Yasmine, Wild Woman Guide in Egypt

April 4, 2024

Our Guiding Lights: Meet Our Inspiring Tour Guide Yasmine from Egypt

- By Caroline Owen

Continue reading Our Guiding Lights: Meet Our Inspiring Tour Guide Yasmine from Egypt

Introducing Yasmine, a Wild Women guide from Egypt whose journey has been incredibly empowering. Yasmine is passionate about showcasing her country’s rich heritage, and breaking societal norms shines through in her work. From empowering women to caring for stray animals, Yasmine’s path is filled with stories of resilience and a deep love for her role as a guide in the land of ancient wonders. Below, we take you through her unique experiences, adventures and insights as a tour guide for women in Egypt.

How did you become a guide?

I wanted to be an interior designer but failed an exam for drawing, which I think is really unfair, because I have many skills, but just not drawing. I was desperate and ready to go to any other faculty. My sister’s husband suggested tourism. I asked what’s the best major and they told me guiding so I could work in any sector including hotels, etc. If you choose to study hospitality, it doesn’t include guiding, so guiding is better because it includes everything.

After the first year, I fell in love with it. After traveling and going to museums, I felt God sent me in this direction. I studied for four years to get a degree in guiding. Not everyone can be a tour guide in Egypt. It’s quite difficult. You either do a four-year degree, or, you can do a two year post-grad certificate. 

My education was very traditional and old school learning, so I didn’t depend on that to be a guide. I took more training with Egyptologists, because I felt I needed to learn more on my own to really have a full depth of knowledge. 

Yasmine, wild women tour guide in Egypt

Was it easy to find jobs as a female guide?

I worked from 2007 to 2011 as a guide and was becoming known and getting good jobs, then there was the uprising of the Arab spring and I stopped working as a guide. It was a desperate time because I had just become well known in the industry and really felt good in the job. After that, I worked with my elder sister in a kindergarten that she owned. I managed the school for her until the time of Covid. Then, I spent a lot of time at home, like everyone, thinking about my life. I realized I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing, and that my heart was still with tourism, although it wasn’t the best time to consider this option.

It was ok to help my sister, but I’m not that into children, so I wasn’t that happy doing that job. My sister depended on me, so she wasn’t happy when I left, but she understood. 

So, after Covid I started working in tourism again, starting in 2021. The company I’d worked for before had closed, so I was really starting all over again. I applied to lots of travel agencies and got jobs easier than I thought. It didn’t take long for me to get well known again. I was surprised and happy, thinking I would work part time with my sister, but after a few months, I had so much guiding work that I didn’t have time to work with my sister anymore.

Yasmine, wild women guide, touring with wild women

Unfortunately, I caught Covid from my first tour after not having had it during the whole time before that. I had to continue the tour anyway, because there was no one else to take over for me. I wore a mask and stayed away from the guests as much as possible, but it was very difficult because I was feeling so sick and had a very hard time concentrating. Luckily, no one else caught it from me. 

When I started guiding again, I was working in Cairo and Alexandria with day tours only. I started with a British company, but they were very strict and didn’t give me the freedom to please the guests the way I like to. So, I applied to more agencies and Great Wonders of Egypt hired me. Basem (owner) heard about me from other agencies who were also well known. He only hires guides who have a good reputation because he doesn’t want to take a chance that they won’t be good.

Now I can be very picky with who I work with and not all are doing their best to please the guests, which is what I like to do. My time is very full now and I’m very happy with the work. Most tours are 8-12 days, and I’m doing two per month.

What do you love about being a Wild Woman Guide?

This is my second tour with Wild Women Expeditions, and I love it so much. I prefer working with women because I understand their needs and emotions, which makes it easier to connect with them. 

Yasmine, wild women guide in Egypt as a tour guide
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I like to empower women worldwide, and do that by being supportive and creating space for them to talk freely. Everyone has a story and when we share, we feel that we’re not alone in our struggles. 

What I really love about Wild Women Expeditions is that it encourages women to dare to do things they’ve never done before and to discover themselves in a different way and do things they would never think of doing if they were planning their own trip. The happiness and empowerment I see from guests makes me feel extremely happy.

Wild Women Expeditions is one of a kind in choosing interesting, exciting activities that are so worth being seen and done. 

Yasmine, wild women guide also a member as a rescuer in an animal shelter with dogs.

What’s your life like when you’re not guiding?

In the summer when it’s not so busy, I’m still helping my sister in her kindergarten.

I also have a membership as a rescuer in an animal shelter. I rescue animals from the streets, treat them, and if necessary, take them to the shelter. I collect money to get medicine to treat the dogs for mange. I care very much about the stray dogs and cats, and it’s a big part of my life to take care of them.  My main life is my job and the animals.

What was your early life like? 

My father and mother passed away when I was in kindergarten (mother) and 3rd grade (father). My eldest sister took care of me, and now I live with my brother in my parents’ home.  My brother is a teacher in school. He was an engineer, but being a teacher has a better income for him.

Why aren’t you married when most women in Egypt are?

If my father and mother were alive, I’d probably be married because they would never leave me alone about it. I was able to choose freely, so I chose to stay single. I’m not against marriage. I feel I’ve been responsible for myself from a very young age. Every man I meet, I feel I’m more responsible than them. I ask myself, will I gain something from this if I marry him? And so far, the answer has been “no.”  I also see that most married people around me are not happy. Sometimes I wonder about when I get old, will I be lonely. If I don’t find someone who I want to spend my life with, maybe I will consider adopting a child. The divorce rate is very high here. Men can be very demanding and want the lady to do everything, but I want to know “what are you doing for me?” The women are overwhelmed with things to do, but the men don’t have to do very much. A man takes a lot of energy from you.

Yasmine, wild women guide

I want to give more to my job and to the stray animals, and if I have a man, he will want more of my energy. The only way I would get married is if it  is giving more back to me. 

I’m now 40, and it’s rare to be unmarried at this age, but I don’t care. 

When I was in school, everyone was thinking about getting married, and now they aren’t happy. Your partner must be an addition to your life, not just what society wants you to do.

Would you consider having a baby without a husband? 

No way. It’s against our religion. Even though I’m not veiled, I take my religion very seriously and I would not do this. I have my limits. 

Is there anything else you want to share? 

I’m not veiled, and that’s a personal choice. Some of the veiled girls are wearing a head scarf, but also tight clothes. This is wrong. Normally I’m wearing loose and conservative clothing that are not revealing. I like to go to ladies-only beaches, so I can wear a swimsuit freely. Islam is more deep than just wearing a scarf. It’s about being merciful and caring. Please don’t judge the religion by how people act, but it’s about being caring for people, which is the message from our prophet Mohammed. Like any other religion, what people do in the name of religion is not what the religion is actually about. 

Thank you for sharing about your life and your work with us…we’re so happy that you’ve chosen to be a guide with Wild Women Expeditions.

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