Matthew Vaughan, an Oxford graduate, left his comforts, luxury, and opportunities to start a family in Pakistan. His journey has been anything but bad. Matthew has not been shy in sharing his experiences and travel stories with his friends back home, who are mostly flabbergasted.
You tell them it is Pakistan and they just refuse to believe you. They just can’t believe that somewhere that beautiful exists in a place like Pakistan.
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder
Matthew has been to places like Kaghan, Hunza and the northern areas of Pakistan. While most of educated and talented Pakistanis seek opportunities abroad to live a better life. Matthew, along with his wife and son, moved to Pakistan in 2011.
Most of his friends and family did not understand the motivation behind his decision to move to a developing country.
They found it quite hard to understand why we would do that; We just graduated from Oxford University. All my friends are going into banking, civil service and stuff like that. And we were taking a minimum wage-like job in a place like Pakistan.
But the two of them were already acquainted with Pakistan’s desi culture and had come to love it. For the first twelve years of her life, Matthew’s wife lived in Islamabad with her family. After their marriage, they lived in Luton, which has a large Pakistani community.
We knew a good bunch of guys in all the best Pakistani restaurants in Luton. We were already embracing that part of the culture, I guess.
They traveled to a lot of the countries and first visited Pakistan in 2009, coming across through the Wagah Border.
The people were just really friendly and hospitable right from the start.
Originally, they came to Pakistan to serve the Church. Little did they know their love for the country could become deeper than that. Their motive to spread peace united them with this country and its people.
We just felt that these days the world is getting quite divided and there is a lot of fear and suspicion of people — especially from different religious backgrounds. We really wanted to do what we could to build peace. Especially with people from different faiths.
They had been living in Islamabad for almost 3 years when Matthew decided to write a book on Pakistan and how he has come to love this country in all its glory.
People are just so kind in this country. They are just so hospitable.
Matthew found no book like the one he had in mind, so he took it in his own hands to showcase the side of Pakistan that’s usually ignored by the media and news channels. But he knows too well to not exclude the corruption, terrorism, and unrest in the land of peace.
I don’t want to pretend that everything is okay because there are difficulties here. But it is showing just the basic kindness of people, and just the generous humanity of people in Pakistan. It really doesn’t seem to get covered.
Too good to be true
Although Matthew and his family received a lot of love, support, and attention in Pakistan, it was all too good to be true. Eventually, he had to say goodbye to the country and its people in 2018.
In a note, while reminiscing all the good times and the love he has for the country, he wrote:
And so goodbye to all that: goodbye to the beauty of the Kaghan Valley, goodbye to the breathtaking sight of the Badshahi Mosque, goodbye to the spectacular monsoon rains, goodbye to the shopkeepers and taxi drivers who force me to have chai and refuse payment, goodbye to the daal chawal and the halwa puri I love so much, goodbye to the unending generosity of the people of Pakistan, goodbye to the countless Muslims who, in an era of suspicion and anger, have greeted this Christian gora with far more kindness than I deserve. You have taught my family so much, until recently you have welcomed us so warmly, and we will always be grateful.
The reason he and his family decided to leave was due to the change in attitudes of officials towards foreigners, and though their stay here had been tremendous. Although the paranoia on part of the authorities pushed this gentleman away, he still loves the beauty that lies within Pakistan and its people.
I have tried to convey my appreciation for the untold beauty of Pakistan in my book Notes From A Sacred Land and I can assure you that my appreciation is sincere.
We all hope that Matthew has a change of heart and decides to come back to the country whose civilians will always welcome him with open arms. Have anything to add? Let us know!