I first “met” Mina Mahrous several months ago when he wrote an incredibly eye-opening post on his blog. As an Egyptian, he rightly took issue with how we travel bloggers tend to say anybody can afford to travel as long as you set your priorities that way. He pointed out – very elegantly, I might add – that we in the developed world are spoiled… and wrong. Now, I’m happy to present his guest post about some of the new experiences from travel he never would have done if he hadn’t conquered his fears and taken a leap.
I graduated from pharmacy school in 2011 but never really enjoyed working as a pharmacist. You can imagine how boring it is, can’t you? Because of that, a few months ago I decided to give teaching a shot after getting an opportunity for an internship as a teacher in Indonesia.
I decided to go out of my destined path and try teaching English for a few months, and went traveling! Given that it was a paid internship, I didn’t have to worry much about the amount of money I had. I DO NOT regret this, not one moment of it. Even if I didn’t really enjoy the teaching part as much as I wished I would, the whole experience was awesome. I did things I had never done before and probably wouldn’t have done if I stayed in my respected career as a pharmacist.
1) Rode Motorbikes
Given that my internship was in Indonesia, I got a motorbike on long term rental and learned how to drive through the crazy traffic in Indonesia, not only in the cities. I traveled with that motorbike from city to city, from island to island, through sun and rain, for short distances to the supermarket that was less than 1km away and up to eight hours straight going half way through Java island! I even drove it through the sand sea desert around Mount Bromo (that didn’t go so well…)
Before I came to Asia I had never driven motorbikes, and all my knowledge about them (as an Egyptian) was that they were used by fast food chains for delivery!
I totally love motorbikes now, at any given chance, back home or in any other country, I’d rent/drive a motorbike again!
2) Learned Indonesian language
Well, that didn’t go so well either, but my knowledge of Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) has definitely grown to the point that I can ask for directions, go to markets and haggle for prices, in Indonesian! Who would have thought that I would ever learn this language?
3) Learned new skills
Before I started teaching I was always afraid of public speaking. Back in university I would always be that member of the group that prepared all the data and presentations but never presented them; other group members did that. And when forced to hold the microphone and talk I would go colorful, ranging from pale yellow to tomato red, with involuntarily dances (shakes) on stage.
This was the case in my first few lessons as a teacher as well, but now that I was forced to do this for several hours a day for 4 months, I admit: I STILL PANIC WHEN SPEAKING TO A CROWD! But at least I feel way better than before about it. I can definitely do it again now; I’m not 100% fearless but I know I can do it!
4) Gave a vaccination
Well, I would have also done that if I continued in my career, but doing it to a friend, at home, using local alcohol as a disinfectant surely gave it a different sense of adventure. Especially that I used Google to determine where exactly I should put the needle…
5) Got lost in a desert
As mentioned at the beginning, I drove my motorbike through the Indonesian desert on my way to Mount Bromo during the night, and I got lost. I had to wait several hours in the cold for the sunrise to be able to find my way. But I made it to Bromo after all, even if not for sunrise. I had my own amazing sunrise, and this unexpected adventure definitely made my visit to Mount Bromo more memorable!
6) Made new friends
And last but not least, the best part comes in: the new friends I made, whether locals from Indonesia or other interns from totally different backgrounds, I learned a lot more about many different countries, and secured myself free accommodation in many countries too! How cool is that?
Mina Mahrous is a young Egyptian guy who tries his best to travel as much as he can, He writes his travel tales, what he learned from traveling, and his observations on his blog, Someday I’ll Be There. Follow along with his experiences from travel and read about travel from a different point of view, an Egyptian/Middle Eastern view.