The past couple of years have not been the best for the travel industry: The 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris have deeply impacted number of tourists visiting the city, and now the U.K. is projected to suffer a similar decline in light of recent incidents in Manchester and London. However, these downturns pale in comparison to Egypt, a former holiday hot spot where tourism numbers fell by 40% last year as a direct result of political turmoil as well as a 2015 Russian plane crash.
The startling figures and negative media coverage did not deter Sarah Richard, the blogger behind Coffee With A Slice Of Life and the founder of Girls That Scuba, from moving to Egypt in December 2016 without knowing a single soul. We invited the solo travel enthusiast — who has visited 50 countries in the last six years and has lived around the world — to explain in her own words why fear should never stand in the way of discovering new cultures and experiences.
A post shared by ✈️Sarah Richard✈️ (@coffeethentravel) on Jan 28, 2017 at 7:39am PST
Before I started traveling, I thought I was pretty set up in life. My dad’s in the property business and that influenced the path I wanted to follow: buying houses and selling them. I worked at a bank in Brighton, U.K., and saved 90% of my income to buy property. I purchased my first house at 19. I led this life because that was all I knew.
Everything changed when my mom passed away suddenly when I was 22. It happened completely unexpectedly. One minute she was talking, and the next she was gone. When my mom died, I realized I was sitting on an important gift: the gift of life and being able to use it as I wish. I stopped caring about money and being “successful” in society’s standards. Now, it’s all about what I want to do. I sold my house, got rid of everything I owned, and bought a backpack.
A post shared by ✈️Sarah Richard✈️ (@coffeethentravel) on Nov 24, 2016 at 10:54am PST
I took all these scuba courses so I could master it and start earning money from diving — the combination just made a lot of sense to me. Along the way, I taught English, started my blog, and subsisted on very little money for a long time, but I’ve always been proud of financing all my travels by myself. I lived in Micronesia and worked on a boat for three months before moving to Hong Kong in a spur-of-the-moment decision.
I was in Hong Kong for two years and absolutely loved it: As a writer there, you get accustomed to this amazing and stress-free champagne lifestyle. I was in this bubble of cool events and socializing, and it’s the most convenient city ever. I had zero struggle whatsoever. It didn’t feel like real life, and I wanted to be challenged to …