This is Mina Mahrous, a young Egyptian guy who decided to try to put a different ending (or beginning) to his story…
Back in high school I used to dream of being an engineer. Graduating from high school in 2006, my father, a pharmacist, forced me to study pharmacy instead. Typical story of most Arabs, like father like son. “Who’s going to take care of the family business son?”
In 2011 I graduated from Pharmacy, actually with very good grades! During my university years I tried “liking what I do” in order to enjoy the life dictated on me. Impossible! Working in a pharmacy is definitely not for me!
However, I thought I might enjoy working in the public health section. I thought maybe if I work with a public health organization like MSF or WHO I will enjoy life!
And that is how my wanderlust started! I dreamed of all those third world countries (that are even worse than Egypt) that I will get to experience while working on a malaria eradication project or HIV/AIDs prevention projects in Africa, a Polio eradication project in Pakistan, or even in disaster relief projects in Afghanistan or other misfortuned countries.
After graduating, however, I learned that scoring a job in that field isn’t THAT easy. You need a 2 year working experience to get into an internship. And you need the internships to get the experience. And at the same time you need the exact two years experience to even apply for a master degree. You know, the dilemma of having experience to get a job, and having a job to get experience.
And so I was stuck in the pharmacy with my father for one whole year.
Before starting to work I decided to do one last adventure, I walked el Camino de Santiago in Spain. And boy did that make my wanderlust grow even wilder! I loved travel! I loved seeing new places and meeting new people!
After one year of working in the pharmacy! I decided that I have had enough!
With only 2000 dollars saved (wages in Egypt are pretty damn low!) I booked my flights to Thailand, and off I went for a month. Followed by an internship teaching English in rural Indonesia, which is where I currently am.
Totally broke, all I have is “allowance” which I get from the school, and I’ll definitely be doing my best to find a way to get more money to continue traveling!
The hardships of traveling as an Egyptian
As I mentioned earlier, wages in Egypt are so damn low! So it is very hard to go back home and work for 6 months or 1 year to save enough money to continue traveling. Almost impossible, what I’ll save in that time will keep me traveling for maybe 1 or 2 months.
Add to that that I am an Egyptian passport holder. So traveling indefinitely is one of the hard things to do, given that I have to pre-apply for a visa to almost all countries (even Thailand!) and to apply I have to have my round trip flight tickets and a bank account with lots of money in it.
I have written a whole post about this, explaining why not everyone can easily travel.
How will I do it?
I have no idea! All I know is that my wanderlust at this moment is greater than ever! And I definitely don’t want to go back to Egypt! I might end up back in Egypt by the end of my internship, but I’ll definitely work my way out again, somehow!
Why should you tag along?
Well, this is totally up to you, but if you enjoy traveling in general, then I do share, like any other travel writer, stories of my adventures abroad, stories about the places I visited and lots of pictures!
Add to that that I will be also posting about how it is to travel as an Egyptian passport holder and all the hardships that come with it.
How do I see the world? Well, as an Egyptian, an Arab, and a Middle Eastern, I definitely do see some of the things differently, so why not see how a – rather open minded – Middle Eastern sees the world?
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