Courtesy of Sarah Richards
Traveller and blogger Sarah Richard’s video “10 things you need to know before coming to Egypt” shatters some of the perceptions foreigners might have about Egypt, while also giving tips on how to travel the huge country. The video has close to 500,000 views and 11,500 shares on social media, and the comments section is drowning in positive remarks.
Egypt Today reached out to the travel writer for more of her views on Egypt and how the media portrays the country.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
My name is Sarah, originally I’m from the UK, but I left six years ago to travel the world—and I'm still going! I accidentally came to Egypt, you could say; I was in Jordan scuba diving and left my scuba bag in my friend’s car. As scuba diving is a huge part of my life, there’s no way I could travel anywhere without certain equipment so I had to get it back ASAP. He mentioned he was off to Dahab the following week and I could meet him there to collect it. And that’s literally how I ended up in Egypt. Once I arrived in Dahab I immediately knew it wouldn’t be somewhere I would be leaving anytime soon, and as my job is online, I thought why not make it my base and work from there. I lived in Dahab for three months until I moved to the more bustling Sharm El-Sheikh to continue work on my scuba dive website www.girlsthatscuba.com and of course discover the rest of Egypt. I’ve been here for six months now, but I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface!
How do you feel about the feedback “10 things you need to know before you come to Egypt” has received?
I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of love I have received from releasing this video. Every time I glance at my inbox it’s full of Egyptians thanking me for promoting their country and allowing others to see another side than the one the media shows. I’m trying to reply to every message, but there are literally thousands. Each and every one brings a huge smile to my face.
Why do you think Egyptians were so quick to endorse the video and its message?
Egypt is having such a hard time in the media. As I said in the last point, “The media hates on Egypt”—it’s almost like the media will make up a story about Egypt, if they have nothing else to report on. I think if you ask any young foreign girl if they would travel alone to Egypt you would be greeted with a shocking response. So when someone turns around and says, “Hey, I’m a solo female traveller, and I have been travelling in Egypt for six months and nothing happened to me,” it’s a much-needed relief. Finally someone is saying something positive about this amazing country!
Who warned you against travelling to Egypt and what was your response to them?
It’s not so much that people have warned me, but more asked me, “but isn’t it dangerous?” I have a lot of young female travellers following my travel blog www.coffeewithasliceoflife.com and a lot were shocked when I decided to spend so much time here. They’d heard bad things, and just assumed they were all true.”
What do you think it would take for people in general to change their perception about Egypt?
As a travel blogger that works with tourism boards around the world there is a simple solution to more positive media. Invite the world’s top influencers to come to Egypt, host them, take them to the most beautiful places and let all of their followers see the real Egypt. Influencers are the new media, and with their support Egypt could completely change the perception of being a dangerous country. But unfortunately the tourism board doesn’t seem to care—I’ve tried to reach out to them myself many times and never got an answer. But guys, if you are reading this I would more than happily take on this campaign and invite the “new media” to come and see what I’ve seen.
In the video, you also mention that you’ve fallen in love with Egypt. What specifically have you love about Egypt?
The people. Really, the people. They make me laugh every day, along with confusing me so much. I’m still trying to learn the Egyptian culture, why they fry all their food, how they think bamboo stick juice is tasty and how they keep their smile through these tough times. And let’s not mention Egyptian timing!
Read Richard’s blog here