Remona Aly
Friday 07 August 2015 BBC Radio 2

My Most Memorable Holiday

“My Most Memorable Holiday”: Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Vanessa Feltz Breakfast Show


My first proper road trip was back in the 90s when we decided to go on a family tour of Europe in a minibus which we hired from an old people’s home, with the words ‘Never too old for fun’ splashed on the back.

So here we were, 12 Indians crammed into a minibus embarking on an Asian invasion of the EU. We were made up of mums, dads, cousins and siblings, aged between 5 and 50, and we carted ourselves around Europe’s grand landmarks for three eventful weeks.

We journeyed through the magical waterfalls of Germany’s Black Forest, stared in awe at the lofty ceilings of the Vatican, and pranced around the idyllic mountains of Switzerland.

In the good old days before mobile phones and sat navs, we got lost repeatedly. We had to depend on actual human beings rather than technology. We were also on a shoestring budget, so we ran out of local currency several times. But it was on our European road trip that I saw faith in action – that is, putting our faith in people and seeing their acts of good faith.

Italian teenagers would leap onto their mopeds to guide us to our hotels; German families would share their picnic food with us. A Swiss lady even paid for our lunch bill when my dad ran out of francs – she did this without even telling us.

These strangers became our everyday saviours – rescuing us from some very hairy situations.  I think about those people when I hear the saying of Prophet Muhammad that goes, “All of humanity is the family of God and the most beloved to God is the one who is of most benefit to His children.”

This saying truly was played out on our road trip, from one family to another – from the wider global family to my immediate family. When I feel low about a rise in xenophobia and prejudice, I remember those moments when I saw how strangers treated us like family, and it restores my faith in the generosity of the human spirit.