MONTHLY UPDATE…DUBAI + EGYPT
Publishing my very first Ever Wander monthly update has me all full with butterflies. Thank you for being here, and I hope you love it!
I’m writing to you on my train ride from Madrid to Seville, Spain today. I’m about to experience the craziest + most religious week in all of Spain, called Semana Santa [aka Holy Week], and I didn’t plan it at all. It all makes sense now…places were so hard to find + the prices were outrageous. I feel blessed I get to experience this long held tradition + can’t wait to share all the deets next month. I’m pretty sure it’s probably being added to the bucket list.
Before I start sharing all the awesomeness from the past month, I want to say one thing…we want to say thank you for supporting us + expressing an interest in following our adventures around the world. But…first I need to get one thing off my chest quickly. As you may or may not know, I’m a very passionate, sarcastic, + direct person…translation…there’ll be swearing in this newsletter as well in my YouTube videos. If that isn’t your cup of tea, I totally respect your decision to unsubscribe. Absolutely no hard feelings. Just trying to be my 100% authentic self + that includes my colorful + unfiltered mouth. If you proceed, you’ve been forewarned.
Lastly, I aim to keep these short + sweet [after this one], + packed with value [aka fuck the fluff as I like to say] as I’m mindful of your time. Phew…1st f-bomb out of the way. Plus, I realize reading is almost extinct these days.
WHERE ARE ASHLEY + CAMERON?!
MARCH 1ST – 31ST | DUBAI
March was my birthday month, so it was pretty WILD! Where my Pisces at?! On March 15th, I spent my 37th birthday checking off bucket list items. We scuba-dived inside the Dubai Mall Aquarium with sharks, giant leopard rays, marine life bigger than me, and a semi-aggressive AngelFish that tapped on my goggles + proceeded to bite my forehead. We also jet skied along the coast, went on a mini shopping spree, + had our most unique dining experience yet at Ossiano at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm.
When we left Dubai, I was an official UAE resident. Crazy, right?! I started the process back in November 2022. We like it so much there, Cameron’s moving his residency from Barbados to the UAE as well. Dubai will be the first of our 3-4 “hubs” we call home around the world. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll have our first home/investment property purchased by the end of 2023.
APRIL 1ST – 15TH | EGYPT
As for the first half of April…it’s been completely NUTTZO! We’re moving at a faster clip than we like, but we’re embracing it + soaking up all the fun.
After Dubai we hit Egypt! Country 48 for me baby! And, it was Cameron’s second time since 1991. Egypt blew both our minds! In a good + equally bad way.
I booked this trip with the same company I used for our trip to Kenya last June [honeymoon]. If you want an intro, drop us a comment. They’re great + you don’t get charged to use their service. They have pre-created trips with 3 price range options or you can fully customize one if you prefer. I generally go the custom route. Regardless, I highly recommend going on safari! Seriously, add it to your bucket list.
While there…we gazed at the Great Pyramids of Giza in awe, tested our claustrophobia inside the middle of one, got tossed around on a camel’s back [I have mixed feelings about it, but Egypt is the only place to do it], drank Egyptian history from a firehose, stared into the eyes of a mummy, cruised down the Nile in style, scuba dived in the Red Sea, + took so many pics + videos it’s disgusting.
Here are the things we loved…Egyptian history is probably the coolest I’ve come across thus far. The opulence of it all! Not to mention, the engineering + mathematical marvels that still stump scientists today. We loved connecting with the locals + hearing how much pride they have in their country. Being there during Ramadan took it up another notch as well. We arrived right when it was starting, + the traffic was INSANE…like 30 minutes to cross one bridge! It was very reminiscent of India. I loved learning about the Muslim culture. The Iftar feasts + buffet spreads were NEXT LEVEL! I’ve never seen so much food + tables full of sweets in my entire life.
Now for the parts we didn’t love. Cairo is very very dirty + poverty stricken…to the point where we didn’t feel inspired or comfortable leaving the hotel. The air quality is horrible due to 22 million people living there, and I’m pretty sure 90% of them smoke. My sinuses were not having it.
The worst part…the constant male gazes, leering, + general creepiness coupled with the oppressive male culture left me nauseous + angry. On one of our flights, I got into a disagreement with a male flight attendant. When Cameron went to use the restroom, the flight attendant gave him a lecture about how he needed to have “his wife” to listen to flight attendants. Translation, I need to listen to men but more importantly I needed to listen to him specifically. Barf! My tongue was bleeding from that one. The hate + disdain I saw in that man’s eyes had me wondering what he’d do to his wife if she ever challenged him in public or behind closed doors. I don’t want to know + no thank you.
Without question, we both thought scuba diving was gonna be our favorite. Unfortunately, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sharm El-Sheikh is overrun with tourists, tacky all-inclusive resorts, + reminds me of Cabo for the Middle East [I mean no offense Cabo lovers]. The worst part…the dead + trash infested reefs in Ras Muhammad. So incredibly sad. Once hailed as one of the best places in the world to scuba dive + it’s practically destroyed.
We know what to expect when visiting third world countries. And, even when we think we’re prepared, we’re not. Every time we leave we’re extremely humbled + grateful for the lives we get to lead. While there, we know we’re practically a walking ATM, but the “baksheesh” + nickel + diming was non-stop every day + night. It’s such a mult-faceted + nuanced issue it’s hard to process. We’re saddened by corrupt government officials and wish we could help everyone but sadly we can’t.
Ultimately, we’re glad we went to Egypt. I loved crossing off that bucket list item. But, it wasn’t without the full spectrum of emotions. We recommend you go, but I’d definitely book it through a travel agency. Egypt is a one trip country for me, even though Alexandria was on my list.
On that note, my goal is to be as open + honest about our experiences as possible, especially when they aren’t great. We live in a world of highlight reels + toxic positivity which is nauseating + unrealistic. It isn’t always fun or easy. It’s the going through shit that makes the sweet so sweet. And, that’s why I’m sharing the truly beautiful as well as the down right shit parts of our travel experiences. I choose real over fake + filtered any day.
I’m gonna leave it there for now. But, next month I’ll tell you all about my crazy adventures in Southern Spain [they’re pretty fucking crazy] + all the mindblowing stuff we learned at the TED Conference [Vancouver] + the Intelligent Change Summit [Ibiza].
VIDEOS YOU’LL LOVE
Let’s get this party started with some Summer 2021 throwbacks when Cameron and I embarked on a 30-day, west coast, national parks + forests road trip. I’ve selected two of our favorite experiences + videos I know you’ll love!
Bryce Canyon left us speechless! I can’t believe I haven’t visited here sooner! It’s a true masterpiece. Definitely add it to your bucket list.
Next, Hell’s Revenge had our stomachs in our throats! Another bucket list item I didn’t know I had. The rocks we crawled up + down were slightly terrifying.
Hint…our next favorites are Arches, Zion, Glacier, + Grand Canyon.
TRAVEL HACK OF THE MONTH
GOOGLE OFFLINE MAPS
This feature has saved me on more than one occasion in countries where I didn’t know the language + had zero cellular reception.
Follow this link to learn how to download a specific region to your phone while using the Google Maps app. It’s super simple.
That way you can access the detailed map, see the lil blue dot, + manually navigate or walk in the right direction. If you have intermittent connectivity, you can start the navigation + turn off cellular…it’ll keep navigating for quite awhile before having to reconnect to a cellular signal.
BIO HACK OF THE MONTH
LEMON + APPLE CIDER VINEGAR WATER
100% the best way to start your day…with a glass of alkaline water, ½ fresh squeezed lemon, + 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Drinking this first thing in the morning helps flush out all the toxins your liver started clearing at ~2-3AM. If you don’t flush the toxins with water, they get reabsorbed into the liver as toxins. Not good. The apple cider vinegar [not gummies or pills, the actual vinegar] promotes healthy stomach acid [proper digestion] as well as lowers your glucose levels. If you’re worried about your teeth, drink it through a straw + rinse your mouth out with water immediately afterwards. Give it a try. You’ll thank me later. If you want to learn more about glucose + how it’s slowly diminishing our life + health spans, I highly recommend reading + following the simple hacks in the book Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspé. Side note, if you NEED a cup of coffee immediately after waking that’s a sign that your sleep routine, hygiene, + environment require some attention.
You made it to the end! WooHoo!
Comment + tell me your fave video.