Announcing to friends and family that we were headed to Egypt brought about a variety of reactions. Excitement, worry, intrigue, anxiety… I realised that people had very mixed emotions about our next destination.

For years the coastal cities in Egypt were holiday hot spots, especially for British tourists. Nile cruises flooded the waterway, and the tourism industry thrived from International visitors. Revolution, military coup, the downing of a plane back in 2015… all factors that shattered the leisure industry. Safety for travellers was no longer guaranteed and the rifts it caused in the economy have definitely been felt.

This became increasingly clear when Mo and I tried to book our flights to Luxor, struggling to find direct routes, decent connections or at least any flight that wasn’t ridiculously priced. I’m not going to go into the full ins and outs of the trouble we faced booking our trip, I’m saving that for another post, but I wanted to touch on a particular part of our journey: the road to Luxor.

Our flight schedules meant that in order for us to get to our boat in time to start our cruise, we needed to drive from where we landed in Hurghada to the beautiful city of Luxor. I thought absolutely nothing of this journey until I started 1) speaking to people and 2) searching the route on google.

Everybody had an opinion… and it wasn’t good. You’ll get kidnapped. The road is too dangerous. You’ll have to be escorted by military. Anything could happen. I kept telling myself not to listen to it all and tried to banish out all knowledge of what I’d read on the very ridiculous dangerous roads website, which comes up pretty high on the ‘road to luxor’ google search. I reached out to a virtual friend @DanDohertyBlog, who knew this area of Egypt well and still had friends out there. He assured me there was nothing to worry about and trusting his opinion I decided I needed to stop being influenced by propaganda and try to see it for what it is, an exciting journey across the Egyptian desert.

Lo and behold Dan and his friends were right. There was absolutely nothing to worry about. The drive was FANTASTIC.

Mo and I have done a number of long distance journeys by car in many different terrains, but we’ve never driven along a road quite like this. A road where on every turn, every dip, every ascent we were surrounded by the same landscape.

Baron. Empty. Endless. Dry.

But totally spectacular desert.

 

 

I couldn’t stop staring at it. We’d go miles and although there was nothing to see I couldn’t help but think it somehow was everything. In my head I was imagining lands in ancient times. What might have lived behind the mountains. The rocks. Who knows what relics are buried under the ground. What carvings may or may not be etched inside the caves that we only caught glimpses of as we sped past.

My imagination was running wild as I strained through squinted eyes to look for signs of life. Following the paths of birds that soared and dipped, wandering what they knew.

Our drivers, Ahmed and Hisham were pretty great. A bit nuts, but they were great. Sort of left us to our own devices as bless Ahmed, he was really trying with his English but we struggled to make heads or tails of it sometimes. On the way there and on the way back we stopped halfway for tea breaks.

 

 

It was nice to stop and stretch our legs but also to walk around and just take in how amazing it was to be in the middle of nowhere. Literally nowhere (put that ‘literally’ in just for you sis 😉).

I should also point out the best meal I had was at the last service station! We weren’t planning on having a meal, but our driver insisted we have something before we trekked on. So we ordered whatever it was they had and waited to see what turned up. Grilled chicken, rice, salad, broth with orzo and a vegetable curry dish. It tasted fresh. Light. Not overly spiced and was the perfect food for being out in the heat. I did share mine with the resident kitten (I could not resist the cute ball of fluff) but what I did have I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

 

Some facts to bear in mind if you are planning on taking this route:

  • The road is closed for any tourist trips once the sun has set. Any dangerous road issues happen at night, when people are reckless or decide to drive without headlights, which is why the government has decided to impose a curfew for visitors to ensure their safety. Sensible.
  • There are many forums with people complaining that they are unable to hire their own cars to do the drive themselves – I haven’t looked too much into this but I think there are restrictions depending on where you’re from and what license you hold.
  • Travelling in the day time will pretty much mean driving in heat. A car with AC will make a heck of a lot of difference. Opening a window doesn’t help much when the air flying in is boiling hot.

Also worth noting that of course, like most non-western destinations the driving style can be a bit, let’s say ‘different’. I noticed here in Egypt the outside lane isn’t for overtaking, but more for acting as a buffer when you want to speed around turns. Driving in the middle of the road or towards oncoming traffic to overtake is perfectly acceptable. Flying past donkey carts at close quarters is completely normal and drivers only really wear their seatbelts when they’re headed towards a checkpoint.

All of that aside, I should point out that I was in no way ever scared or on edge during our journey. The last part as you head into some of the local towns alongside the Nile are really interesting, observing the hustle and bustle of daily life.

 

 

I’m so glad I wasn’t deterred by the negativity surrounding this journey and I hope the actions of a few don’t put others off from making this trip. It reminded me that it’s so easy to get swept up in the news and random rubbish that gets fired out over the internet and that really, trusting your gut and looking at the actual facts is always the best way forward. Having a few friends on the inside helps too 🙂

My advice would always be, reach out to agencies. Travellers who have been recently – that you trust of course. Don’t always go off the news and general scare-mongering that occurs in the tabloids. Everything we do in life has some element of risk, it’s all about being sensible and listening to rules and guidelines – that applies to any destination, including where you live.

 

 

 

The road to Luxor was a great lead up to what became a truly momentous adventure as well as being a perfect final journey to reflect on our trip, before heading back home.

 

 

 

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Travel Blogger Problems

 

A few weeks ago, whilst on a train journey to Leeds, I found myself thinking, “I’m a bit tired of travelling” – a thought I instantly banished in horror! Could I really be falling out of love with travel? Was I getting too old?? It wasn’t until I saw this months travel linkup pop up on twitter that it all made sense. Like every relationship, there are ups and downs, I was simply having a travel blogger rough patch. I simply had to list the problems out, face the situation, all would be right with the world and I could go back to enjoying the beautiful countryside views from the train window.

So like every good blogger (and obsessive organiser) I made a list, of all the wrongs that I needed to work through:

 

1. Conquering clothes mountain

Since March Mo and I have been taking it in turns to live out of our carry on suitcase. As a consequence, our spare room became the dumping ground for the contents of said carry on suitcase. The piles got bigger. They multiplied. They dominated.

I mean there was work clothes, travelling outfits, exercise wear, outdoor gear… the piles became out of control. They started spreading. Edging themselves into other rooms. I started finding clothes I hadn’t seen in years just to avoid having to face it. And every time we attempted to scale down, clothes mountain retaliated. I even considered going out and simply buying new clothes, that was the moment I knew things were bad. I absolutely hate going shopping for clothes so to have that thought, must have meant things were getting desperate.

And then one magical, sunny day I came home to find my very own live-in adventurer had done it. Tackled it head on and triumphed. Crisis averted! (Thanks hubby ☺️).

 

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2. Dealing with wild animals

When you’re constantly in and out of the house, every day, you’re bound to upset someone. That someone in our household, is our cat Hugo. He gets mad when we’re late to feed him. When we’re late home and when we’re not available at all hours of the day to be his personal butler.

When we are home he finds ways to punish us. Like, he wakes us up at strange hours of the night. He spits his food out whilst he’s eating. Purposely sits away from us, but stays close enough to maintain eye contact so he can still throw us that death stare cats are so good at.

My favourite cat-blogger problem is when I’m in the middle of really sinking my teeth into writing, and up he comes straight onto the desk. But he doesn’t want to stand on all the free space around the computer, or sit neatly on window sill beside me. Oh no, he wants to position his front paws on my touch mouse and balance his back ones on my keyboard. Looking at me as if it to say if you even try to move me… I could make things worse. I’m pretty sure every other cat owner has the same problem.

The only way to win this battle, was to shower him with bucket loads of attention. Which I did, constantly. Every time I saw him. So much so he started to appreciate the moments of peace when I was out. Perfect balance was restored.

 

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3. Having to forage for food

Another downside to having a full time job, being a blogger and trying to fit in a social life… is you kind of run out of time to do the normal things. Like shop for food. I don’t know about you but I’ve had my fair share of moments when I come home from work and I’m deciding between a can of tinned tomatoes and a can of tinned tomatoes? When you look in a cupboard, the fridge, freezer, fruit bowl, egg bucket… you even check that secret tub where you stash the 2minute noodles, but nothing.

I suppose there is a plus side to this, my cooking experimentation has improved. The kitchen discoveries I’ve made have been mind blowing! (Last week I found adding a couple of teaspoons of caramelised onion chutney to a tuna mayo jacket potato was a game changer!) In all honesty coming home after a long, hard day at work and then to come home and think about to what to cook is one of my least favourite things. And when you’re light on supplies, it’s definitely much worse.

We’ve become wiser with age on this one, realised that no matter how busy we may get, there are a few staples that must always be in the house for those emergency situations.

 

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4.  The constant migration

One of my favourite parts of travelling is the journey itself. I love gazing out the windows, watching the world go by. Oh and sleeping. I looooove sleeping on anything that moves.  Trains, planes, cars, anything! But with all the back and forth I’ve been doing some of these usually glorious experiences have been disasters.

First of all, I commute to work which means at least 2 hours of my day is spent sat in my vehicle, where I have to pay attention and resist the urge to fall asleep. A hard task which is why I always get excited when I have train rides coming up. However I didn’t realise when you are sat in an aisle, on a busy train, with nowhere to keep your luggage, lots of people walking up and down… that blissful journey slowly turns into one where I am counting down the minutes till I can step off.

My last trip to the Middle East was also quite a testing one on the travel front, I mean I’ve already spilled the beans on our dramas at Jeddah airport. We travelled non stop on that holiday – plane to plane to car to plane etc.

 

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5. A strong desire to hibernate

When everything becomes so busy and so hectic, in a good way, I often find myself struggling to keep up. I have so many ideas, projects, lists… oh the lists!! They’re endless!! My general rule is to cross out one and add two so I’m never bored, so much so I now have a dedicated to-do notebook (thats right, I’m that person).

As much as I can’t stand to do nothing, I’ve found when theres to much going on, my body starts to possess a strong desire to curl up under the covers and not wake till the sun comes out (for us brits that could be a looooong time).

 

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Solutions:

  • Have a good family and friends support network, don’t forget about them!
  • Make time to prioritise the important things in life, like food shopping
  • Don’t neglect the furry friends, they might take some time to get used to your travelling ways but their love is unconditional
  • Use travel time wisely, write notes, make friends, take some music… don’t just rely on getting that perfect window seat with a charger socket
  • Schedule in serious physical and mental rest time. Nobody wants to get to the point where you have to hideaway.

 

Feel much better getting that off my chest.

What are your travel blogger problems??

 


Travel blogger problems.

You know the type, those hilarious little habits, thoughts and actions that make our #friends, families and occasionally #pets raise their #everlovin’ brows. What are you #guilty of?

How to link up your post

Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th May 2016), add it to the link up widget found on EmmaAngie‘s, Jessi‘s or our topic suggesting co-host Lauren‘s blog from the 1st.

As ever there are no real rules – basically all we ask is that you;

  • Check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up
  • Tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love
  • Make a few comments here and there

It’s such a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!

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Jet-Set-Chick-Birthday-Blog-Makeover

 

Last Friday, I celebrated my 31st birthday and decided it would be the perfect time to treat myself to a blog makeover! So this is it 🙂

I’ve still got a few bits and bobs to sort out, but the majority of the transition is complete. I thought it’d be worth having a quick run through on what’s changed:

The whole design!

Bit of an obvious one really. I was dying to get rid of all the dark tones on my last layout and move to something a bit brighter.

I fell in love with this theme from pipdig.co.uk and the whole process of changing it over was pretty smooth. Pipdig provide very clear and precise instructions which made it all the more easier.

New header

My header image is no longer my favourite lion cub photo, instead its a simple illustration drawn by my friends very talented husband Giulio (click here to check his site, I’m a huge fan!).

I told him exactly what I wanted: a cartoon version of my Fantastic Four group, and he put it to paper. Few tweaks from my end (ever the control freak – I couldn’t help but add something – sorry Giulio!) and voila, it now occupies pride of place on the blog. I’m not quite done with it yet though, I’ve really enjoyed being creative with pens and pencils on paper, so whilst the main outline is pretty much sorted, I still have a few ideas I want to test out.

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About me

Whilst sprucing up the design I thought this would be a good opportunity to update some of the static pages. The About me page is less of an essay and has some pics, you know, to prove I’m pretty normal(ish).

 

 

Disclaimer

After an extremely useful talk by the lovely Kirsten from Kooky traveller, I also decided to add a separate page for my disclaimer.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been on a number of press trips amongst my regular travels and I know I need to make it much clearer to separate the two moving forward (I have also amended any past posts to keep consistency).

If there are any sponsored posts, paid excursions, freebies – it will be clearly stated at the top of an article. I do need to reassure you that, as always, I only write about experiences that I would recommend and everything I write is an honest, personal opinion.

New page – Giving back

In this day and age, with many of us in positions where we can offer our time, money and expertise to help others, I thought it made sense to have a page dedicated to giving back, mainly as a reminder to myself if I’m honest.

Sometimes, its easy to get carried away with my own life, I wanted to have a page up as a constant reminder to do something for others.

If you have any charities or projects that you recommend I check out, or if you would like to share their stories, then please shout out and let me know as I would love to try and offer my support.

 

Think that’s it for now.

Now that the web-design headache is over with, I can finally get back to the fun part. Writing, writing, writing!!
And the travel link-up ladies have inspired the perfect post to get me back into it… travel blogger problems. Oh this should be good!

 

I would LOVE to have your opinions on my new look! Good, bad, indifferent?? – I’d genuinely appreciate any feedback 🙂

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I actually can’t quite believe I’ve made it to one hundred blog posts?! Blogging has been something I’ve done for over ten years, my first public blog was actually back in 2011 where I started blogging about my new kitten to share funny stories with my family (said kitten is now a very large-very opinionated cat). Since then I’ve dabbled in and out of different websites, helped friends and colleagues and then finally started ‘Jet Set Chick’ around a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back since.

I might have been a baby about turning 30 but I am pretty pleased with hitting the big 1-0-0 post mark. Here are a few top picks from the archives before I finally move onto the next century…

 

Most Read Post:

A New Years Eve To Remember on Board the Apsara Twilight Cruise

This was the most magical New Years Eve I have ever experienced. I have always been a big fan of seeing in the New Year. Usually because it means fireworks, friends, symbolises new beginnings… but most importantly it means time to write up a whole load of new lists! (Yes after 100 posts you should know I am actually that sad). 

 

My Personal Favourite:

A Final Farewell to my Twenties. It’s been special.

It’s ironic that on this milestone 100th blog post my personal favourite one to write was the one where I wrote about another milestone in my life, hitting the age of 30. I wrote it on the day of my birthday and I loved looking back over all the good and bad times I’ve had and how they made the person I am today.

 

My Favourite Blogger Event:

The Busaba Eathai Cookery Class Experience

Part of the Traverse15 bloggers weekend, the Busaba Eathai Cookery class was a really fun afternoon. Not only did we get to learn and spend time with a truly talented chef, but it was nice to meet bloggers from different niches to hear about their journeys. After spending most of the previous day in lectures, it was a perfect end to my weekend in Kingston.

 

Favourite Trip so far:

All of them??

Waaaaay too hard! I really wanted to pick one for this but I can’t. Each new country, city, town I have visited brings something different, something new to my life. I guess thats the best thing about writing this blog, I can look back on my old posts and remember all those great moments time and time again.

 

Thanks to all that have stuck with me and actually take the time to visit and read my blog. I hope some of you have found my travel tips helpful, destinations inspirational or simply enjoyed laughing with me at some of the unfortunate moments I’ve shared.

I’ve had a busy week at the World Travel Market and there’s lots of new content in the pipeline which I hope you’ll enjoy, so stick with me!

To thank all of you for reading and sharing I even have some giveaways lined up in the very near future, watch this space…

 

Thank you to all my friends and family for supporting me through all the mad and crazy times (especially pre-meal photoshoots which I know drive some of you crazy).

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