It's no secret that it's a difficult time to be Muslim in the United States.

Take for example the rising rates of anti-Muslim hate crimes. Or the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the Muslim ban. Or the misguided "anti-Sharia" marches that descend upon U.S. cities several times a year. Or the time when President Trump told CNN that he believes "Islam hates us."

As a result, a lot of Muslims feel as if they're treated as outsiders or enemies of the state.

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Trigger warning: This discusses surviving sexual assault while traveling.

A year ago, I was shattered — a complete ghost of the confident independent woman I had grown to be.

I had just spent an amazing few weeks exploring Morocco, which is one of my favorite countries. I felt welcomed everywhere I went. Yes, there were inappropriate stares, comments, and sometimes very quick touches that I wished hadn't happened, but nothing beyond the usual harassment I receive as a female traveler.

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On edge of the Sahara Dunes, a few miles outside of the Moroccan town of Merzouga, a camel named Omalise seems to suspect something is up.

On her back is a bulky contraption — a tall fabric seat held in place by metal piping and tied down with a tangle of unfamiliar straps.

Image by Eric March via Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants.

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It's a fact: Every year, we're spending more and more time looking at our phones.

Estimates indicate that on average Americans spend anywhere from three to five hours on their smartphones every day. That's an astoundingly high number — and the perfect excuse for a little perspective.

There's an extraordinary world buzzing all around us, and we miss so much of it staring endlessly at our tiny screens. You say your busy life won't let you escape to some of our planet's most remarkable places? Not to worry. You can bring those places back home to your phone.

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