Getting lost at a holiday destination can be fun and is really nothing to worry about says Nadiyah Shahab, as long as she has friends with her. However, the 24-year-old Singaporean admits that she does get a little bit panicky when she is left stranded at an unknown place without a phone or a map.
That is basically the concept of Lost At SEA, a travel programme that GOAsean (Astro Ch 737) is currently filming around South East Asia. It has Nadiyah going to different cities in the region every week with a series of clues and not much else, not even a guidebook.
Her first destination was Yangon, Myanmar, and right now she’s travelling in a jungle somewhere in Sarawak. “If you don’t hear anything from me in four days, please call for help,” she jokes … we think.
Like every modern citizen of the world, she found it “horrible not having a phone.”
She laments: “I kept reaching for my phone because I wanted to Google where I needed to go there or get some words translated, but I couldn’t because it was confiscated.”
Fortunately, she found the locals at Yangon to be friendly and helpful.
“I was worried that I would delay the production which would make us all miss our flights. But the locals were really nice.”
It only takes a few minutes into a conversation with the bubbly host to realise that Nadiyah – full name, Sharifah Nadiyah Syed Fuad Al Shahab – can make friends easily. According to her, being affable and candid allowed her to complete her tasks.
“I could approach any random strangers, be it a driver or just a person on the road, and they turned into someone you can rely on,” she recalls. “Random strangers are really friends you haven’t met.”
The 1.7m-tall host gives an example: “When I first came to Kuala Lumpur, I knew this one person. And that one person introduced me to other people. Now I have so many friends in KL.”
Perhaps the fact that her father’s family is originally from Yemen, while her mother’s family are from Indonesia, is what makes this pretty lass consumed by wanderlust. In recent times, Nadiyah has gone to Cebu, Bangkok, Surabaya and Yogyakarta with a group of two or three friends.
The eldest of two siblings, Nadiyah works as a model (a job she has been doing for more than a year now), reads law (she currently a third year law student doing the University Of London’s external programme) and attends acting class (to help with her hosting job).
Landing the hosting gig, she says, is a dream come true. “I have always watched travel shows and thought I would love to go around to these places. But I never thought that I would actually be hosting a travel show myself!”
1. How did you get this job?
The production house had seen my travel photos online, and sent me an e-mail for a casting call. The casting call was held the very next day and it was a national holiday then and all the flights to KL were sold out. There were only buses available.
I knew I had to grab this opportunity so I took the bus. The traffic jam was so bad that the journey took 12 hours. Now I can write a whole book on how to hold your bladder for 12 hours!
2. How different is hosting from modelling?
Hosting is completely different because I have to look and speak confidently. I have to be attentive and alert at all times because I don’t want to end up making the team shoot 10 takes just because I couldn’t get things right.
3. What is your ideal holiday?
I am not a city person, so my ideal holiday is to run away to the islands or the jungles. I like to just relax and do nothing.
My favourite holiday destination so far is Cebu. It’s a place that is not commercialised and untouched. Did you know that you could swim with sharks, like right next to it without any barriers?
I even touched one, though not on purpose. It swam under me and it touched my feet. I also went cliff diving. But the best part is canyoning; the waterfalls there are so clear and magical.
4. If you were lost on an island, who do you want with you?
I’d want my mother with me. Hey, a girl’s gotta eat. My mother has a solution for everything. She’d probably build me a bamboo raft or something. So yes, I’d import her to be with me on the island.
5. What do you hope to be doing in five years time?
I don’t even know what I am dong next week (laughs). Hopefully, I’d be be hosting a travel programme, exploring amazing destinations. I hope I would’ve gained some sort capability as a travel host by then. I am really green now.