Changing your life is definitely not just a dream; as many people would have you believe. It is also not as difficult as your would think! Giulia, an Italian woman from Genova can demonstrate this. Tired and disappointed by her job in Italy, she decided to set sail and explore the world. A few months ago she left Italy to start a round the world trip across three different continents including South America. Giulia started her trip in Egypt, just before the unrest started in January 2011. She tells us about her experiences so far.
I’m Giulia, 28 years old, with a degree in English and Russian. Fed up with life in Italy having worked in Italian hotels for 7 years. Even while working I kept traveling even for long periods: 6 months in New York, 9 months in Scotland… Then in April 2010 I had an accident and fractured a vertebra in my back – this was a wake up call and when I decided to change my life and do what I enjoy. So here I am doing a round the world trip!
When did you decide to leave Italy and why?
I was thinking about spending some time in Egypt since I first visited the Country, in 2004. Every year I managed to go back to Egypt for a holiday. Every time I went home I felt bored of the same old job, which I didn’t get much satisfaction out of it anymore. When I had my accident, I broke a vertebra and luckily I didn’t have permanent damages. I saw this as a sign: while recovering I decided to change my life and do something I loved: traveling. Also didn’t want to have any regrets in life so I decided to try.
Why did you decide to go on a round the world trip?
At the beginning I just wanted to stay in Egypt, but having traveled a lot in the past, I knew I still wanted to see so many other places before settling down. Moreover, my mother is very well travelled, she was a great inspiration to me. She recently just came back from a fantastic trip to Easter Island and Galapagos… ! So I chose Egypt as “first stop” I then plan to head to South America, Asia, Africa. I definitely have a long road ahead! So far everything has gone very well, I’m very please about my 9 months in Egypt and I’m ready to go on!
On your blog you say you plan to work while traveling: what do you have in mind?
I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I do have a lot of work experience in both Italy and US, I’m certain I can find something easily, in either the tourism or photography fields.
Your first stop was Egypt: what made you decide to visit this place?
I fell in love with Egypt after my first trip. Believe me, I didn’t even want to go at first! Now I can’t explain the reasons why I love this Country, honestly there are too many, I just feel totally comfortable here. The people are friendly and welcoming, always willing to help you. Cost of living is cheap and you don’t need to stress too much about money. With regards to sightseeing, there’s everything: history (pyramids, temples…), nature (desert, beautiful sea…) and cities (Cairo, Alexandria). There’s everything, except skiing resorts, but I don’t like them (anymore, after my accident) so it is just the perfect place for me.
How did it go during the 9 months you spent in Cairo?
It was great. I met a lot of people, I learnt so many new things and even a little Arabic. I never had a problem, it was 9 amazing months! In Egypt you’re always surrounded by people, you’re never alone and can always find a solution to your problems, this another reason why I love this place!
Did you find a job in Egypt?
I managed to find many jobs, even though I don’t speak Arabic! I was a kids entertainer, marketing manager, events organiser and an assistant in a photography studio: not bad! I also hope to start eventually earning an income from my website, but I’ve realised I need to allocate more time to it. Of course having a little extra income would be very useful…
Can you explain the situation in Egypt just before the protests started in January 2011?
Did you feel in danger at any point? Up Until January 25th no one was expecting any sort of revolution. Life seem to go on as as normal. There were some protests, but what triggered the actual revolution was the reaction of the police: they tried to stop the protests and used teargas and violence from day one. Then people started to fight for their rights and even those who didn’t join the demonstrations in the beginning, eventually took to the streets as well.
I felt in danger only on January 28th and 29th: I witnessed very scary and sad things. Seeing buildings burning a few meters from my home made me shake in terror. The Internet was cut off as well as telephone lines and it was hard to find out what was happening. The worst incident I experienced was on January 29th, during the night: police had abandoned the city and looters took over the streets. I was in my flat with my flatmates with a big piece of furniture in front of the door, hearing gunshots in the streets and the following day I was still shaking… Then, little by little, the situation went back to normal. The Italian Embassy didn’t help at all, even though I asked for assistance and advice.
How did you find Italy when you came back?
I returned to Italy on February 2nd 2011, in the middle of the revolution in Egypt. I remember looking desperately for news about Egypt on the TV, but with no luck. I remember on February 11th, the day Mubarak stepped down, my Italian friends didn’t know anything about it. I felt so frustrated. In the meantime riots started in Libya, again a lot of blood was shed, and all the Italian people worried about was the “immigrants danger” and the rising of petrol prices. I personally cried thinking about all those innocent people who died. To sum up, Italy disappointed greatly.