Interview with a woman, who went back to Egypt 12 years in a row to experience the desert all over again
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Ali Hegazy
28 January 2019
Nicole, 21, was born and raised in Southampton, United Kingdom. Her parents are from a different background. Her father is from Scotland and her mother is a Spanish descendant.
For twelve years in a row, Nicole and her father keep going back to Egypt. It all started when they decided to go on a holiday and visit the country. Quite quickly they both fell in love with the place. Nicole described it as mesmerising as we spoke about her time spend there.
Each year the two of them would plan their trip, go scuba diving, visit the pyramids in Giza, stay in the same hotel. Egypt was pulling them back like a magnet.
A lot can be said about Egypt. It can be described to those, who have never seen it for themselves as a field of sand. However, no matter how carefully the descriptions are being put into words, Egypt can be verbally summarised. The deserts really seem like they can last forever. Until seeing it, one can't realistically imagine the nothingness that lays ahead, the boundless freedom, the miles of untraceable footpaths that disappear under the layers of satin-like sand. There is nothing to be seen on the horizon. Once going towards the heart of the desert, this is it. If you are thirsty to get to know Egypt, seeing this side of it will fulfil this thirst.
As I was speaking to Nicole, I couldn't help but notice how grateful she felt to have travelled there so many times.
'When you are there, in the middle of the desert and you see those kids, playing in the sand with flies all around them... It really puts things into perspective. It makes me realise how lucky I am to have what I have.'
There are stone-build one room buildings. They are small, isolated and distanced from civilisation. No comfort known to the modern people exists there. Whole families live in those stone buildings, raising their children, building a life for themselves. This is their reality. The desert is their home.
When in the desert, it is very important to cover yourself. It's essential to put a scarf around your face and mouth so that you can breathe properly, without inhaling the sand. This way of clothing helps when being kissed by the intense sun spectrum for so long. Locals thought Nicole and her father to do this. She described their kindness and generosity.
'Egyptians are some of the nicest people I have ever met' Nicole shared with me.
They are beyond grateful for everything you do for them and value every gesture. Often, tourists, who travel to the country for short periods of time, can feel like royalties because of the locals and their attitude towards them. They are very giving people. When I asked Nicole if she thinks that they mind Egypt being perceived as a tourist destination, she shook her head.
'I think locals are grateful for tourists, because they help the economy, and some are interested in getting to know Egypt, which is a good thing.'
But being treated like you deserve more than the people, whose land you are standing on, brings sadness to Nicole's mind. Going back home and seeing the worries of the modern-day people is wakening.
Egypt is a time capsule for Nicole and her father. It is like another world existing alongside what she knows as her own reality.