When Maliha Masood burned out at work and needed to explore her roots, she found that travel was the way to do it. She bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East in search of adventure and reconnection to her family's heritage.
The book is filled with stories not only of the destinations she visited, but her journey to becoming an independent and fulfilled traveler as well.
Masood explores the language, culture and local people along the way. She tells of renting an apartment in Cairo and interactions with nearby residents and newfound friends along the way. She incorporates her unique perspective as a Muslim raised in the United States and ways she first blended in on the surface, but not always culturally. From the pages:
She has a Muslim name and a vaguely Arab face smothered in a head scarf, but she can't form a coherent sentence in Arabic, Jamila must have thought.
There is also her time spent in the Sahara desert and being mistaken for a spy in Turkey. Masood writes in a clean style with plenty of humor and honesty.
Zaatar Days, Henna Nights should be on the bookshelf of any traveler seeking inspiration and for glimpses into the life and experiences of a long-term traveler to the Middle East.