50 Countries and Counting: 20 year old Seif Tamer on being an Egyptian Abroad

Despite his age and his intensive medical studies, 20 year old Seif Tamer has already visited more countries that most of us will in our lifetimes. From a young age, travel has been in his blood, living in Spain, Egypt, Dubai and the Czech Republic. But what really triggered his love of travelling was a trip to the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where despite reports of riots and violence, Seif braved the city alone, discovering his wanderlust. Since then, he has traveled across the world, managing 50 countries before his 20th birthday, making lifelong friends along the way.

According to Seif, most Egyptians don’t travel anywhere near enough, “I think a lot of it is due to the parents. Egyptian parents don’t generally encourage their children to travel, they think it is dangerous. But what they don’t realize is, if you come from Cairo, you face a lot of these dangers anyway. If you can live in Cairo you can probably manage anywhere. If they are really nervous they can send their children to camps abroad, that way they know their child is being looked after. Once they see the benefits that travelling has, they are more likely to keep encouraging it.”

Singapore’s Infinity Pool

For first time travelers, Seif suggests Europe is a good place to start. “Europe tends to be a bit safer and easier to get around, so it’s good if you are a bit nervous.”

“Don’t take a lot of money with you! If you take a lot of money you will have the urge to spend it.”

Money is also usually a problem stopping Egyptians from travelling, but Seif has some good advice when it comes to this. “People spend so much money in Cairo on things like a night out or a meal. That money could easily be the budget for a whole day or more when travelling. And once you go, travelling on a tight budget can actually be better; it allows you to intermingle with the local culture and people a lot more. Try to travel by bus, you can even hitchhike in some countries. Get night trains if you can, that saves you money on accommodation for that night, because you can sleep on the train!”

Thailand’s Maya Bay

Seif’s biggest piece of advice for keeping your trip cheap is simple, “don’t take a lot of money with you! If you take a lot of money you will have the urge to spend it.” And Seif definitely practices what he preaches, for his recent trips, he purchased a hammock, so instead of paying for accommodation he can just sleep in the great outdoors. Posh hotels don’t factor into his travel plans, “I like staying in hostels, you can find cheap, decent ones and it is great for meeting people.”

“When I tell the people I meet that I am from Egypt, the response is always amazing.”

But it is difficult to be an Egyptian abroad? From Seif’s experiences it doesn’t seem like it. “Generally visas and borders haven’t been too much of an issue. There have been a few times in Eastern Europe where security have asked a lot of questions, probably because I have an Arab name. At the Romanian border I had to fill in a form with really ridiculous questions, like ‘what is the name of your sister?’ and random things like that. But in general it hasn’t been a problem.” Seif tells us that fears of racism abroad are largely unfounded, “when I tell the people I meet that I am from Egypt, the response is always amazing. People are so positive about it, they are excited to meet an Egyptian and tell me how much they want to visit Egypt. It is really nice.”

Egyptian flag at Chernobyl, Ukraine

Although Seif speaks four languages, he tells us, “language is rarely an issue when travelling, if you can speak English you’ll be fine. Everything else you can act out. Honestly a smile goes a long way when you are trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language.”

“The only things you regret are the things you don’t do.”

But what makes travelling so great anyway? Seif explains why he fell in love with it, “travelling shows you that the world is an open school. It is the education of life, which is so much more rich and real than a textbook. You discover things everywhere you go, you absorb the good things and learn from the bad. It helps you find passions that you didn’t even know you had.”

Egypt’s very own Fayoum

Seif gives us one final piece of advice, “You need to make time for what you want and just do it. Don’t wait until after school or university or anything, if you can go now, you should. It’s like the saying “The only things you regret are the things you don’t do.”

We wish Seif all the best with his travels. Follow him on Instagram @Seiftamer_

  1. An excellent example for all the Egyptian youth. I wish that young men and women around Seif’s age stop caring for looks and begin exploring and going after their passions. I am sure that this will create an excelling generation of scientists, artists, authors and pioneers.

  2. Traveling made Seif a broad mind old man more than his 20 years age. His ability to express the people expression is that of a Noble writer. Congratulations and admiring.

  3. Proud to see an enthusiastic self motivated young Egyptian as Sief. Travelling enriches everyones personality and broadens thier scopes. Sief you are an idol to all young Egyptians. Persue your dreams….bless you.

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