Solo travel- a concept that has been garnering lots of attention as more travelers are beginning to step outside of the comfort zone created by their parents, friends, and themselves. Some state that traveling alone can be quite scary, others say that the expenses can be high since there is no one to share it with and others simply say that they do not have time to travel. It might be romanticized at times but the realities of it really depend on the individual and the country.
There are several challenges of traveling alone as a female, especially when you find yourself in an Islamic country in Africa where women the majority of women are wearing hijabs or burqas.
This past November after a great debate with myself, on whether or not Egypt was worth adding to my list of solo travel, I booked a long weekend trip to Egypt. I did my research on other solo females’ experiences on their trip to Egypt. I believe that all travel experiences vary immensely but I enjoy doing the research just to feed my curiosity.
Without a doubt, this trip to Egypt has made me a strong traveler. I was more aware of my surroundings, I did not let stare frighten me and I strongly said no thank you to any inconvenience.
Prior to my trip, I was aware that visiting a country struggling economically would be make me an easy target to scammers yet I was not prepared to get harassed by children aggressively forcing me to take pictures with them, taxi drivers scamming me with extremely high prices for the cab fares, and vendors fabricating stories to make me buy their products.
Part of traveling solo is to open doors to new connections from the people of the visiting country. Luckily for me, I was able to meet a kind and outgoing young lady named Sondos, at the Egyptian Museum who offered to help me and show me around a bit. She gave me a tour of the mosque where there were several tourists and many Egyptians due to a holiday. The mosque was very beautiful and enormous, the ceilings were very high and very nicely decorated.
As a black female, traveling can be challenging especially when you look completely different from the people of that country. Although Egypt is located in Africa, Egyptians seem to be a bit disconnected from the rest of Africa (south of the Sahara Desert) and are not very accustomed to seeing darker Africans visiting. Thus, many were clearly aware that I was not from there and were mostly likely to target me for scams. It is up to you as a traveler to overcome these challenges and not let them define your travel experience. My goal is to always focus on positives such as meeting Sondos who was very kind to me and marveling at the beauty that Egypt had to offer. The positive experiences outweigh the negatives and my experiences are sacred. There is still so much I want to see, learn and experience about Egypt so I will visit the country again.