Prestige talks to Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir as the founder of the online portal Zafigo and ZafigoX, the women’s travel event that helps women explore safely through informed travel and realise their full potential. Founded in 2017, ZafigoX is the a concept unique to Asia with a two-day line-up comprising of talks, panels, and workshops that brings together a community of extraordinary women, travel experts and service produces. Speaking to the social activist and writer, we discuss her vision for women shaping their lives around the enriched experiences of their travels.
The information and knowledge you gain from both Zafigo and experiences shared at ZafigoX empowers you to be more confident, independent, to travel and see more in a safe manner, and as a result, we hope, discover the life that you truly want to live and feel good. When women travel successfully, that is, they have fulfilled all their aims and intentions when they travelled and returned home safely, I would consider that a success. But more than that, if that experience caused her to feel more confident in herself, then I think Zafigo would have really nailed it.
Since discovering during my own travel experiences in Asia and the Middle East that there is a lack of necessary travel information catered specifically towards women, especially in areas of safety, dressing, customs and cultures; filling that gap, which has been my ongoing goal, is the way to go. As I always say, it’s all about knowledge because knowledge is power.
The more information they have about the places they want to go to, the more confident they’ll feel about going there. But I think what’s even more powerful is hearing stories about women who have travelled to interesting places and had a good experience, or even a bad one but they came out of it safely. Those stories are very encouraging for women.
I am hoping that we will continue to inspire women with innovative ideas on travel and inspirational talks by extraordinary women like the ones we have put up these past 3 years..
I think if we care about ourselves, we can always make time. And travel need not take a lot of time. You can see a lot in 3-5 days if you plan well and have realistic expectations. I think people worry more about the cost of travel rather than the time it takes, but there are ways of having good travel experiences without breaking the bank too.
As I’ve said before, everything is about preparing ourselves with knowledge. Being alert is a must, even in places that you think is very safe. There is no destination that does not have some degree of risk, even in our own country. There are many precautions you can take to avoid the worst things. But some things you can’t predict. So you have to make sure you know how to manage things when they go wrong. This is why platforms like Zafigo and ZafigoX exist, as it is part of our job to give women enough information to assess situations objectively and decide for themselves.
No particular quote. But I do think that everyone needs to enlarge their world by reading about other cultures and places, which is much cheaper, but nothing beats actual contact with people different from you. People love to tell visitors about their country and culture so we should give them the chance! See the world, gain new perspectives and experiences. Knowledge is power.