Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,
Happy Holidays! I hope your December was filled with plenty of laughter, friends, family and of course lots of yummy food!
I’m excited to announce ArchaeoAdventures Tours turned one years old on November 30th! To celebrate what an incredible first year it has been at ArchaeoAdventures Women-Powered Tours, we’re offering all of our friends and travel community, and your friends and family a $100 voucher toward one of our 2016 tours for any trips booked by the end of the year! Join us on the trip of a lifetime next year to Morocco, Egypt or Turkey, and be a special part of ArchaeoAdventures 2nd year.
Putting together a trip to Morocco has been very exciting. The biggest challenge has been deciding which places and experiences to include in our upcoming tours — there’s so many incredible things to see and do in Morocco! In the end, I decided on Marrakech, Ait Benhaddou and the High Atlas mountains, the ‘Road of a Thousand Kasbahs’ and the Dades Gorges, the Erg Chebbi dunes and the Sahara desert, Fez, Chefchaouen and Casablanca. It was a shame to leave out more time exploring the High Atlas Mountains, staying with a Berber family, Meknes, Moulay Idris, Rabat and Essouira, but look for those amazing destinations and experiences in our upcoming longer 14 day trip which I hope to open for 2017.
People watching at Chefchaouen’s Kasbah. Even though the city is all blue (like the bench), the ancient kasbah provides an interesting juxtaposition being all red.
Returning to Egypt with a small group of travelers always fills me with such a sense of purpose and being on mission. My first experiences organizing and running tours in Egypt was in early 2012 during the height of the Arab Spring. At that time, I was assisting with operations in Cairo for Middle Eastern Adventures Tours. We were running tours for adventurous travelers, showing them what life was like in Egypt, on the ground, during the Arab Spring. I loved sharing with them a very different side to Egypt than they saw in the news. Showing travelers around Egypt and sending them home as ambassadors of goodwill to share a very different narrative with their friends and family than what was being shown on the news. Fast forward a few years, I’m still educating travelers about Egypt, but this time taking a small group of women around my favorite country with my favorite lady expert guides. It never gets old visiting my favorite famous Pharaohs, tombs, temples, ancient ruins, as well as the great Arab and modern history and sites. Floating over the Nile and legendary West Bank of Luxor in a hot air balloon as the rising sun peaks over the horizon and lights the Nile on fire with the red of the first rays of morning light. Walking through the forest of columns of Karnak’s colossal Hypostyle Hall late in the day, enjoying a few quite moments in this great hall of kings and important religious priests after most travelers have left. Enjoying a classic Egyptian meal from the deck of our Nile cruise boat while we sail from Luxor to Aswan, taking in the stunning scenery of massive desert cliffs and lush fields being worked along the banks of Egypt’s lifeblood river. Experiencing the chaos, beauty and reverence of the Great Pyramid and the Giza plateau, then popping over to Dahshur to get upclose and personal with Sneferu’s pyramids in a much quieter setting than Giza. Sipping Arabic coffee with our wonderful guide Reham and discussing what life is like for a modern Egyptian women. The magic of Egypt is alive and well, even with a fewer tourists (though 10 million strong still visit Egypt every year). Egypt is still a great, and safe, place to visit and I’m excited to again this year share it with a handle of curious travelers.
Just another day in Egypt! While taking travelers to the Pyramids, my dear friend and kickass lady guide, Reham, sneak a quick photo of the two of us. Reham is one of the smartest, big-hearted, travel savvy ladies I know; and she is an expert on both ancient and modern day Egypt.
Turkey and Jordan are two of my other favorite destination in the Middle East and I’m excited will be offering tours there as well. We are currently finalizing details for our 2016 Turkey tour and will be announcing those details soon.
This past year we have also launched the column On the road with Joanie Maro, brought on guest writers and staff columnists, shared my travel tips and adventures with you, and are now launching our women changemakers podcast series. We’ve been featured in The Issaquah Press and partnered with Savvy Traveler Shop and NW Peak’s Brewery to offer travel seminars.
Thank you all for being a big part of this journey. Thank you for all your love, dedication and support. We couldn’t have done it without you! I would also like to take a moment to thank a few special members of ArchaeoAdventures’ team, without whom this would all not be possible. I would like to share a big heartfelt, loved-filled thank you to Jennifer Larsen, Lizzie Clawson, Joanie Maro, Manal Kelig and Liz Williams. Without all your tireless work and dedication we couldn’t do what we do here at ArchaeoAdventures. And it’s a lot more fun with all of you sharing this exciting little travel sand box with me.
I built ArchaeoAdventures to be a company that makes a difference – through educating travelers about the Middle East and North Africa, providing women with savvy, smart, safe tours to the MENA region, employing local female tourism professionals, and connecting women across cultures. It is a two way street — to change women travelers’ perspectives on the Middle East and North Africa (called the MENA region) and to offer good jobs at good wages to the very talented women in tour guiding, tourism logistics, inbound operators, hotel managers, and site management who were struggling from the economic downturns across the region. Our company, and you as our travelers, are making an important and profound difference in many women tourism professionals’ lives and their families’ lives through good market wages and employment. At ArchaeoAdventures, we strongly believe in the idea that travel and positive change can be powered by women — and you as our wonderful group of women travelers and supporters help power this change through employing women across the MENA region through our tours. We couldn’t change so many women’s lives without your help and support. Thank you from all of ArchaeoAdventures’ team and our amazing women staff throughout the region.
2016 looks to be an incredible and big year for ArchaeoAdventures! We’re so excited to share this exciting and crazy journey with you. Next year we will be doubling the number of our tours we offer with women’s tours to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. As well as, one co-ed tour to Morocco. We also will be expanding ArchaeoAdventures FM with numerous travel podcast series and our new Women Rising: Women Changemakers series.
Thank you for being here, for sharing your love of travel with us, and for your curiosity in the Middle East and North Africa.
Happy Holidays and here’s to an amazing 2016 wherever your travels take you!