Cairo’s bright lights, noise and hubbub can be a double edged sword. On one hand, you are always in the middle of where all the action is taking place, and everything is at an arm’s reach. However, there’s the fact that sometimes it’s just too much. It comes as no surprise that some people are packing up their lives and leaving to live by the beach. We spoke to some ladies who abandoned the corporate life of the city and moved where there’s sea, sand and sun aplenty to find out more about this life-altering decision.
Alia Om Sina
“I got a slipped disc from my desk job. I was 24. So I decided I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life falling apart on a desk.”
Alia, who in her own words “used to be a corporate slave” before her big move; used to work as an Assistant CEO in a medium sized multinational software house in Cairo. That is, until she had enough, “I got a slipped disc from my desk job. I was 24. So I decided I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life falling apart on a desk”, she tells. Alia went on to be a teacher, event organizer, life coach, business consultant and artist! She does everything from diving to performing on stage. It’s safe to say Alia realized her full potential in Dahab, “Sinai is the promised land and has an intense effect on all who visit”, she tells, “the sun, sea, sky, corals and fish and wildlife, richness beyond comprehension”. All that being said, Alia actually does miss the city life sometimes, “when I do, I go visit”, she says, “and have a ball with all my loved ones”. Check out her music here.
Marwa El Sakhawy
“I was sick of Cairo; its traffic, harassment, pollution, tardiness and loudness”
Before Marwa left Cairo, she was an Assistant Coordinator for a scholarship program at AUC. The reasons behind her move were more about Cairo and less about her, “I was sick of Cairo; its traffic, harassment, pollution, tardiness and loudness”, she says. When Marwa says this was a life-changing experience, she means every little detail, “I can smile at people on the street and be my friendly self”, she explains. Marwa is now an office manager at Coastal Marine Egypt in Gouna. Despite the cons, which include living cost, “it’s a resort town, so naturally the cost of living is sky high”, she would never consider living in Cairo again.
Jenny and Kiki Tyler
“I don’t think too much ahead, I try to smile and enjoy every day”, Jenny Tyler
Jenny and Kiki’s (who are American/Italian/Egyptian, in case you’re wondering) interest in living by the beach started right after they graduated high school. Their lives away from Cairo started in Dahab, where they lived for 7 years, then they settled in Gouna. As one would expect, this impacted their life greatly, “I don’t think too much ahead, I try to smile and enjoy every day”, Jenny says. The pros to living by the beach outweigh the cons for the twin sisters, “so many pros connected to your health and mental well-being”, Kiki tells, “nature keeps you young”. On the other hand, it’s not all perfect, “cons would have to be the pressure of having to ‘grow up’ one day. Please don’t assume that just because we live by the beach that we are tanning and relaxing all day”, Jenny explains.
“why would I expose myself and kids to all the stress and pollution? No way”
Hoda, who worked on USAID and UNDP projects and with Near East Foundation when she was in Cairo, uprooted her entire life to live in Gouna, “I quit everything, sold my car, moved out of my house, broke up with my ex and came to Gouna for an extended weekend that lasted 18 years”. Now a mother, she wouldn’t want her children growing up in an unhealthy environment, “why would I expose myself and kids to all the stress and pollution? No way”, she concludes.
Reyam El Molla
“I’ve become more of a risk taker than I was before.”
Reyam was a human rights lawyer when she lived in Cairo. She left when the city became too much to handle, “Cairo started to become politically and socially overwhelming”, she tells. Reyam started noticing her character changing after living in Gouna for so long, “I’ve become more of a risk taker than I was before. Now I paint more and don’t worry about traffic jams”, she says. The move positively affected everything, even her dogs, “Gouna is very dog friendly and you can take your dogs almost anywhere”, she explains. On the other hand, it still isn’t always perfect, “it’s a vacation spot and sometimes it gets super crowded”, she concludes.
Mushira El Haggar
“I forget my phone and the entire world. I appreciate the simpler pleasures in life”
Mushira went from being a graphic designer to become a jewelry designer and off to Ras Sudr she went! It all stemmed from needing change, “I was bored of the typical city life and going out became boring and repetitive”, she tells. Sometimes, making such a move can be all about finding your true self, “visiting Sinai in General makes you discover a lot about yourself. When I’m there I feel like I don’t need to go back to the city ever again”, Mushira says, “I forget my phone and the entire world. I appreciate the simpler pleasures in life”.