Laura Augustyn

My trip to Egypt - Part 1

This is a narrative of my trip to Egypt, taken in October of 2016. This trip was the most amazing of my life that I have taken to anywhere. It changed me greatly and gave me a new direction for my life. In addition, it renewed my spirituality and sense of purpose. I still communicate with several of the people I met while I was in Egypt, via free social media. Several are people who were my tour guides along my journey, I realize it is best to get a local Egyptian tour guide from each area that you wish to visit - not only will they provide you with the most local flavor, they become wonderful friends that you can keep long after you go home.

Sadly, I also lost my mentor and friend of over 35 years as he passed away January 27, 2017, just as I was starting to realize that I should share my trip so others can benefit from my experiences and hopefully make some of their own with a trip of their own. His encouragement and guideance led me to the place I am now, studying how to teach English and actually getting experience to excel in that field. Hopefully, I will also be able to travel with it and do something with it, as he would have wanted for me.  Many are encouraging me to return and teach English there as EFL, English as a Foreign language. Writing to them through social media helps them with their English, although I can tell that they do not write that well, but they really do try.

Since returning home, I have been on a cultural and spiritual journey. Most of all, I felt a sense of spirituality and renewal. lt also assisted to show me the way of the Holy Quran, the Muslim's Holy Book, as Egypt's population is 90% Muslim. I have started to study the Holy Koran and have attended mosque services here in the USA for a better understanding of Muslims and their beliefs. One God, the All Mighty, who gave us life and to whom we will return. They have a call to prayer 5 times per day and there were many other interesting differences from what we are used to here in America.  Next I will study Arabic. I have a video when I attended "Know your Muslim Neighbor" about how women wear the hijabs and their meaning of them actually gives them empowerment.

Tourism in Egypt is profitable for them, yet it suffered in recent years after the revolution of 2011 with Mubarak, Morsi and the Brotherhood. Now tourism appears stable with President El Sisi in power. He is a friend of the United States as he recently visited the White House this year. Pope Francis also visited Egypt to call for peace amongst all religions as he met with the lmam and the Coptic Christian Pope in Egypt.

The places that I visited on my trip were Cairo, which has the pyramids and the Sphinx, then I went to Aswan where there is the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser; then came a 4 day, 3 night cruise down the Nile River on Princess Cruises. The cruise went from Aswan to Luxor, which is called the "tourism capital of the world." From Luxor I then flew back to Cairo to take the next leg of the journey by car ride to Alexandria - a mere 4 hour ride full of beautiful views of the Egyptian country. While in Alexandria, I stayed in a hotel on the Mediterranean Sea and toured the largest Library in the entire world.