Amira started off as an illustrator of Muslim holiday and special occasion cards, which is what grabbed my attention at first. She and I met in Tripoli, Libya, first on FB (of course), and then in person, when I invited her to be the featured artist at my Caterpillar Café, which she happily did, by hosting a monthly kids’ craft session. You can view some of her work on the Caterpillar Cafe’s FB page. She gradually began shifting towards photography, a path that she pursued for the next few years. After the café closed, we parted ways, as we each left Libya for some time. She’s now enjoying life in Tripoli again, with her newly expanded family. I reached her via email, and she graciously agreed to this interview, in-between baby feedings and amidst all the busyness of new motherhood.
If we were to meet for the first time, what would you want me to know about you?
That if you tell me your problems, I’ll usually be thinking about a solution for them. Coming up with idealistic solutions that perhaps may annoy people. This is not intentional, it’s just that I enjoy problem solving.
You have your own blog, where you discuss your businesses, your lifestyle, your impressions on a variety of places, especially on your life in Libya, and on your minimalistic lifestyle and subsequent style choices. Yet you are a very private person, how do you balance these two sides of yourself?
I struggle with this a lot. What to share, and how to find a balance. As a passionate person, I tend to go to an extreme when pursuing something and neglect other aspects of my life. As for being private and wanting to share my experiences, I just ask myself whether what I’m sharing is beneficial. Asking constantly ‘why am I sharing this?’, if it serves a greater purpose, then I post it.
What were your goals when you set out to repatriate to Libya, after having spent most of your life in England? Did they work up to the image you had imagined, or have your goals shifted since then?
First what most people don’t know is I’ve actually lived in Libya before. From ages to 3-7 years old. It impacted my life quite dramatically even at a young age. I also lived for 6 years in Saudi Arabia which again cultivated who I am today. As for my goals shifting, I would say yes and no. My overall goals are always the same: do what I love, and contribute to society in my own way, however small. As for short term goals, they are constantly changing, and developing. Right now I’m focusing on being a mother, and promoting a zerowaste lifestyle here in Libya.
Is there something you tell yourself or do regularly to keep motivated?
Yes most definitely! I often struggle to find what makes my work different, or how to contribute. I also easily get burnt out, and want to give up. I usually remind myself that God made us all unique. Our talents, and our experiences are like no other. This helps me moving towards finding my own creative style, and message. That method of thinking means that I’m not just wasting my time.
What does minimalism mean to you?
For me minimalism came in a time in my life where I couldn’t keep up. I felt trapped in the rat race. I was spending all my time working, and editing on the computer. The times where I wanted to relax, I found I had heaps of chores to do. So much stuff getting in the way of living my life. Minimalism to me is removing the unnecessary. Keeping only what you value, so you can live a more meaningful life. Minimalism has started to become more of a style, than a method of living. I really wish people wouldn’t mistake the two, as they’re extremely different.
What’s your spice for life?
Gram masala haha! That is the literal spice of my life!
What would you like to be most remembered for?
That’s a really great question. I actually think about this a lot. Now that I have a child, this is more important. I’d like to be remembered for trying. Yes for TRYING. It’s ok if I never accomplish anything substantial. I just would hope my family will know that I was always willing to give it my best shot. Fear really just paralyzes our whole lives, and I wish to be able to say that I’ve overcome them.
What do you think we could all be doing to make the world a better place?
Find our unique talent, or what we’re passionate about, and do everything in our power to see that dream through! No matter how extreme, or simple it might be. Let that passion guide you to do your part in the world. I believe we have too many people that truly hate their jobs, because they’re not fulfilled. It’s not their true passion in life.
Amira can be found on her website, where you can also link up to her FB, Pintrest, Instagram, and Google accounts.