How I travel: Founders of Kind By Design talk post-pandemic bucket lists and sustainable travel tips

Hayley Kadrou
Jun 7, 2021

Dubai-based entrepreneurs Sophia Sheikh and Lale Faheem talk us through their favourite travel moments, bucket list destinations, and their sustainable travel rules.

Sophia Sheikh and Lale Faheem launched Kind By Design in 2020; a women-led startup fueled by the passion for designing organic and sustainable products that embrace simplicity without compromising on quality. “We aim to offer aesthetically pleasing objects, but with a higher purpose in mind,” said Sophia Sheikh, Co-founder of Kind by Design.

And those principles carry on into their personal life, and well as their work. Not least, when it comes to travelling.

Kind By Design Founders, Sophia Sheikh and Lale Faheem, discuss their travel rituals. Image Credit | Kind By Design

The first place on my post-pandemic travel list…

Sophia: For me, it’s got to be London. I haven’t seen some of my family in over a year and I miss the rain (never thought I would say that when I lived there). I grew up in London so a bit of me still thinks of that as home.

Lale: I am fortunate to have been in Dubai during the pandemic, though I am craving time away with friends in the Mediterranean. Maybe Ibiza.

My top-three holiday destinations are…

Sophia: Although this changes periodically, for now, my favourite holiday spots are Sri Lanka, Istanbul and Cape Town. Each of them is enriching, inspiring and nothing I imagined them to be. I think, any location with history, some nature and a strong sense of culture will do it for me.

Lale: Morocco, Japan and Maldives. Each, in their own way, turns you into a storyteller and an artist. The sights, sounds and smells leave a unique imprint on you.  

The thing I love most about travelling is… 

Both: We both have a bit of wanderlust in us. The quote; “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” pretty much sums up how important travel is to us and our way of life.

Morroco and Cape Town feature in Sophia and Lale’s treasured holiday destinations. Credit | Unsplash

The trip that changed my life was… 

Sophia: Karachi, January 2019. My daughter was born and it completely changed my outlook on everything, and I mean everything! From career choices, relationships, my lifestyle and just wanting to be a better person.

Lale: Yet to come!

When I travel, I pack… 

Both: ‘Light packers’ is not a word that would have described us, but in recent times we have realised that to experience more, we have to let go of some baggage … wisdom in more than one way.

On my travels, I always search for

Sophia: Places off the beaten track, away from the tourist spots. I always do a walking food tour with a local guide. You learn so much from them about the city, that you would otherwise never know. 

Lale: Where the locals live, eat and hangout … those are precious discoveries that you can’t find online … and really enrich my travels. 

When researching a holiday destination, I always…

Both: Read reviews, check Instagram and scour the internet.

I keep myself entertained while travelling by…

Sophia: What I think I will do (relax, read, watch a movie) and what I actually do are very different.  Now it’s more along the lines of keeping my daughter entertained while still getting some downtime.

Lale: I am always curious while on my travels, so I talk to strangers. I hear about commonalities and differences and walk away learning something new.

The Kind By Design Founders aim to support local artisans when on their travels. Image credits/Unsplash

I travel sustainably by… 

Both: Walk, shop local, support local artisans, restaurants and businesses and generally, be true to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The best destination for sustainable travel is… 

Both: Staying close to home. The last year or so has certainly shown us how much we have on our own doorstep. From mountains, wadis, sea and sand – we have a lot to choose from here in the UAE and it’s great to support local hospitality and tourism.

Travel inspires my work by…

Sophia: Giving me so much more to think about. There’s so much to learn from other places and their practices. 

Lale: I evolve; ”If you can change your mind, you can change your life,” said William James.

Kind By Design founders, Sophia and Lale, create sustainable candles. Image | Kind By Design

I never travel without…

Sophia: An adaptor plug, a pair of heels – you never know when you need them. Oh, and a shawl because I’m always cold.

Lale: My Epi-pen, a scarf and now a sanitiser.

I dream about going back to…

Both: Marrakech – coincidently, for this is true for both of us!

My perfect travel partner is…

Both: We’re happy to travel with anyone that will embrace the new, keep an open mind and is low maintenance. They must like walking, must not take things too seriously and bring some comedic value to the trip – because who doesn’t like to laugh on vacation.

Brazil features on Sophia’s travel bucket list. Credit | Getty

On my bucket list is…

Sophia: Japan, New Zealand and Brazil.

Lale: South Africa, a trip on the Trans-Siberian Orient Express and New Zealand.

Read more How I Travel interviews here, from the AdventureFaktory couple sharing all to Robert Irwin chatting wildlife adventures around the globe.