want to connect, they want to talk to us. How’s it been? How’s Drake? How’s the Raptors?
Samiya: Too many people talk about Drake.
Faizan: Drake yeah! What is he up to?
Samiya: My other favourite memories so we were in Positano, going to Positano, from Amalfi so along the Amalfi coast. So this was just maybe in September/October last year and there was a rainstorm, so we couldn’t take the boat across. So we had to get on a really crowded bus. A 2-3 hour bus ride, a lot of people were standing and it was just not…. Anyways. So we were on this bus going from Positano from Amalfi, and I was wearing the Canadian Built, and there was somebody across the bus, they were an old couple and travelling and they pointed it out, and I don’t even know how they saw my shirt in this crowded bus and they pointed out “hey where are you from?” and i’m like “From Toronto” and they’re like “We’re from Ottawa!” and so we kind of like shifted and made our way through the bus to get closer together! We just got to know about Ottawa, I went to Ottawa as a child and I remember things like Parliament hill and things like that. But just the fact that they spotted our shirt from a crowded bus and we ended up connecting over that, and we told them about Toronto and they told us about Ottawa. It’s something I’m going to always remember. There were other couples from the United States, visiting and they joined in our conversation because they said they hear that Canadians are very friendly! So that was their segue into our conversation- so the shirts and the brand have been a really good conversation starter!
Both: Just to sum it up yeah!
Faizan: Recently we’ve been getting gifts from other people, and they know we love the brand so much! So it’s a good thing.
Samiya: I see so many people wearing Toronto vs. Everybody, or Home is Toronto- just throughout the GTA.
You’ve been married for 2 and a half years now, How’s being married helped you grow & what lessons have you learned?
Faizan: I think for me it’s about picking your battles. I’m particular about certain things, like I’m a creative person and so I’m particular about certain things and she is also creative, and she’s particular about certain things.
Samiya: I’m particular about a lot of things.
Faizan: So that’s the things. You have to pick your battles, you’re not going to win every single one of them.
Samiya: You have to compromise!
Faizan: Compromise- but there are certain things that you cannot compromise and you have to make it clear. So there are important things to you, and you have to be clear about that. The other person should understand that and vice-versa. I think knowing those differences and making sure that you met those goals.
Samiya: I think for me, also pick your battles but also just there’s a big difference from being on your own and thinking about yourself, being single and before being married. And then moving in together and then having to think about the other person. And honestly when you love each other, you want the other person to be happy. So when you do have to compromise sometimes, you look for ways to make the other person happy! So sometimes for instance, when we’re travelling- before we got married, I would only travel to places where there would be beach close by. I would love going to Costa Rica, Punta Cana or somewhere tropical and that’s all I wanted to do. I just wanted to be near the water. But after being married, you have to think about the other person too. You have to think about what he likes. And he likes learning about history and culture and architecture- and so there’s so much culture around the world. Before being married,I wouldn’t think about visiting a place like Spain or Europe or Paris. I was always like take me to a beach. And I’ve come to appreciate that. He’s opened up my eyes to so many things and just a different outlook on life when it comes to travelling and even not travelling.
Faizan: So to be open minded, like you might be particular about certain things but you should open up! And hear what the other person has to say or experience, or do the activities that they like. Because everyone has something to gain, so just try to find that, and the benefit and experience that you can get out of it! So it can be the same, you are two different people with two different personalities! But just try to find something out of it, to make yourself happy or your soul happy.
Samiya: And I find that we push each other to be the best versions of ourselves, so like before being married you wouldn’t have gone sky-diving and I’m like more of the adventure seeker, so like zip-lining, and like edge walk on the CN Tower, and I’ve always wanted to do these crazy things and after we got married I made him go snorkelling, made him go skydiving, we’ve done the CN Tower 360.
Faizan: We’re thinking of bungee jumping now, so I wasn’t as adventurous before even rollercoasters so she really pushed me. And I’m really happy about that. That’s the things, somebody has to push me a little bit. I want to do it, but I just need motivation.
Samiya: To get out of the comfort zone.
Faizan: And I think she really pushed me. She has done that.
What are some of the hardest things about marriage?
Faizan: I think for me, it’s the money management. Sometimes you want to make sure that you save enough, because you have to pay mortgage, you have to fund your travels.
Samiya: Emergency funds. I would say that’s true.
Faizan: You have to plan a little bit, and you might fight a little bit. I want to invest a little bit and then it’s just a little hasty or it could be… there is a risk. So we always talk about it.
Samiya: For me, for money management, I’ve always been a big saver and generally I’m risk-averse. I know that about myself, I’ve always known that about myself. I like to have an emergency fund, and if I don’t have an emergency fund then I won’t be investing my money. Faizan wants to invest his money in hopes of getting higher returns, obviously it’s going to earn more money than my emergency fund sitting in my TFSA- so he’s more willing to take the risk, and I’m not. It just comes down to just having different personalities. So even before you get into marriage, you may think that this person is just like me, and we’re so similar and everything is great. Yeah but everyday you’re learning something new about your partner, and you evolving. It’s not like the person you married is going to stay the exact same as what they were in their 20s, or teenagers. Everyone changes, and you have to help your partner grow and that comes with challenges right.
Faizan: It would be boring if we both were the same, what’s the fun in that? Before we got married, we’re like we’re so similar! But we’re actually quite different. And I think the beauty is in that. If we’re the same like…
Samiya: It makes you stronger.
Faizan: She compliments and me and it’s the same thing. I think it’s good to be different.
How important is communication?
Faizan: Communication is key. I’m not the best communicator, I’m the quiet person but she’s the total opposite. So I’ll hear everything because she’s really vocal but I’m not very vocal.
Samiya: So sometimes I don’t know what’s going on with him.
Faizan: So it’s just a different style but I mean you have to be open. Even if you don’t know what’s happening inside you, you should just let it out.
Samiya: So communication is key, if I don’t know what’s happening in his head, sometimes it’s like he may be thinking something I would totally agree with it but I don’t know that, that’s what he’s thinking. Unless he finds a way to communicate, or even myself. Sometimes if I’m upset, I’ll just go an do my own thing and have my “me-time” but sometimes it’s just better to get it out, and talk about it because it just helps the other person understand what’s going on in your head, kind of what I’m thinking is wrong and i have a misunderstanding and I won’t know that until he speaks up, and he won’t know that until I speak up.
Faizan: I think it’s important to create a safe zone! So like, once you have that you can open up to each other. Then it’ll be better. And it takes a while to creating that safe zone but I think that again, when you have the safe zone, different people have different personalities, and different ways of communication.
Samiya: And sometimes you’ll disagree to disagree.
Faizan: Sometimes you have different ways of communicating, you might not be super aggressive or expressive, you’re more tamed, more internally taking it first and then talking about it. Sometimes you just have different ways of communicating and it’s okay.
Samiya: And some post I read on Instagram said it’s okay sometimes to not talk about it right away. So sometimes it’s better to sleep on it. Of course some say not to go to bed angry, of course don’t go to bed angry but sometimes you don’t need to resolve all conflicts before going to bed, or before starting your day. Sometimes, taking some time helps process your own thoughts, and helps you understand what the other person is thinking. Agree to disagree, and come back to it when you’re more calm and when it’s a better time to discuss. And I never used to believe that before, I would think you need to talk about everything right away and resolve everything we disagree on right away. But with time, 2 and a half years, I realized that sometimes it’s better to take a breather, do your own thing, and come back to it. You generally are able to deal with it.
Faizan: And I think for me it’s that you go to sleep, and you wake up and it’s a new day- and you sometimes forget about some of the things, and I’m not saying to forget about everything but it’s just it’s a different groove. It’s just the sunlight, the morning makes me happy! It’s just the mood swing when you see the sun, and then you just forget.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to travel more?
Samiya: Save up.
Faizan: I think be flexible a bit! So obviously summer is the peak season, it’s expensive. Try to fly off-season if you can because you’ll beat the crowd and get the best prices- on hotels, on flights, on even food sometimes. I think that’s the first thing that comes to my mind.
Samiya: If you’re looking to travel, save up! Like I said, money management is important to me and if you can save up, and plan out your vacations on where you want to go. Maybe some of the things like findings dealings, using websites like yyzdeals or next departure. These websites send you alerts when there is a really good deal and sometimes the deals expire in 2 days or whenever they sell out. So just having this at the back of your mind, and being flexible! So like Faizan and I never had planned to go to Hawaii, but then we got this alert in December and we went to Hawaii- and we made some of the best memories that we could’ve ever imagined and we learned so much about the culture, so be open to new opportunities, save up, buy Peace Collective gear to represent where you’re actually from, and just be open to new opportunities.
Faizan: Be spontaneous and keep on thinking about things! So let's say you want to do something, just do it!