My father came up with The Tudung Traveller actually. I had a blog under my name and was looking to brand it, and he said, “Well, you wear the tudung, and you travel, so why not Tudung Traveller?” And that was it.
I’ve always liked travelling. When I got into NUS and was given the chance to do an exchange programme in Manchester, I took it. I had a four-day school week, so I was usually travelling around the UK over the weekend.
I went to places like Chester, Stansted and Stonehenge, but Liverpool was my favourite. That was when I started to blog and Instagram a lot. I didn’t like to call my parents, so Instagram was my way of telling them that I was still alive.
The biggest turn of events was when I broke up with my then-boyfriend in Manchester. It was Spring break and we had planned to go to Spain for his 30th birthday, but I ended up going alone.
I cried for two whole days after we broke up. It was hard getting over him because we were together for three years. We had already secured a house and were supposed to get married when we came back, but I just couldn’t be with him anymore. It was an abusive relationship, financially and emotionally.
Travelling to Spain alone was a matter of me jumping into the unknown and really putting my faith in God. When you’re alone, you can’t drown out your thoughts, and I had to come to terms with many things that I was dealing with even before the break-up.
Because of my traumatic childhood, I’ve had to deal with depression since I was 15. The messiness of the break-up worsened my anxiety disorder, but Spain spurred me to write about life, love and faith. It felt therapeutic, and people started writing in to say that they were going through the same things.
My dad always told me that you’re given blessings in life for a reason. Getting to travel is a privilege; getting to write and share is a privilege; having a large following is a privilege. He got me thinking about my purpose and what I was supposed to do with my blessings.
That was when I started to write about mental health issues because I realised that there were limited voices coming from the ground. I also started doing a lot of social work like organising Rainbows for Batam, which is a monthly trip to an orphanage in Batam.
These days, people always ask me for advice on how to follow their passion. I tell them not to follow their passion because passion changes. You should follow your purpose instead because that will be your center, and my purpose is to be a blessing to others and help people grow.” – Atika, 26
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