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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

The Return to Egypt: Day One and Two

Updated: Mar 8

I have just returned from two weeks in Egypt. While I plan on writing about all of it, I am finding the need to break it down to try and capture everything that happened there.

I bring you: Day One in Cairo and Day Two in Sakkara

I arrived at the Cairo Airport at approximately 12:00am. My tour started at 8:00am the following morning. I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking (meaning.. I wasn't) in not giving myself any down time. It had been a whirlwind last few weeks. Having spent the summer in Seattle, I had just returned to London the week prior to attend a wedding and was still adjusting.

I stepped off the plane, tired and exhausted. I was incredibly grateful to see Mohamed from Quest travel there to meet with a sign that said "Maria Vandenburg." This was the first time in my life that I really allowed myself to be pampered and catered for. My previous traveling experiences involved lugging everything around myself, booking last minute/cheap accommodation in hostels, and doing my best to try and figure out local public transport. First lesson learned on this trip: It's OK to treat yourself and allow others to treat and take care of you. That evening was all about realising this. I didn't need to be in charge of my luggage, or sort out my visa, or worry about how I was going to get and check into my hotel. It was OK to allow that to be taken care of by someone else. It honestly felt really weird at first, but was eye opening because I realised how much of a norm for me it was to just take care of everything on my own.

Day One brought us to the Cairo Museum and my introduction to Ahmed, Nancy and Safaa. Nancy is Vice President of Quest Travel, carrying on her father Mohamed's legacy. Ahmed is her husband and was also our local tour manager (for lack of a better term) facilitating our every movement. Safaa was our Egyptologist who acted as our Tour Guide. I hadn't slept the night before so in all honesty didn't retain much from our visit to the Cairo Museum, but I did love the following pieces

Sekhmet at the Cairo Museum
Sekhmet at the Cairo Museum

There was a welcoming dinner, but with zero hours of sleep the night before I decided to stay in so that I could be a bit more present with Day Two.

Day Two brought us to a private visit with the Sphinx and to Sakkara.

We rose early to have the place to ourselves between 5:00am - 7:00am.

This wasn't a typical tourist retreat to Egypt, I was traveling with Qwest travel and lead by Kathianne Lewis, the Spiritual Director of Center for Spiritual Living.

Kathianne had asked to think about our intentions prior to arrival. That morning, we were able to meditate in the arms of the Sphinx with the sunrise.

After silent meditation, each of us was asked to release something that doesn't serve us.

So I had to ask myself, with my time in Egypt what was I wanting to let go of? What was I ready to release?

The morning was about gaining clarity and ultimately setting the intention to let it go with the strength and power of the Sphinx.

It was pretty amazing. I didn't capture any of photo's of this particular moment, but here is one of me after the release and all of us after the tour and morning ritual.

Morning sunrise meditation and release with the Sphinx
Morning sunrise meditation and release with the Sphinx

Next we wove our way over to Sakkara - the first pyramid. What was cool about here was stepping inside my first tomb, it was the ancient burial grounds for Memphis, the Ancient Egyptian capital.

I couldn't resist touching the stones.

It was a great opening few days in Egypt.. with a whole lot more to come.

Interested in learning more about my personal journey?


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