The last couple of years were not Louise Warden's best.
She lost the job she loved, divorced her husband of more than 25 years and her son was serving in Iraq.
"It was sometimes difficult to be optimistic," she said.
Things began looking better when she went back to work in August and her son returned from Iraq, and in November she took a trip.
"My brother is working in Egypt, and he really want our mother to come visit," Warden said."
She said her mother is 87 and just wouldn't travel that far alone.
"She and my brother asked me to go, and, well, I couldn't say no," she said.
Warden said Egypt was not somewhere she had thought about touring but was very glad she did.
"Life, living -- even being a tourist there -- things are so different," she said.
Warden said there was a lot of poverty, but the one thing that stuck with her was how unfinished all the buildings appeared.
"Everything is built out of cement, and when a family member marries, they just add on the top of the last room," she said.
Warden was in Egypt when Yasser Arafat's body arrived, and she said detours were abundant and traveling by car was different.
"They just drive in any direction, any speed," she said.
She said she was overwhelmed by the difference in cultures and how the people expected tips for everything, including toilet paper.
Warden said they went to the pyramids, took a cruise on the Nile and her mother even rode a camel.
"That is one thing I did not do," she said. "I had no desire to get on a camel."