Today we will meet Egyptian Travel Blogger Marwa Ali, and we could not be excited more!
I am a firm believer in women’s power! Yes, we’re the most powerful creatures in the world. We give love, appreciation, and everything in between without asking for anything in return.
To be a woman is a privilege, indeed.
That’s why I came across such an inspiring woman, an Egyptian Travel blogger, Marwa Ali, who has the first Arabic podcast about travel. She shares many stories about her journeys in which she has discovered many things— her life, her passion, and most importantly herself.
To be a female solo adventure is nothing easy at all. But to be an Egyptian female solo adventure? It’s even much more challenging.
And that’s what I like about Marwa. She is down to earth, and I am sure you’d pack your luggage before the end of this comfy interview and want to fly anywhere for now!
Marwa wants to share her incredible story, and we have the privilege to cover it. Let’s see what Marwa wants to say about her incredible escapes.
First, let’s introduce Marwa
I am Marwa Ali, and I am a mother of a kid. I am a communication engineer, and I am a passionate Travelling lady who has been travelling around the world.
Now, I travel with my family and my baby. Also, I am proudly the founder and creator of Travelcodes, the only Arabic travelling podcast in the Middle East.
Wow, that’s amazing, Marwa! When has the whole thing started with you as a travel blogger?
I launched my blog when I was pregnant. I was on a long vacation from my work to take care of my baby. So, It was a great time to build something I really love as I was pretty free from a hectic workday life. I wanted something to satisfy my passion, and at the same time, it should add value to people.
You know this turning point when you’re eager to find what you’re passionate about without feeling exhausted?
As I am always up for adventures, I came up with this idea; let’s create a travelling podcast.
And why podcast? Because I see myself as a more audible person.
I like to hear more than to read. So, I liked the idea of the podcast, which was not well-known in the Middle East and, specifically, in Egypt.
So, I started learning more about this area. A couple of months later, my first podcast was live. That was only three years ago!
It was a kind of weird idea at first, as there was nothing like it. But after that, the positive reviews and appealing acclaim I got drove me to do more.
Interesting, Marwa. I like it too. So, when was your first trip?
I’ve been going on trips with my family since I was a little child. But if you mean as a youngster willing to explore the world, it was in 2004 when I visited Sweden. It was a game-changing experience.
I have changed a lot and have learned a lot, too. Sweden was unbelievable at all levels of history, nature, architecture, and art. It’s truly a spectacular gateway.
I agree! So, if someone wants to visit Egypt, which place would you recommend?
Well, the first thing I’d ask is when you would come. Because, trust me, when it comes to enjoying your break in Egypt, it is always about the weather.
Let’s say you would come in spring or autumn. You should definitely visit Siwa Oasis, a most pleasing safari experience to unwind and fuel your energy again. Also, you can pay a visit to nearby oases like Dakhla and Kharga Oases.
In summer, nothing beats going to North Coast and Marsa Matrouh. You are guaranteed to dip in the world’s most beautiful beaches.
And Luxor and Aswan are crème de la crème. And, of course, Egypt is loaded with other attractions for a short vacation.
However, the above-mentioned destinations are the most stunning places I recommend all the time.
Indeed, this country has a variety of activities for all traveller types. As a result, you will never get bored in Egypt, from the Red Sea’s and Mediterranean Sea’s beaches to sightseeing, historical landmarks, holy trips, deserts, and birdwatching.
Not to forget, visiting open museums scattered around Luxor is such an experience unlike anything else.
Egyptians even take advantage of extensive botanical spaces. Every corner has something for you to explore and immerse yourself in, which I see is what makes this country so unique.
Yes, I see; so, what were the troubles you faced as a solo travel blogger?
Actually, nothing. Or you can tell because, as a Travel Blogger, I had planned my journeys well before taking off. The most important thing I keep in mind is that I am the only person I know here, and I should take care of myself well.
I should take charge of my decisions. So, it’s so important to think carefully before taking any action to keep me away from any risk.
Another thing I realized when travelling alone is that sometimes you have to talk to strangers from different nationalities to discover more activities to do. It doesn’t make sense to go out on a safari or other group adventures and want to do some activities alone so you have to pay more, which is not recommended.
So, I see introducing myself to new people as a must. And, it is, I think, challenging to travel anywhere, whether within your country or overseas.
Couldn’t agree more! What do you say to other girls craving to travel solo but are hesitant to do so because of the prospect of travelling to a foreign nation where they would likely know no one?
Being out with yourself is the most significant yet inspiring thing you can do in your life. It’s a must or even a milestone experience.
First, it will help you understand yourself more than you might think. It will be healing. You will explore what you like, what you don’t, and what you aim for in your life. That will be beneficial to build upon your character, career, and relationships.
You can make the right choices for you and just for you. These choices lie between finding your ideal partner and how you will spend your future life.
Solo travelling will teach you how to be responsible for your choices. Just keep in mind that being more exposed to diversity will add something charming to your character. As I said, it’s a must experience not just for girls, but for boys as well.
If there is only one tip you want to say to solo female travellers, what will it be as a travel blogger?
As a travel blogger, you should be aware of what you’re about to do. I mean, adventures are thrilling, but there is no need to take useless risks.
By the way, it applies to both genders. I see the procedures you should take as a woman are the same as a man takes. There is no female-user guide. Both should travel solo, and both should take safety considerations.
So, before travelling, you should be well prepared and draw your route according; to where you go and where you shouldn’t go. And, of course, you need to follow any advice to avoid red flags.
I also highly recommend communicating with locals to know basic guidelines, such as the latest time for a night out.
Whatever the precautions of the place you’re going to fly to, you should be aware of them and knowledgeable enough to keep a distance between you and any possible problems.
To sum up: It’s always about planning. If you do so, you will save money, effort, and unnecessary expenses.
What is your favourite travel experience of all time?
I can’t tell if there was a specific journey that changed my life. Every travel experience I’ve had has taught me something unique from the others, and every single journey has exposed me to something new that will help me improve a different skill.
Every single journey will take you to see a new aspect and a new idea that will be utterly different to what you are used to finding around. Then, you will come back with this new mindset and digest what you’ve gone through to elicit new ideas, just to find yourself a completely different person. You’re not going to look or be the same person you are today.
That’s why my slogan for my podcast is “Every travel is a new life.”
And not it’s not about what you will see and visit while travelling. Your new life will start once you come back home and digest and probe what you’ve been exposed to and start making new plans for your life, thanks to the new experiences you underwent.
That leads us to what we mean by experiences.
Exotic experiences. It’s a kind of experience that differs from your original environment, where you grew up, and the lifestyle you are used to. This kind of experience will have a dramatic impact on your life.
So, for me, it was when I went out camping in the Amazon rainforest and Africa. And, of course, Brazil!
The further you go, the more intimate experience you will gain. This kind of experience you should thrive on because if you do, your life will forever be altered.
How can you travel and still manage your life as a wife and a mother?
Well, let me tell you my marriage story. My partner and I enjoyed travelling together in a group before marriage. We have common interests in travelling and share the same passion, which was excellent. And it is what keeps me to be able to resume my adventures even after marriage. So we can go smoothly without many arguments.
From time to time, it might be okay to go solely without him and my kid. But as a general rule, we all travel together. We both are interested in what we are doing. We are satisfied with what we can do because we believe that it’s such a stupendous experience to indulge in.
So, my social life and passion never contradict, but the opposite is true. These journeys help us a lot to develop our relationship further.
And, of course, my kid has nothing to tell yet!
Glad to hear that, Marwa! But How many times can you travel— let’s say annually? You know it’s not easy for many of us to fly to the other side of the world because of commitments, work, and many other responsibilities… How can you do so as a travel blogger?
Well, travel blogging is not exactly what I do for a living. I am a full-time engineer, as I said. Besides, I don’t travel as much as it seems. I have the same commitments. So, mainly, we can travel in the official time-offs, for example, or on any occasion. We are experts when it comes to taking advantage of any special occasion. We must cut it off from our annual leaves, even during summer breaks. So, our trips are actually more seasonal, not annual.
But because I create travelling content on different platforms like Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and of course, my startup podcast, people think I am out all the time, which is not true. The truth is we are full-timers like everyone else. Sometimes, we even need to work for more extended hours.
You know, social media sometimes doesn’t reflect reality.
This is indeed true. Social media can be deceiving. Now, let’s talk more about how you can afford to travel and let us onto any tips to save up for trips
Again it’s always about planning; before every trip, we plan it financially.
We first see if it’s possible to go abroad or just have a trip inside Egypt because every kind of trip has its process. So, we need to make sure whether it’s possible to have new foreign experiences or just stick to exploring more of Egypt.
So, what are your travel hacks for saving more as a travel blogger you want to share with us?
I am always searching for fresh ways to cut unnecessary expenses, like finding offers on hotels or flights. So, we do extensive research until we find what’s best for us.
We also pay close attention to the nitty-gritty, such as using a vehicle or shuttle inside a country rather than costly airfare to reach our desired destinations.
But to be honest, travelling is costly. But it’s a purpose for us. Yes, I am not a full-time travel blogger, but it’s much more important to me to spend on travelling instead of shopping, for example.
People are different in how they distribute their sources. For example, I always cut unnecessary dining expenses, high-end cosmetics, and jewellery.
My main priority is to travel, so I manage my budget accordingly. You have to figure out for yourself where your priorities lie and properly plan your trip. And if you establish a strict budget for other money-consuming sources, you will be astounded at how much you will save to explore the world.
Totally agree, so what do you recommend for someone who wants to start a travel blog but is still reluctant or doesn’t know where to start?
Just do it. Don’t overthink. Just join the club and do it now— not tomorrow, not after an hour, but now!
You don’t need to be the best. It’s a cumulative process that you will keep learning new things through. So, you don’t need to have something on hand to start your blog. Instead, establish it immediately, keep going, take notes, and try new things. Then watch the results and retake notes. See what you have done and what you need to improve.
The most important thing is to put your spin on whatever you choose to create: a podcast, a blog post, or even a video. Otherwise, you will never go a long way.
The core of success is to have your perspective or original point of view to capture your audience’s attention. In addition, you need to build your identity by having something special that everyone can see once your audience stumbles upon your content.
Blogging about travelling is not about making a massive production like National Geographic or snapping incredible shots. Yes, having these in mind is essential, but you know, sharing your travel guides on your blog, some tips about reaching a certain destination, or even a hack you’ve learned from a local are more important and compelling.
You can start by telling people about your adventure, how you underwent it, how you perceived other cultures, and how it influenced you as an individual. You can connect with your audience by being just who you are.
It’s not about spending the most amazing weekend ever. It’s about living the whole experience and then transmitting it to your audience authentically and intimately.
But is it worth it? Or more like what are the benefits of being a travel blogger?
Let’s face it. You can do it over time. It’s just about being committed to what you’re offering.
However, in the Middle East, the whole game is slightly different from other regions around the world. Platforms themselves set different rates based on your location. It’s not your fault that you’re in the Arab world; you can’t even count on blogging to provide a reliable income!
But let’s introduce another way you can approach it.
You need to keep blogging for a long time to start seeing the result. After getting noticed, you can get some sponsorship from travel companies. So, you might find trouble making money from blogging itself, but you will gain profits from ads, affiliate marketing, and presents.
The most crucial part of the whole process is to let people trust you. You need to build a relationship with your followers or fans to follow your site or use a service you prompt.
This trust will help you sell something or a commodity to your audience — just like a celebrity or football star who launches an advertising campaign for a mobile company, for example. People will purchase this item because of you and because they trust you, so all of this counts.
The last thing to mention is that it takes time and effort until you hold this position of authority. And listen to this: continuity. It’s the keyword for any successful travel blogger. And always feel compelled to post and post and post and improve yourself and your content through the process.
You might need to spend money at first to reap it in return. Yes, be ready for that. Making money requires spending money.
And the takeaway from all of this is patience. You need to train yourself to be patient and prepare that blogging is based on continuously building your content and reputation, and then later you finally start harvesting what you’ve planted for a while.
Brilliant! And I want to emphasise that you are an inspiring lady for many of us. And this guide will help a lot to start thinking of launching a travel blog. Now, what do you think is the main difference between Marwa before and after starting travelling?
As a travel blogger, I might be the same person, but with new energy inside, you know!
I mean, I am still in the same frame. But many things inside me have been sharpened. For example, I have the same skills, qualities, and ideas, but I don’t realise them until I start travelling. After travelling, these ideas appear on the surface shiny and polished.
At this point in my journey, I’m exploring my potential as an adventurer. It’s not easy to go away for the first time, but it’s worth it.
So, what have I learnt?
An ocean of lessons, if I may say. First, I learnt how to accept differences and be flexible, thanks to the diversity you encounter outside your realm. I then learnt how to take life and people as they are, even exotic things. Now, I can accept all fluctuations in life and people’s points of view. After travelling, many ideas came my way, and most of them were out of the box, which is both cool and enlightening.
I have learnt how to improve my interpersonal skills. Additionally, I learnt how to understand myself more and that shaped my whole life journey. Now, I can differentiate between what fits me and what doesn’t make sense to me. Also, post-travelling Marwa can now weigh her options in her social and professional life and choose, when needed, a suitable alternative.
You find inspiration quickly and constantly. So, you can tell you will never be the same person with the same mentality and attitude after travelling.
Interesting! So, let’s take about a new topic I want to heighten here as most of your journeys come with your beautiful family. Where can you find the best family activities? Or what country do you see has a lot to offer for family vacations?
The short answer is Europe. Most European countries are well-prepared to welcome families with amenities and family-friendly equipment. You can find many activities to do there with your family as well.
So, everyone wants to trek out to explore the world with his family and kids, and Europe is the place to do just that. You must immerse yourself in these fun and thrilling activities for quality time. I personally recommend Turkey for such an adventure.
In general, you can find this kind of entertainment everywhere, ranging from seats for kids to playgrounds and spaces for children to run wildly. You just need to search for these places and find something you just like. Or you can communicate with locals to offer you help to spot such places.
However, some countries have different cultures or ways of caring for babies. For example, Sri Lanka wasn’t the right option for me to travel with my baby. It was challenging. Not because of the shortage of family activities but because it was hard to find something familiar to my baby’s taste buds so I can properly feed him.
As far as I remember, the climate for a tiny baby was also a big deal. It is so easy for babies to get sick in different environments.
So, you should take all of these into consideration when planning a big journey with your little ones.
Fair enough! And these thoughts are very helpful to our readers. Okay, here is a very controversial question. What’s the fuss about travelling? I mean, social media makes travelling a life-death matter for everyone. “You should go away. You should venture around the world to take these unmissable photos, you know!” Sometimes, I just want to sit and ask if it is really important for human beings to travel. What do you think?
Yes, I think so. See, I guess travelling is an inherent part of our humanity. We began venturing earlier than you might think. When tracing back the history of our existence, you’ll find that we were created in a barren desert, and we had to relocate to another area and move from one place to another until we found something to eat.
Then, we needed to cultivate crops to survive. But here is hot, but also fantastic to plant. So, we had to move again. Then we needed water, so we kept walking until we found a sustainable water source.
Oh, the river dried out. So let’s go to another place. See? It’s our humanity’s legacy.
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The core of life is to explore your potential anywhere, and most importantly, yourself, no matter what your home is.
Life is not about grounding in the same place throughout your life. It’s about discovering, venturing, going away, finding other options, and so.
Now, does travelling deserve this fuss? 100% yes! But it’s a pleasant fuss. Indeed, it’s a soothing sound, and everyone needs to take on a journey to listen to it.
“But no one has the ability or luxury to board a plane to fly to the other half of the earth.” Yes, you’re absolutely right. As I said, travelling is costly, and not everyone can afford it for many reasons; money or commitments and so.
But let’s take a step back. Forget about your bucket list. Travelling is about experiences, not how many countries you have been to.
As a travel blogger, I want to encourage you to start exploring a nearby city within your country. Start with small countries that offer cheaper services like flights, accommodation, and food.
Don’t just search for big names and trendy destinations just because Instragam is booming with photos from Europe or the United States. No, it doesn’t work like that. Instead, find what you’re looking for, start small, and grow over time until you reach your dream destinations.
To sum up, yes, travelling is the most important thing you can do in life. It’s crucial to force yourself out of your comfort zone. Pushing your limitations outside your original environment is also very important.
Because being grounded in your place will make you bland, and you will struggle with finding new ideas. At the end of the day, you will discover that you have lost your unique ability to enchant the world. Because everything around you has normalised, you will get dull by being trapped in a featureless space without any dynamic changes.
Once you get out of this space, you will realize that many opportunities are waiting for you, even in the corners of your mind.
I love it, Marwa. Truly. It’s very insightful, and while you’re talking, I am thinking of how we can discover and investigate and meet new people and new ideas to start a business, make relationships, write and capture and so-and-so! Thank you, dear, so much. Now, what is your advice as a travel blogger for someone who wants to go through the same experience you talk about? For example, I want to explore the world, but now what?
I am pro travelling as a general rule. So, you should travel within your capabilities. Also, there is no need to travel for long days. 4 days are more than enough if you can not afford more. But the idea of globetrotting and meeting new people with various customs and even new accents is very healthy. You’ll be astounded at how much your mental state has shifted after you’ve trained your eyes to see such novelties.
Let’s get back to the question of what you should do first. I think you need to have information.
Okay, what can I do specifically?
Well, read and research. Thankfully, we live in the information reclamation era. So, you have tremendous sources of tips and guides, whether blogs, videos, or different websites.
Now, you can find websites that will tell you where you should go if you type what you like or what kind of experience you’re striving for.
So, what you just need to take off to your well-designed destination is to spend time surfing the internet to find the right piece of information.
But the best, most fantastic, and easiest method is to find your mentor. So, you’re lucky if you have a friend, coworker, or anyone in your big family who travels frequently. Make this person your guide to learn how travelling can be more accessible and even more enjoyable within your budget.
As travel bloggers, we often provide guides with detailed instructions on how to plan a trip, including everything from selecting a destination to booking flights and navigating local transportation once you arrive.
There are many details you need to dig into before booking your flight. So, you should choose a human mentor or a virtual one, aka blogs, videos, and so.
Finally, what inspires Marwa?
I am inspired by how my content can change people’s lives or their way of thinking about travelling. However, the most emotional moment is when someone sends me a message about the latest journey they embarked on because of my content. It’s a tear-jerking moment.
Some people told me they never went anywhere before listening to my podcast, and now they have become nomads.
Other followers came to me to thank me because they started planning my step-by-step guide to go into the wilderness and explore new corners of the world. I love that feeling when someone shares their experience based on what I have published.
This gives purpose to my adventures. I realised that what I have created adds value to people’s lives, and this is something big!
And I want to emphasise a little thing before we go. Travelling is not a luxurious escape like most people think. No! And I am not talking here about a beach vacation at an upscale hotel or just going out to relax and unplug from your hectic daily life. Yes, this is important, too. But what I mean here is the idea of trekking out, recharging your fuel, and discovering new cultures. It’s about personal development as a human being.
So, for me, as a travel blog, I get inspired by messages and responses I receive from my followers, and the other thing is that I love sharing my ideas and experiences.
Even before launching my blog, I found pleasure in telling stories and my experiences. This is what pushes me to make progress.
There are no words to describe how much I appreciate your time and how much I enjoyed it, and I bet everyone who reads this will thank you later. Do you want to add anything else?
Thank you for this opportunity that took me through the most thing I love, travelling! It was my pleasure.
And that’s it! I hope you all love this long interview with Marwa Ali, an Egyptian travel blogger. Leave any comments if you have any questions about travelling, experiences, and everything in between.
Don’t forget to check out Marwa Ali’s recent travel videos on TikTok!
@marwa_travelcodes #سفرية_جديدة_حياة_جديدة #travelblogger #traveltiktok #travel #foryou #سفر #explore #viraltiktok @marwa_travelcodes ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral – WZ Beat
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