Right now I am sitting in a hammock next to the sea, looking out at some snorkelers. I am happy, comfortable and content. I was sitting here trying to think of what I could write for a new post. I am “working”.
I’m in Dahab, Egypt, so I could write about anything. I could tell you about my crazy border crossing from Jordan, military escort and all. I could try to put into words my trip into the desert Bedouin camps, my hike up St. Catherine (Moses) mountain, or the camel safaris down the beaches. I could try to paint a picture about the tranquility of my numerous dives into the sea.
What’s really on my mind right now, is how great of a place Dahab really is overall. This is the sort of place the a weary traveler could end up staying a long time. Could this be my new home base? Could I call Dahab “home”, or as close to “home” as a nomad can have?
To prove my point, to you and myself, I will make a list of reason why I think Dahab could be the ultimate place for a travel blogger to be.
1. It’s warm! I don’t know about you, but I need a place to be warm. I would rather hang out in flip flops and short all day, than a big coat and be miserable. Seeing the bikinis run around apposed to parkas helps as well!
2. It’s cheap. Right now I am paying about $6 for a private room mere steps from the ocean AND a pool. I can literally snorkel 30 seconds from my room. What more can one ask? Cheap rooms, cheap diving, cheap tours and negotiable everything. I started to leave my hotel the other day to go to another one, and the owner stopped me. In about 1 minute he offered me the room for half price. So I stayed. Visiting Egypt is seriously the thing to be doing.
3. No tourists. Because of the whole revolution thing, there are state department warnings not to come here. What does that mean for the people that DO come anyways? Prices are way down and negotiating those already-low prices is easier. When you’re one of the only foreigners in town, people compete for your business.
4. World class diving. The other day I did a fun dive and it was so awesome that I haven’t stopped since. Everyone that likes diving has heard of the Blue Hole of Dahab, but honestly that’s not even my favorite place in the area. I’m worn out from doing 13 dives in the last 10 days, but very happy. Dives are great, cheap, in warm water and very close by. What more is there!?
5. Friendly people. Traveling alone for last few years, I can really appreciate warm and friendly people (something that Israel really lacked). Back home all you hear about is the evil, terrorist Muslims. Now that I am here, I have never been welcomed so warmly and accepted as a brother. Maybe it’s hard to understand if you aren’t here, but it’s easy to feel like you are loved and welcomed here. There is not many places in the world that I have been where I could say the same. I will be sad to leave… If I ever do.
6. No pressure. This place oozes relaxation. For a truly religious country, I, as a non-affiliate, have noticed that I have had no pressure to convert or repent or anything, and have never experienced such a level of tolerance before. Muslims are much different than I imagined. They seem happy, and intuitive. They don’t want to judge you, like Christians, Catholics and many others do. They don’t say to me that they are the only way and everyone else is damned forever. The Koran teaches to be completely open-minded and to always be learning. It has lead to many long discussions on everything in life.
I am pleasantly surprised by Egypt, and Dahab in particular, but again, maybe this is something you have to experience yourself to understand. And I recommend you do!
Justin Carmack is a world traveler, who runs the blog "True Nomads". Find his blog here.