Hicking

Between simplicity and magnificence

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Have you ever imagined that taking part into an expedition in the Sinai desert can be the greatest learning experience of your life?

Well, with no exaggeration, a trip with Insight Seekers under the guide of the young leader Belal Abdussalam can definitely give this turn to your life. It can open the way to new thoughts, unprecedented emotions and renewed energy with which looking at the world.

That is exactly what naturally jumps into mind when looking back to my short but intense experience last January in ‘Al Barjaa area in South Sinai.

Coming to Sinai for the winter holiday, a small group of friends and I spontaneously embarked into a two-day trip with Belal. Without doubt, we were not aware yet of the huge impact that instinctive decision would later have. Although for only two days, the time spent in the desert with Insight Seekers stimulated infinite new insights. Surprisingly, the emotions felt in the wideness of the desert, the positive energy absorbed from the simplicity of nature alone and, not less importantly, the inspiring conversations with Belal and the rest of the group have left a deep mark in me up until now. Despite being a singular experience in a very specific context, the memories of the Sinai Desert can really remain a lively presence in your mind and soul even while going back to the hectic days characterizing our rush societies.

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For this reason, I would consider the Sinai Desert as a unique teacher, a respectable master and a faithful companion. This very deep aspect of South Sinai would not be easy to grasp without an expert and inspiring guide such as Belal. Originally from Alexandria, Belal met the Sinai desert for the first time in 2016. Since then, he has established a very singular connection to that land and he then decided to move to the seaside town of Dahab from where he could easily go on regular trips to the desert. “I felt always there is something attracting me to that place to come again. You know the belongingness feeling”, he states while recalling his very first feeling triggered by the meeting with the Sinai desert. He thus started exploring the area on his own and with the local Bedouins, guided by an incredible motivation to reflect, learn and fully live his life. The intimate relationship Belal has built with that part of the Egyptian land immediately surfaces from his personality, which equally suggests an impressive knowledge of the original Bedouin traditions and culture acquired in a very short time. 

As a result, all the  group embarking on a trip with Insight Seekers is naturally introduced to an authentic view of the area and can easily appreciate the surprisingly simple as much as magnificent essence of that place.

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Yes, the Sinai Desert is sometimes contrasting and never stops surprising. Particularly, its simplicity alternating or rather coexisting with its magnificence provokes a pleasant astonishment that grows the more you walk and the more you enter into it. Surrounded by a various landscape where colours, lights and shapes incessantly change, you suddenly realize the perfection and completeness of nature, ending up showing nothing but respect for everything that surrounds us.

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While a trip to the desert could seem at first sight a rather solitary activity with the risk of getting bored after the temporary excitement of living a very different and exotic experience, the Insight Seeker’s approach to the Sinai desert can be a good starting point to deconstruct this biased image. In that context, nature turns out to be an inspiring source of endless reflection on the inner self, the world and the universe. This is combined with alternate conversations with other people and enriching exchange. Consequently, a simple walk transforms into a memorable trip across space, time, bringing questions and new insights. Something so inexplicable…

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I came to the conclusion that the simplicity of the desert in general and the special features of the Sinai land in particular contain such surprising aspects that it would be a pity not to get to know them.  Having nothing more than the sandy ground beneath your feet and the sky above your head can trigger new mechanisms thanks to which you can easily reconnect with yourself, with others and with the purest love driving the universe. So powerful and deep, so various and unique, a trip with Insight Seekers is so authentic and real that the emotions and thoughts emerging in that very special context will never fade away. And the Sinai desert might soon call you back… 

Veronica Merlo

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