That was a bit of a shocker right, but yes, you did read that right. I am moving to Egypt. And I am so incredibly excited. But I'm sure, what you really want to know is why the hell I am moving to a country that is currently on 'do not travel alert', (which by the way is a load of rubbish. Egypt is safe) and which couldn't be further away from my current home in Hong Kong.
Get yourself a coffee guys... you are in for quite the ride.
If you are a long time reader of this blog, or if you've only just joined it, there is one thing that would be impossible to miss; my love affair with Hong Kong. That city completely stole my heart, turned my life upside down and brought me to people that I know will be in my life for the rest of time. I will never, ever, forget arriving into that electric Asian city in March 2015 and being overcome with the strangest emotion. I knew from the moment my feet touched Hong Kong soil that something huge was about to happen. And from that moment on I followed my instinct which turned into the most beautiful adventure - 19 months long.
I could talk about Hong Kong for days, I really could. For those of you that have lived there, you know this feeling. And for those of you that have never been, just go. Let it capture you. It has so much to give.
But falling in love with a city had its draw backs.
And the largest one being: MONEY. And my lack of it.
Or should I say rent. Wow, Hong Kong is expensive. That cosy little shoe box you see up there cost me $1200USD a month. And for the first year, I really didn't care. I let my, never to be seen landlady, take almost 75% of my earnings (Oh yeah, also, being a writer in Hong Kong hardly pays the bills) and pranced around the city with not a worry in the world.
If we ever end up in the same place, remind me to tell you stories of times in that apartment, of times out in the city, of times spent crying with laughter. I can hardly believe some of the stuff we all got up to while living in Hong Kong, and they absolutely will never be revealed on this blog - those are to be shared over a fair few beers.
Shout to the best flatmate in the world, Mathilde. May our children never find out...
My life in Hong Kong catapulted my hobby as a travel blogger into a full-time career. I was in a city where any one you needed to know was just one connection away. And I was determined to make every connection I could. So it wasn't long before I was writing for a lot of the publications in Hong Kong, while staying up until 3am most nights (when there wasn't a bar/restaurant opening/friends birthday/visitor or just happy hour) building up this blog.
I started to travel more than ever before. 4 days here, 2 weeks there. Japan, China, Korea, Finland, Indonesia, Australia, Tibet and dozens more. I was hardly ever at home. The home that cost me $1200 to effectively just store my very little stuff.
My best friend Holly and my 'HK family' I truly love you guys.
As I spent less and less time 'living' in the city I spent more and more time getting angry about the amount I was paying. When it was decided I would be going over to the Middle East for 4 weeks I seriously thought about whether I could keep that lifestyle up.
It wasn't feasible anymore, it was time to give up my apartment and let my instinct lead me on another adventure. I'll be honest, at first I had my heart set on coming back to Hong Kong and renting Air BnB's for the time I was actually there.
But then I arrived in the Middle East.....
The Middle East was the complete opposite of my life in Hong Kong. There were rules, restrictions, borders, conflicts. But there was fresh air, open spaces, world wonders, and a constant flow of inspiration.
Money spread a LOT further.
I travelled through Israel. Tel Aviv, Jersualem, Eilat. I ate so much hummus. I met some amazing people, and it was there I decided I needed to spend longer. Palestine also played a huge part in my journey. Being able to see for my own eyes a place only known negatively in the media was some what humbling. From that moment on I swore never to believe anything negative until I had experienced it myself. It was safe to say the only feelings I experienced in Palestine were those of inspiration and positivity. Watch more below.
When I eventually persuaded myself to go to Jordan I did not expect it to have such an impact on me. It offered everything Israel did, and a lot lot more.
Petra blew my mind. From staying in a Bedouin tent, zooming through sand dunes, to gazing at the most magical wonder of the world. I think if I died right there I would have died happy.
Spending time scuba diving on the Southern-most part of Jordan, Aqaba, was where this move to Egypt all started.
I feel like a lot of big decisions in my life happen by accident. And my decision to even visit Egypt on this trip was purely just because I left my whole dive bag with a friend in Aqaba and the only way I could pick it up from him would be to visit him on his holiday in Egypt.
It didn't sound like a bad compromise to me. So I set off to the now sleepy town of Dahab.
And what is Dahab famous for? SCUBA DIVING! There was no way I wasn't going to like it really was there! So it was there I picked up my tank every morning and dove into the Red Sea, home to the most beautiful corals in the world.
Life is very good in Dahab. It's all about the diving. Life is also VERY CHEAP in Dahab. And ultimately that is what made my mind up for me. A private apartment won't cost me any more than $200 a month. That's a WHOPPING $1000 less than what I was paying in Hong Kong.
Epic diving + cheap living = a no brainer. Dahab was to be my new home.
So I guess, if I still have your attention, that is the short story. I am currently back in the U.K for a few days collecting all my dive equipment, changing my suitcase, and resting up after I hurt my foot (see Facebook).
It's safe to say I never got on my return flight to Hong Kong, and with a heavy heart I can no longer call it the place I live, although I know for a very long time it will still feel like home.
A big adventure is waiting as I take on life in Egypt. Who knows what is around the corner, all I know is I am incredibly excited and grateful for all of the experiences and opportunities that has presented themselves so far. What a beautiful life.
HONG KONG; I'LL BE VISITING YOU IN MARCH
Tribute to my HK friends (probably very boring to anyone else)
To everyone in Hong Kong. YOU CHANGED MY LIFE.
My Hong Kong family (the old, the new, and the estranged)
Jo, Lizzie, Matt, Anny, Jonny, Tim THE OG'S. Those first few months we spent together were the first time in a good few years I finally felt like I had a solid group of friends again. You all gave me more than you'll ever know.
Livvy, Hila, Linn, Rochelle, Labrini THE PARTY GIRLS. Here's to the nights we will never remember with the people we will never forget. I love you girls. Chris, you fit in here too ;)
Holly, Nik, Sophie, Maria DEGENS. I know there is no getting rid of you lot. Degens for life. Where ever we all end up. Another word: FC. All the FC. My best times in Hong Kong involve all your names. My love for us when we were all together is crazy.
Carli and Tanya MY LOVES. Two of the best people I was lucky enough to find in that crazy city. A large part of my heart belongs to you both. I know you both have wonderful things coming your way. And I hope to be a part of them. See you both very soon (Tanya, in a few days).
Mike, you'll never read this (but I imagine Holly or Mathilde will tell you so I better involve you JOKES) MY FIRST EVER FRIEND IN HONG KONG. You've literally seen it all. And we've literally seen every bar in that city together. I'll miss you too much to even tell you. I promise to come and visit. Wherever you end up. I love you.
Mathilde. ROOMIE. Oh, 15B, if the walls could talk. I never even knew it was possible to have that much fun with someone you lived with. But please, let's never do it again. My body is broken. You are such a beautiful soul and I know you are going to go far. I miss living with you.
Gary. #TRAVEL so thankful for this blog bringing us together and for the many times HK proved we were travel soulmates. Rachael, you're killing it at life, I'm so proud. Lauren LOZZA come and visit me when you find time in between being amazing. Deb, when will we ever find time to have coffee now? Cathy BASIC AVOCADO.
And every one else.