The Tour d’Afrique 2011 kicks off today in Cairo, Egypt.

It was this time three years ago that we started our transformation from working class career oriented professionals to adventurers and full time travel bloggers.

It started out as a New Years Resolution on the eve of 2008.  We were feeling blue after 2 years of working too hard and traveling too little. We were stuck in a rut. It was just after midnight on a very gloomy New Years Eve for us. We were watching TV and luckily a profile of ultra marathon runner Ray Zahab came on the CBC. We were instantly inspired and made a pact to do something extraordinary in the New Year.

Two weeks later we made the decision to cycle Africa and take part in the Longest Cycling Race in the world at 12,000 km.  We trained for the year leading up to the race and dreamed of selling a travel show to Discovery or The Outdoor Network.  We stayed focused on our goal of becoming a part of the EFI club and to win the race.  I was woman’s champion and Dave succeeded in cycling Every Fabulous Inch and we fulfilled our goals for the Tour d’Afrique 2008.

tour d'afrique cairo to capetown

Finish Line in Cape Town of the Tour d’Afrique

While our television career didn’t happen, our adventure travel blog was born and a year and a half later we were back on the road as full time travelers finally living our dream of becoming full time travelers.

And the rest is history.

In honour of our three-year anniversary since the trip that changed our life, we thought that we would share our favourite moments in Egypt.  The first leg of the Tour d’Afrique starts at the Pyramids and follows the Nile all the way to the Sudan.

We wanted to make sure that we had the chance to see everything that the country had to offer, so we left for Africa two weeks early to experience one of our own Egypt Holidays.  We are glad that we did because once we hit the road it was a non-stop race to the finish line.

What we did for our Two Weeks in Egypt before The Tour d’Afrique.

1. Bedouin Safari to the White Desert

The White Desert a great adventure in Egypt

Taking a trip to the White Desert is one of our best travel experiences of all time.  A jeep takes you deep into the Sahara Desert where you pass through the Black Desert before Entering the White Desert.  The White Desert is like being on a different planet.  Your Bedouin Guides set up camp as you have the chance to explore the most incredible formations you may ever witness.  Giant rocks pop out from the desert floor forming curious shapes like giant mushrooms, camels and birds.  The formations are made of a chalky substance and years of erosion has carved an impressive sight in the middle of the desert.

2. Hire a Camel to see the Pyramids

Man and camel at sunrise of Pyramids of Giza

A person cannot go to Egypt without seeing one of the world wonders.  The Pyramids of Giza do not disappoint and there is no better way to see them than on the back of a camel.  Hiring a guide and camel takes you to the back of the pyramids away from the tour buses and crowds.  You can live out your Lawrence of Arabia fantasies while exploring one of the last remaining Ancient Wonders of the World.

3. Take a Felucca on the Nile

felucca sails on the Nile River at sunset

There is nothing more magical than sailing on the Nile. This mythical river lives up to the hype.  To think of the historical events that took place on it’s banks is overwhelming. It on the Nile that baby Moses floated down the river. Pharoah’s ruled the land and Cleopatra and King Tut spent time on these waters.  To set sail on a Felucca and feel the breeze on your face while listening to nothing but the silence of the wind, you can almost imagine what life was like thousands of years ago.

4. Explore the Valley of the Kings

temple of Hatchepsut at Valley of the Kings in Egypt

Burial grounds to the great Kings of Ancient Egypt, the Valley of the Kings is impressive.  A Giant Valley surrounded by cliffs and mountains is the perfect resting place for royalty. Final home to King Tut and Ramses I, III, IV, it is filled with large chambers buried under the mountains.  While you are out at the Valley of the Kings, make sure to stop and see the temple of Hatshepsut. It is considered one of the most impressive monuments on the planet and what is unique is that this temple was made for a female king.

5. Visit a Charity in Cairo

a project area supported by Plan canada

A community in need in the heart of Cairo

When we cycled through Africa, not only did a portion of our funds go the Tour d’Afrique  Bicycle Foundation, we also raised money and awareness for Plan Canada. We have the honour of visiting an area of Cairo where no tourist ever goes.  This is the poorest part of the city, but with the help of Plan, microfinance  projects are being funded for craftsmen and artists, running water has been brought to the community, children with disabilities are being taken care of and integrated with society and people have hope for the future.  It was an uplifting experience to see and meet people that have so very little welcome us into their homes with warm smiles.

We saw so many things during our time in Egypt. The Luxor Temple, the Cairo Museum, Abu Simbel and we  camped on the Red Sea. We sailed along Lake Nassar all the way to Sudan and still have so much more to see in Egypt. But this trip before the Tour d’Afrique has made a great start.  It changed our lives and we will never forget our the beginning of the trip that changed our lives.

New Years Resolutions

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that changed your life? Do you believe in New Years Resolutions and if you do did you follow through?  This resolution that we made on New Years 2008 was our biggest ever and we fully believe in making new goals and seeking new opportunities every year.

This year we made a new resolution to get ourselves back into Tour d’Afrique shape. We have started our Muay Thai training camp and you can read all about it next week.

We posted a Twitter Question before writing this post to ask people if they make New Years Resolutions, here are the responses that we got.

  • SaritaAshley I personally don’t like the New Year’s resolution bit. I don’t understand why we can’t live our whole life like that everyday.
  • EvannRachel I think they’re a good thing. People need that date change sometimes to get started on something new. It’s motivational.
  • Nomad_Student I think making resolutions on Jan. 1 just because of the date is silly. Make them when you’re feeling resolved to do something!
  • backpackingww Good intentions, but it shouldn’t take a new year to want to make a change!

On Facebook we posed the question and here are the responses:

  • Olga: I start a new life every Monday morning. Somehow I end up in my old life by Monday afternoon.
  • Deanna: I reflect and I consider some things I would like to make an effort to improve upon but I find calling it a resolution just sets it up for failure.
  • Trisha Miller I make a few, but only if I know I’ll be able to keep them…..I don’t beleive in setting myself up for failure :-)
  • Anis Velasco:  Deanna summarized my philosophy on the subject perfectly. This year, as usual, I have not made resolutions; but I plan to make a conscious effort to live in the moment rather than worry about the future or fret about the past. Also, I think my husband and I may be running another half marathon this year – not sure where yet. I just learned at #TNI that the Paris marathon is amazing, so that’s been added to my bucket list, though probably not for this year.

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  2. Amy

    Would love to read more about the cycling race. Have you written about the entire journey?

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