Meet the Team
Sophia Khalid, Girls Group Holiday Founder
Hello, I’m Sophia, a compulsive reader, a human rights advocate and a travel addict. I believe something magical happens when you travel, you start to see the world and life in general in a different way. It changes your perspective; it makes you appreciate things and it turns you into a storyteller.
I can sit for hours and tell you about my journey through China, from Beijing to Hong Kong on a 23- hour direct train, and me being the only non-Chinese person on the entire train. Or about the time in Alexandria, Egypt when I was welcomed into an Egyptian family and experienced my first Egyptian wedding henna night, after which I became a fan of Egyptian music! The time I cycled from Switzerland to France, I love how impressed people get. I was staying in Geneva on the border of France, so it sounds more epic than it was. And then that time I was invited to the stage to sing a Bollywood song in Istanbul. With an audience of hundreds, my legs and my voice were shaking, I barely knew the chorus, but I felt invigorated with that microphone in hand.
One day I hope to write a book, about the good times, the bad times and those downright bizarre times – there have been so many.
Travelling completely transformed my life. It gave me the inner confidence I had always lacked. If I had not travelled, I doubt I would have gone on to achieve even half of the extraordinary things I went on to achieve. It took me out of my day to day reality and enabled me to see the bigger, brighter picture. Although I travelled mostly alone, along the way I met strangers who fast became good friends – now we share some incredibly special bonds. I have some of the juiciest stories to relay back to my grandchildren in old age, about my daring adventures and stacks of photographs, lipsticks and jewellery (I don’t buy magnets or keyrings as souvenirs instead I collect lipsticks and jewellery). As well as countless beautiful, bewildering and life-enriching memories, cherished moments that will always bring a huge smile to my face and a gladdened heart, so full of gratitude to have been blessed with the gift of travel.
However, I know it’s not always easy and I understand many of the challenge’s girls and women face. I have been there myself. The cultural challenges, persuading your family or feeling too nervous to take the scary first step and go alone because your friends are too busy with other commitments. I was all the above. That’s why I started Girls Group Holiday in 2016 and made it my mission to make travel accessible to more women, especially women from Asian and Ethnic backgrounds. I want other women, like me, to feel the joy and possibility travel will bring into their lives.
Since we started, we’ve had just under one hundred women travel with Girls Group Holiday, women of all ages, and all backgrounds, from all corners of the UK. I’ve seen transformations, I’ve been told we’ve changed lives and I’ve felt the warmth of beautiful friendships blossoming. It’s a beautiful thing when women come together, united and in celebration of themselves. When I started, I didn’t envisage how far we would come or how far we would go (Hong Kong being the furthest destination) and I had no idea how many extraordinary women I would have the pleasure of travelling with and now calling friends.
So, whatever your background might be. Whether you have a high-flying career, you’re a stay at home mum, a housewife, a student or don’t fit into any of the above boxes. Whether you’ve never travelled before, or you’re looking to travel with new friends. Whatever your story is, I welcome you to travel with Girls Group Holiday and I look forward to getting to know you.
Aisha has a passion for all things creative, she’s not a minimal kind of girl and loves how funky prints and vibrant colours have the power to uplift and energise her. She’s developed a connection to photography and graphics, she loves to capture a feeling and she especially appreciates art that has a concept behind it. She has had her work exhibited and has designed the front cover of a series of
books. Aisha has two favourite places in the world Scotland and Palestine. Scotland for its greenery and glens, the cobbled streets and the sound of bagpipes playing as you approach the Royal Mile. Palestine because it left her heart so full, from the generosity of the people and hearing the beautiful recitation of the Azaan from all around the old city.
Aisha was glad when she came across Girls Group Holiday, it meant she didn’t have to wait for family, friends or even a husband to travel. Although she was nervous at first, she felt reassured after expressing her feelings. Before becoming an ambassador, Aisha attended the Bangkok and Phuket Girls Group Holiday. She was grateful for the opportunity to meet new people, something that is harder to do when you get older and come out of a social setting such as education. The
sisterhood and the bond from the trip still remains.
Husna started her corporate career early, and although she enjoyed it, there were moments where she felt an emptiness, something was missing. She recently took the brave step to quit her job and she jumped on a plane to Tanzania where she stayed for a few months volunteering with a local community. This experience opened her up to a whole new world, new experiences and most
importantly a newly formed family.
Husna’s favourite place in the world is Mauritius, it has it all sun, beaches, good food and good people (plus her mother was born there, so she’s a little biased!). The history of Mauritius is enticing and undeniably powerful for such a small island and it always fascinates her when she thinks about how her family came about to settle and build a community there. Husna was drawn to how natural and comfortable the whole Girls Group Holiday experience was, it was an environment which she felt was genuine and safe. Having been on two trips with Girls Group
Holiday, before becoming an ambassador, she sees that it is not only a network for like-minded women to meet, mingle and make memories together, but it is also a community and family of women who are supportive, inspiring and fun.
Sannah is a self-confessed foodie, whether it’s sweet, savoury or spicy she will savour every last bite, crumb or drop. When visiting a new place, she makes a mental list of the national delicacies and goes on a mission to try them all.
Sannah’s favourite place in the world is Istanbul, it amazes her each time she visits. Whether that be the; serenity of the various Masjids and places of Ziyarat around Istanbul, or hidden gems like bright Balat, with quirky coffee shops or the bustling pier of Eminonu. Istanbul gives her a sense of peace, like no other place.
Girls Group Holiday will always have a special place in Sannah’s heart, the first time she went on an aeroplane and her first time going away was on the Athens Girls Group Holiday. It was an experience that helped her grow as a person and developed her confidence in so many ways. After attending her first trip Sannah went on to join five subsequent Girls Group Holidays – she got the travel bug!
What makes the holidays so special for Sannah, is that she got to meet so many wonderful women, who she probably would not have ever met in day to day life.