Insights Seekers I am a globetrotter and love to explore different countries and cultures. But the desert has never been on my bucket list. I was listening to a podcast and a woman mentioned that her husband is organising trips in the desert for people who need a break and want to spend some time by themselves. The podcast was about a completely different topic, but the idea of going to the desert didn’t leave my mind for days. I was listening to it again to find out the name of the expedition.
After contacting Belal from Inside Seekers on Facebook it was clear to me, that is what I want and what I need. I booked the next available tour, which started December 29 th, 2018 for four days. I thought to myself, four days is doable even if I don’t like it. So, I planned my trip and got all the information from Belal and his wife Nadine. Both were really helpful. Unfortunately, it turned out that the other participants did not book their flights in time and couldn’t join anymore. I was worried if it would happen, but Belal told me, he will definitely do the trip even if it’s just me. How unexpected and different from what I have experienced so far in life.
I flew out with no idea of what to expect. It was my first time in Egypt, and I had no clue how life changing this experience will be. By this time my life situation wasn’t easy. I had just quit my job as I was very unhappy and decided I want to change my life completely and only do what I really enjoy. I met Belal, Nadine, and the other participants in the morning and we drove to the desert. Reaching the Bedouin village, I was already in love with the landscape. Before I flew to Egypt I expected to see a desert with nothing but sand. Oh, I was so wrong. The Egyptian desert is totally different and so beautiful. You will see different rock formations, sand dunes, colourful paving stones, and interesting plants. Immediately I had this feeling of intimacy.
Together with three Bedouins and three camels we started our hike through the desert. The first few hours I was so overwhelmed of the scenery that I couldn’t get enough (and probably took over hundred pictures). We started to get to know each other along the way and supported one another in more difficult situations. During our lunch break Belal introduced us to the desert and made us aware that the desert is like our lives. It has ups and downs, and it is our choice what we will make out of these four days. Do we only see the challenges, like in our lives, or do we enjoy the differences and appreciate the experience? Belal always had the right words to say to us, and often it resonated with me so much that I couldn´t stop thinking about it during our hikes. He touched my heart so many times and helped me to see things differently in the desert and in my life. The Bedouins always prepared our food fresh on a bone fire. When you are in the desert you realise how small your problems at home really are. The desert brings you back to the roots and you worry about the essentials of life – do we have enough wood for the fire, is there enough water, where will you sleep? All these thoughts make you step away from your worries in life and you start seeing things differently and not as serious anymore.
“The desert brings you back to the roots and you worry about the essentials of life – do we have enough wood for the fire, is there enough water, where will you sleep?”
During the four days we have been provided with the most amazing food. After three to four hours walk you will appreciate anything, but the Bedouins have created always such a special meal. Everything was so delicious, healthy and the colours of the vegetables were so bright that you had no other choice to always eat too much. My absolute highlight of the food was the fresh made bread, which is baked in the ash of the bone fire. Our first day ended with a beautiful sunset and a nice night camp sheltered at a small mountain. The Bedouins set up a nice camp around the bone fire and we had great conversations. As it was December, the temperature during the nights are getting really cold. I was sleeping in my own tent with a thick sleeping bag, but I was freezing the entire night. My first night was probably the worst as I woke up to each noise I heard and wasn’t comfortable at all due to the new environment. During the night I had to get out to use the “toilet”, the moon was so bright that I didn’t need a torch. Now I know what it means the moon will guide you. After that instructive night I woke up with the first sunray and received an amazing compensation – opening my tent and witnessing a beautiful sunrise in the middle of nowhere with just a camel in front of me. The torture of the night was totally forgotten, and I was just happy and grateful.
During our four days we have seen so many different formations of stones and sand, that it never got boring. The colours are just so beautiful, and you will find little pictures in the stones. I loved to step into the untouched sand, and it felt like I am the only person on this planet. It is so therapeutic to walk and walk and walk with no barriers in front of you. Your mind will wander off and you will discover new parts of yourself, you would not have imagined before. Belal showed us many incredible spots. We climbed up a small mountain and had to overcome our fears to get to the ground. We jumped into a sand dune and felt so relieved and like kids again. We all ran down a steep hill full of deep sand and felt free of all boundaries. For sure everyone of us had to push the limits to keep going and arrive at the night camp, but it was definitely worth every single step. I have never been to bed as early as during these days. I felt so tired, but in a really good way. The best thing about the evenings were our talks around the bone fire and to watch the stars. You cannot imagine how many stars you will see when you are in the desert, so beautiful and so wide. We also had a small competition going on of who will see the most shooting stars. It was just incredible and suddenly you feel so unimportant with your problems in life.
At the second day of our trip, we prepared our night camp, one of the Bedouins came to me and gave me one of his warm, thick camel blankets for the night. He must have heard that I was freezing. This touched my heart so much, because they are sleeping outside and using these blankets to keep themselves warm. He gave up his comfort to help me out. I felt so humbled as it meant so much to me in this situation. I even had tears in my eyes as it made me think about people in my life and their attitudes. That was definitely one of the most touching moments for me during this trip. On our third day we had lunch at the Bedouin village at one of our guides houses. I enjoyed watching the interaction of the family and to see the culture of that long tradition. Everyone was really kind and friendly to us. They have such a different lifestyle, all what matters is family and the present moment. They don’t need big houses or fancy toys to be happy. They are grateful for what they have and even share that. Our constant companions, the camels, are such incredible creatures. They are patient, frugal, loyal, compliant, and hard working. Watching them walking through the desert made me laugh. They have an interesting walk and are not afraid of anything. These animals will teach you a lot when you give them the chance to tell you their story. They were always fully loaded with our stuff, they sometimes carried someone in addition to it, and still kept on going. No matter how much they had to carry, they didn’t lose their focus. If they don’t know you, they are careful and can be stubborn. I wanted to guide one of the camels, it was such a mission as he thought he could play around with me. We all had so much fun with them. Nadine always said they look like they are always smiling, which is true.
On new years eve we were getting a real treat. The Bedouins prepared goat for us, which is a delicacy for them. Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of Goat, but it was such a satisfaction watching the Bedouins enjoying the food. Before we went to bed, I have shown everyone the time laps I took of the Bedouins packing the Camels the day before. One of the Bedouins has never seen something like that, and he started laughing so deeply from his stomach, that we all had to laugh with him. He was unable to cook as he couldn’t stop laughing. That was such a priceless moment for me, as I haven’t been laughing so much for a long while. In our world we are most of the time so serious and keep forgetting to enjoy the little things in life.
“The torture of the night was totally forgotten, and I was just happy and grateful.”
The next morning, January 1st, 2019 we woke up very early to climb up a mountain to watch the first sunrise of the new year. Again, we had to overcome ourselves as it was a difficult way up and pretty chilly. Reaching the top was such an incredible feeling and we saw a beautiful sunrise. We were all sitting at the top in silence and just observed the beauty of nature. Everyone of us was in his/her own thoughts, probably of letting go old things and welcoming the new year. For me this moment was beyond words. I felt so honoured to see the first sunrise of the year in such an untouched, awesome scenery with such wonderful people. So far, that has been my best new year ever. After reaching the camp again I was electrified and ready to walk again. When Belal told me that we will go back with the Jeep I was really disappointed. I realised that I easily could have continued for at least two more days. A lot has come up in my mind and I needed more time to digest it. The desert taught me what luxury means and how much you really need in life. It made me aware what it means to connect and deal with yourself. I realised what it means to be grounded and completely in alignment with myself. This is such a great and strong feeling you will not find in our noisy and busy world anymore. Back in civilisation, I was so grateful for a simple hot shower and a bed. These four days completely exceeded my expectations and I enjoyed every single moment. I had the chance to meet new, interesting people, get to know the culture of the Bedouins, push my boundaries and learned so much about myself and my life. I am so thankful for that podcast that I got the chance to meet Belal and Nadine. Both are incredibly kind people with big hearts and a beautiful mission to assist other people at their journey to themselves. I will for sure come back and do another desert expedition with Insights Seekers. This was one of the best decisions I have made lately.
Julia from Germany