Living in an Arab society – more specifically the Egyptian society – comes with many stigmas in all kinds of realms. Some of these stigmas revolve around single women who travel. Traveling has recently become a widespread trend catching the attention of males, females, the old, the young, the corporate workers and the more relaxed workers a like. Focusing on single female travellers, society tends to have misconceptions revolving around the reasons to why females travel alone. It is widely believed that women travel as a result of being single, and according to that belief, the matter is approached with an extent of unacceptance. However, in hopes of breaking such stereotypes and discussing the reality of these stigmas, we spoke to three Egyptian female travellers:
After going to South Africa on a trip with the “Cairo Camera Club” in 2008, Passainte fell in love with traveling. After summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, she quit her legal career as a Lawyer at the beginning of 2014 and started taking writing seriously and practicing it more, alongside her day job. “When I got over my fears and summited Kilimanjaro, I felt like it was about time to get over everything and seek what would make my life happier,” Passainte says. She then became a content manager at Travelstart Egypt. Today, she is the digital content manager at TRAVCO Holidays, living her dream of traveling, and inspiring others through her writing to travel as well.
“Being single makes traveling easier, but it’s not the reason she travels.”
In regards to society, Passainte finds that people view women who travel alone, as females wanting “to get laid”. However, going against such an ideology, she expresses her preferences towards morning and outdoor activities, such as hiking and cycling. “I am not a fan of the nightlife, and I don’t drink alcohol,” she says.
Being single makes traveling easier, but it’s not the reason she travels. “I travel because I love to travel,” Passainte says, adding that “a partner who loves to travel is one of my biggest priorities when I come to marry someone.” When asked about traveling if she were to have kids, Passainte shared her hopes of possessing a traveling lifestyle with her future husband, and future kids. “I want them to be travellers like their mom and future dad. I want to hike while carrying them in a carrier, go on road-trips with them, and teach them how to be travellers at a very young age,” she concludes.
Check out her Instagram travel blog @passainte_assem
Lina moved to Egypt in 2010, where she had no friends around. There was a group of people at her work at the time who would organize trips. They took her on a trip to St. Catherine, where she fell in love with exploration. “When I came back I purchased a sleeping bag and a tent,” Lina tells. Afterwards, she began paving her own way for travel experiences, getting to know bedouins on her own terms and taking their contact information for future references. Today, Lina works as a partner at the adventure travel company “Destination 31”, and has her own round beach towels brand named “Oceanminded”.
“Lina finds that if she were to have kids, priorities would change, yet the values of traveling and exploring will be embedded in her children.”
“Most people who travel, travel alone but eventually meet other people at their destination,” Lina says explaining that no one really travels solo. She finds that society has become much more accepting than before towards single women travellers. Before, mothers would say comments like “you can travel with your husband after marriage,” however now, society has become more educated and realizes that being married has nothing to do with exploring the world or “pursuing any hobby for that matter.”
Lina finds that if she were to have kids, priorities would change, yet the values of traveling and exploring will be embedded in her children. “I’m a true believer that having kids in itself shifts your priorities. There will be more dedication to the family unit of course, however, families whose priority is exploring, will instill the same values/priorities in their children from a young age,” she says.
Check out her Instagram travel blog @sheexploresearth
Sara has always disliked commercial traveling, having a passion for the more intimate form of traveling and exploring cultures. In 2013, she cycled with a group of people from her cycling group “Wheelers World Discovery” from Cairo, to Sinai, to Petra, Jordan. They went exploring on their bikes and repeated this similar experience in Europe by cycling from Ljubljana, Slovenia to the Alps, down to the boarders of Italy then to Salzburg, Austria. Afterwards, Sara dropped the bike, picked up a backpacker and began exploring different places on her own and with her friends.
“She finds that although she personally had supportive parents who constantly pushed her to travel, people generically speaking were not completely accepting of the idea…”
For Sara, being single or committed, or working a full time job does not make much of a difference when it comes to her travel plans and aspirations. Every time she has a long weekend or break, she travels. “I wish I can find someone who can share the experiences with me,” Sara tells. She finds that although she personally had supportive parents who constantly pushed her to travel, people generically speaking were not completely accepting of the idea of a woman traveling alone. Today however, she finds that people have become more accepting towards the matter.
Having kids for Sara is of no issue. “I will exchange my backpack with one that has more compartments,” she tells, adding that traveling adds more onto a child’s character and experiences. To her this is very important, and is a way of life she will get her children to live.
Check out her Instagram travel blog @sara_varouk