So yes I have been to Siwa for my 3rd time straight in the past 2 years and a half now and it felt like being there for the first time. I actually think about when I will be visiting again; maybe in time for the harvest of the dates next October or something! I honestly can’t wait. It looks like I can’t get enough of that far “forgotten” oasis in the western desert of Egypt near the Libyan borders.
I wondered what was so special about it this time and why it meant that much to me. Could it be because I was trying to perceive the oasis with a new eye, a different perspective maybe; allowing everything around me to get in and leave a mark? Could it be accepting the nature surrounding me and submitting to its different contrasts and colors; colors that range between blue (sky and lakes), yellow (hills and mountains), and green (fields and palm trees) with all of their different shades? Or was it because of all the kind people I kept on meeting everywhere I go? I guess I needed an escape; an escape to think, to contemplate, and perhaps to let go. I might have found it during those few days, so was finding it the reason behind how that time was the best one of them three?! Maybe! I just came to know how special Siwa is to me when the trip was wrapping up. And I’m sure now that every visit to that charming place will be an add up; that every visit will have its magic and I’m all caught up under that spell.
Siwa people are the kindest and most generous people you could ever meet. You can walk around fields uninterrupted without feeling like you are trespassing; and if it happens that you run into the owners they won’t let you leave their land without dates or fruits or whatever the land brings out. They turn back your greetings though they don’t know you, they smile at you, and whenever you are on a bike children keep on waving at you and hello-ing you leaving you feeling warm and loved. And in return you can’t help but smile at all those lovely people feeling glad you had a chance to meet them, talk to them, and actually know them.
One of the greatest advantages of traveling is that it allows you to see things differently, to see them through the eyes of the people around you and that puts you at a different perspective towards life. In Siwa, seeing how humble the people’s lives are I began to realize how simple life is. It made me think about the way I’m leading my life and how I’m being absorbed by the hustle and bustle of my busy life in Cairo. I came to realize how I don’t want to live in Cairo anymore, how I dislike being dragged into the materialistic life we are living thinking the more “stuff” we have the better so we keep on working harder and harder but for the wrong reasons!! And at a moment of truth with myself I decided to do my utmost best to drag myself out of such a labyrinth if I may say; to go back to the basics and keep it simple as it should be. To appreciate what I have and be thankful for it and to only seek what I do really need.
Since travelling is most importantly about meeting people so apart from the amazing group I was traveling with I had the chance to meet the man on a bike Galal Zekri Chatila. Galal has a dream of touring Egypt by bike and he is currently seeing this dream through with his road companion Sophia (that would be the bike :)). I met him while he was in Siwa waiting for the needed permits to continue on his journey. I know some people if not most will find what he is doing strange but I have to disagree. Interacting with the people of your own country in such a way would be amazing, the amount of experience you would get from traveling like this can’t be found elsewhere. And it’s a great way to connect with one another showing that we are eventually the same whether we are living in the south or up north; in the east or even west. Galal I salute you and wish you the best of luck.
For more about Galal and his journeys please visit http://www.egypton2wheels.com/
So simply travel, go somewhere new or someplace you went to before. Learn to see with a new eye, an eye wide opened to overlook the ordinary and reach to what’s beyond.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I shall leave it to do some talking.