My solotrip into the Sinaï Desert.


My weektrip into the Sinaï took place in October 2018. It was a pretty spontanious idea. The original holidayplan was cycling the Pieterpad in Holland, so I made quite a change there. Visualizing myself on my bicycle in the rain for a week in the flat windy Netherlands made me thinking of a maybe different destination. I searched the internet a few weeks before I had my autumn holiday for “camel trips” or “desert” after I saw some astonishing pictures from photographer Joshua Cripps from deserts. And so it all started. Eventually I found DesertJoy. I was so lucky I got in touch with the lady Joyce who owns this organisation. She offered me to go by myself during my school holiday. No group? Wohw, yeahhhh! I didn’t expect this was possible for the same amount as going with a (large) group. She arranged two guides and 4 camels. I arranged a flight. Unfortunately, there was no much choice in flights on such short-term, next time it will be probably cheaper. The flight was now €565,- …auwch. Normally it must also be available for approx €200,-. It became a really expensive trip, I decided to hire a wide-angle-lens as well. I can make this kinda financial choices because it is becoming a way of life. I do not buy shoes (only desert sandals and hiking boots or trainers), or make-up, or fancy clothes, or handbags (only rucksacks). I do not like shopping at all, only trips online haha.

 


So saving is my goal every month, savings for my travel account. Every time I decide not to go out for a dinner, I travel a bit further in my head. I have to keep on working four days a week, and I will… till I have found sponsors haha. (You never knohow).  I have to stay fit and healthy till in my 70-ties to be able to travel on after my pension. If I still will be able to carry a rucksack with 20 kg then and go wildcamping, no clue.

I came back from the desert totally satisfied. In fact, 5 days in the desert was too short. 7 days would be even better. Words cannot describe the experience in all its facets.

I have been submerged totally in the Bedouin lifestyle, a totally unknown world for me till then. I am grateful for that. I am so glad I like this lifestyle, it suits me, I can totally cope with that. Phone in airplanemode, great! Being in nature, awesome! Being in a new kinda nature, even more awesome. Sleeping outside under the stars, love it! Sleeping with the wind over your face, no mosquitoes, only flies, but not during the night, flies sleep as well, such a very fresh feeling, I adored it. Living with the rhythm of the sun, suits me, really! Very little talk, how great. Making almost no decisions, very calming. Go with the Nomadflow, I could be one of them…..uhhhhh….without the womenrules only.

Not being afraid as a woman is a gift, I am totally relaxed on my own, what a luck! I had loads of nightmares in my childhood, loads of demons to deal with, no clue where they hide themselves these days. I feel pretty free and safe outside there, probably with my demons inside me. (Nice song of The National by the way, “Demons”) I went unafraid again and it was terrific!

No thoughts about home, work, friends, children, family, relation, house, grass…A lot of being mindful. All my former courses came into its own.

My day was waking up, put on lenses, take the camera, wandering around, drinking Nescafe after my guide made fire, again wandering around, pack my bed&stuff, having breakfast after they made freshly baked bread, reading a bit, get on my camel after they packed and saddled them, approx an hour wobbling like a princess high up in the air, get of the camel, take camera, wander around, men making fire and lunch, we eat lunch, we bulge, men do dishes and pack camels again, I wander around, go back on camel, wiggling for another hour and staring in the distance, men collect wood on the way, they dig roots of dead plants. After arriving at the nightspot, I wander around, make a bigger hike until dinner is served. The sun is going down quickly now, so not much time left to wander around in daylight. They drink litres of tea and smoke hundreds of cigarettes during the day. Cigarettes must be cheap in Egypt. After dinner, it is totally dark, no more photography, so reading or staring at the stars.

Going around a corner for your pees&poos is daily business for everyone, not a big issue, I am used to that from earlier travels. I see by the holes in the sand where they have been peeing haha, but space enough for everybody. I have brought my wetties, nice to wipe a bit before you go into your sleeping bag. Brushing teeth is apparently not common in their culture, I never saw them doing that. In combination with the sugared tea they drink it is obviously devastating for their teeth. Is that a problem? I don’t know. A toothache is horrible, not? I also do not see them using wetties as well haha, they wash their hands with water though, out of a jerrycan. And when they want to sleep, they spread their blanket, pull another one or two totally over their head, that’s it, good night!

This rhythm was repeated every day. Two days we stayed at the lunch spot, I also liked that, it gave me more possibilities to photograph and for them, it was less work with the camels.

They pray a few times during the day, I noticed that was not done in the east direction every time… I could not ask.

The Arabic language was constantly there. Especially my eldest guide Aliyen prevailed the whole day, it was a nice calming sound in the evening, in the background, father and son chatting away. I did not mind at all that they didn’t speak English. The very bit Awed spoke was enough. Of course I could have had very interesting dialogues with a Bedouin while being in the desert with them…. but was simply not possible, so be it.

I flew to Sharm-El-Sjeik with Turkish Airlines. A stop for 6 hours in Istanbul made it a long flight, I heard that a 2-hours stop also would be fine, but it is a tight one. A taxi brought me in 1,5 hour to Dahab, a small old hippy village on the east coast. Very poor and desolate but welcoming and cosy. Tourisme is coming back here after some horrible years. This place is much nicer then Sharm, no big hotels here, it really has more charm then Sharm, and more authenticity. You can eat and drink everything in one of the relaxing spots along the coast. Your chair is right at the sea, beautiful. A handful of divers and snorkelers in the water are listening to their instructors, a lot of long-stayers there also, smoking whatever and doing nothing.

A Bedouin cabdriver brought me in the morning to the start of my trip. Here I meet my guides, it is their house. Joyce from DesertJoy is with me, she speaks Arab with a huge Dutch accent, very funny. I wish I could understand it.

When I leave with my two guides and 5 camels I feel a bit uncomfy and strange. I do not know what to expect but I definitely will embrace it all. And I did. My first experience in a desert was truly positive and interesting. I felt calm, not restless. It was warm, even at night, the perfect temperature for me. I had (unfortunately) no sandstorm this time, the guests after me had. I loved it to be so close to the Bedouins and their way of life, it fills a bit my knowledge about what is going on in the world. Every journey does this in a way, but in this one, I was really close to them five days in a row, in their environment, where I probably would not survive on my own. I came back with the feeling that I truly had added an extraordinary special experience to myself. And that is exactly what I want from a trip. It tastes like more.

I wrote 6 blogs about this week, more for myself, to remember and read back, to share as well, with everybody who is interested.

So be my guest.

Categorieën:solotravelling

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