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With Sabira Mehrin of Wander Woman: Creating a community of independent women travelers

Like many patriarchal societies, girls need permission to do basic things in life– to stay out after dark, to get a job, to make their own career choices. In this context, there are still women who are pushing boundaries and venturing out on their own. One big change is that more woman are now travelling and seeking adventure.

Read more: These 4 apps will make traveling a lot easier

What is Wander Woman?

Among many things, Wander Woman is a travel company– by women, just for women. Wander Woman started out as a Facebook group but is growing into so much more. The group currently has 10,030 members.

Wander Woman comes with one sole purpose – bringing all women together in one platform to share the love for travelling around the world.

Travelers post their tips, ask for help to navigate blocks in their journey and share their stories. Solo travelers can also coordinate with each other, form groups for short trips based on common interests.

Read more: 5 countries you can travel to without a visa if you’re Bangladeshi

Who is Sabira Mehrin?

Sabira Mehrin is the founder of Wonder Woman. She is full of life and full of determination. She is trying to bring women together, help them travel and see the world, while creating a community of cool explorers that help each other.

She is also efficient. She has to figure out how to deal with her biggest challenge in administering a facebook group and keeping the group authentic. “I was very picky! I only wanted member with authentic profile, with legitimate work portfolios- and it was extremely hard to administer the group. So I made the best use of all my time- in traffics, and such.”

Why Wander Woman?

In a little more than 12 months, Sabira Mehrin has turned a small Facebook group into a full-fledged start-up. But what made her want to create this group in the first place?

“When I was a student in IBA, I used to participate in global business competitions and conferences. All of them were organized by big companies. So whenever I traveled, I never faced any kind of hassle in the process of purchasing tickets and all. All of these were done by the professionals.

But when I got into job and started planning a self-funded trip for myself for the first time, I realized I only knew few people who could give me the right kind of information. Also, while researching, I came across very few Bangladeshi travel bloggers. So I saw the lack of information, the discrimination, and saw that the issues were mostly for the women. And I thought, how can I create a platform that makes it easier for women to travel? And my best friend gave me the idea to start the group- just to assess the situation. I opened the group and added 200 people. And from there it started to grow, and it didn’t stop!”

Why do people trust Wander Woman?

There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to woman and travel- including safety, reliability and of course, trust issues. However, the closed nature of the group, the direct interactions and careful moderation has led to a thriving community with trust.

When we asked this question, Sabira exclaimed with genuine surprise, “I don’t know! They just do! I have spoken to so many parents about permissions and stuff, and they all seem to come around after talking to me! And I feel privileged to be blessed with this type of trust. So if anyone has trouble getting permission for solo trips, just show your parents our group! Let them see that it is safe, and we will do our best to give you the best experience possible!”

What’s next?

What’s not next is a typical, commercial agency. Sabira keeps that in mind as she finds partners to help her build the community. “When we first started out, a lot of travel agencies reached out to us. But I soon figured they were all being very commercial. We would prefer if we could find people who were more interested in building the community with us.

Sabira has big plans for Wander woman for 2019. “Wander woman got registered”, she said. “We want to make travelling more accessible to the students in near future. And I know that people believe that wander woman is a little too niche, but I refuse to compromise the quality of our packages. So we might not reach out to the the mass market just yet. Let’s see what happens!”

Read more: 5 tips for the solo traveller in Bangladesh

Tips for a solo traveller?

Sabira is an avid traveller. So when we asked her for tips she said, “Solo travelling is about two things- courage and planning. You don’t have to be fearful, necessarily, but you need to be cautious. So while some places are safer than others, you can still make the best of your situation by being smart. I have come across so many helpful people, help was coming from unexpected places whenever I was in a pinch. That was really surprising for me.”

Read more: 4 Bengali traveling myths that are completely wrong

So if you are a girl and you love travelling, do check out their group! Because there is something for everyone!

Planning a Date? Here are 10 things you could try

As bustling it is, Dhaka can be a dark and dreary place when you are trying to date someone. Planning a date here is almost impossible because of the lack of interesting activities. After all, just how long can you spend eating at various restaurants and listening to sub-par music? You have to start getting to know the person you are with at some point. And that doesn’t happen at restaurants.

Also read: 5 signs that says that your first date is going south

Lucky for you, we have come up with a list of activities that you can try out with your loved one. Hence, the next time you are planning a date, give these places a go.

Go play

You do not need your own “playroom” (yes, that was a 50 shades reference) to have fun. There are a number of places in Dhaka where you can try out games like bowling, shooting, pool or laser tag. These places are great to see your date in a competitive light. Check out The Ultimate Fun Factory, for example. Look up places that are easy on your schedule and wallet. After that you just need to go and have fun.

Clay station

The art of pottery has been around for thousands of years, and it will never go out of style. So if you want to spend some quality time with your beloved, try taking a package at Clay Station. They have a range of packages where you can make your own pottery, or you can simply pick one and colour it. This will be a new experience for both you and your date, and you will have a lasting souvenir.

Plan a study date!

Not everyone is into books. But everyone needs to study every once in a while. So if you have an upcoming exam, or you need you catch up on some work, do it together. Find a nice, quiet library where you can spend time together as well as being productive.

Take a class

Be it baking, dancing or yoga- taking a class together is a great way to bring out the best in both of you. By choosing to learn something together you get to see completely new sides of the person you are with. And that can be a very pleasant surprise. So do a little research and see what piques your interest.

Go to an open mic

There are a number of cafes in Dhaka that arrange open mic nights regularly. Go check these events out. Every once in a while, lose yourself in a cup of coffee and interesting performances. These are surely going to entertain you.

Go see Puran Dhaka

Puran Dhaka is a place shrouded in history, mystery and culture. It has beautiful places you can explore, delicious food you can taste, and enigmatic alleys that will give you a feeling of adventure. So take a day off and just roam around Puran Dhaka. You will love it.

Go to festivals

Dhaka has a number of festivals going on throughout the year. Make a list of festivals you want to attend- from Sakrain to lit fest to folk fest. Then just enjoy your time.

Gulshan avenue window shopping

Just roam around Gulshan Avenue and check out the extravagant shopping places. You don’t have to buy anything, just look around and have fun.

Art galleries

Art galleries in Dhaka hold exhibitions throughout the year. Spend some time in this exhibitions and indulge yourself in the mystery of art.

Volunteering

This is a particularly decent way to get to know the person you are dating. Do they care about the society? Are they willing to give back to the community? Do they have basic empathy for humans and animals alike? Knowing the answers to these questions are especially important if you are thinking of a commitment. Ask around for volunteering opportunities, and see what clicks.

A word of advice- dating will always be hard. Put as much effort as you can to spice it up. This will make the challenges of dealing with another human being much more bearable.

Good luck, and have fun!