Why do you travel? For me it’s to explore other lands, interact with other cultures different than my own, and to step outside my comfort zone. Ultimately becoming a better person for this incredible planet that we live on. I tend to find inner peace and tranquility in all of the places that we venture to. Whether it be in the birds singing or the traffic whizzing by. Yet, I’ve never truly felt so much PEACE and ZEN during and after a trip as I had in the great country of EGYPT!
Are you SURPRISED!? I was! You probably think of Zen-like places and inner peace coming from locations like Bali, Thailand or other yogi-like destinations. Don’t get me wrong here; we did our yoga teacher training on a remote island off the coast of Bali. This was a super Zen and life changing experience like no other. Yet, NOTHING has resonated with me like Egypt has. It’s been weeks since we were there and I can still feel it in my soul! I am FOREVER changed for the better!
It wasn’t JUST the pyramids that brought me inner peace, though. Egypt is the land of magic. It’s the land of life, death, culture, and history. It has SO much more to offer than just the unforgettable pyramids. I’ve listed all the incredible places where I felt peace, energy and ZEN in Egypt, saving the BEST for last 😉
The Energy at the Temples of Egypt is Electric
Egypt, a country comprised of 90% desert, has most of its life flourishing around the River Nile. Ancient Egyptian history runs deep through every facet, still to this day. Ancient Egyptians constructed their Temples on the East side of the River and their Tombs on the West side of the River. Any guesses as to why? Because the sun rises in the east (life) and sets in the west (death). How much more spiritually enlightening does it get!?
Egypt’s history is as rich and deep as any history in the world and as soon as you enter your first temple, you can literally FEEEEEL the energy! Imagine standing in a temple that was built 4,000+ years ago, without machines, blueprints, computers… nothing.
Karnak Temple, located in Luxor, was my favorite of all the temples because it’s SO massive and totally gorgeous. Comprising over 200 acres (that’s bigger than 150 football fields), Karnak Temple is the largest ancient religious site in the world. There are 134 GIANT columns, all closely stacked, soaring up to 22m (72 feet) in height. You’ll literally walk through rows and rows of pillars, envisioning what took place here throughout the years.
Almost all these temples are covered in hieroglyphics, the handwriting of ancient Egypt. Each hieroglyphic looks like it was carved with a laser, so precise and all DONE BY HAND. Even just touching these beautiful works of art etched in stone will have you feeling all the GOOD feels!
Luxor Temple MUST be seen at sunset. The sun is such a powerful entity, both literally by day in the sweltering desert heat, but most beautifully in Egyptian history and culture. Egyptians praised the Sun God and paralleled much of their life around the rise and fall of the great energy source. Take a stroll through the GIANT obelisks of Luxor Temple, many made of one piece of massive granite. As the sun begins to dip down over the West Bank of the Nile, you’ll see shadows casted from statues of King Tut and many of the other famous Pharaohs that once walked through this vast ‘southern sanctuary.’
Egypt is predominately a Muslim country and, if you’ve ever been to one, you’ll surely remember the callings for prayer powerfully projected on the loudspeakers throughout the city. Just after sunset, when the lights came on inside Luxor Temple, we were standing outside looking upon the entrance when we heard the most beautiful prayer call, sung in Arabic. It’s honestly hard to put into words what I was feeling in that moment, but it brought me to tears! I have never heard and seen something more beautiful, all at that same time!
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
When I first learned of ancient Egyptian culture in 6th grade, the most iconic detail that forever lay dormant in my brain was about the great Queen Pharaoh of Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut. She was Egypt’s FIRST female ruler and a total rock star. Her reign included advances in art and culture and was a very peaceful period. She was so successful and gained so much power during her 15 years of reign, that Egypt turned her into a man. Not literally, but to portray her strength, many of her statues presented with characteristics of a man with the same false beard that male pharaohs would wear.
As women in the 21st century, we certainly face gender equality issues still to this day. It’s amazing to look back, almost 4,000 years ago to the great Pharaoh Queen and imagine the adversity she faced, but still stood so strong. As Queen Hatshepsut inspired me as a child to be strong and powerful, when I finally stepped foot into her beautifully created mortuary temple, that power was reborn.
The Tombs of Egypt are Abundant with Peace
You truly cannot understand the elaborate process that Egyptians went through to secure their bodies for the afterlife until you visit the Valley of the Kings. Located on the West Bank of the Nile River, the Valley of the Kings holds more than 62 tombs that were created during a period of 500 years, from the 16th to the 11th century B.C. Each tomb is colorfully decorated in intricate hieroglyphics. The entryway down to each of the four tombs we visited was short, medium or long in length. Each is dependent on how many years the tomb was constructed. As soon as a pharaoh came to power, the process for making his tomb would start. If he reined a long time, his tomb would be very long and beautifully decorated. If he reigned a brief time, like King Tutankhamun, the tomb length was short.
King Tut was famous for being the ‘child’ pharaoh. Coming to power at just 9 years of age and only reigning for 10 years. Yet, he was the most famous pharaoh. Why? His entire tomb was found, UNTOUCHED. Tomb raiding was SO common back then and many tombs were found with little jewels and gold left in them. King Tut’s Tomb was found with everything still perfectly intact, including his famous double-layered 22.5-karat gold mask.
You would think that the West Bank of the Nile River, filled with the tombs of many of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, would be an eerie, uncomfortable place. Yet, it was exactly the OPPOSITE. Walking through each tomb, you almost feel a sense of calmness and peace, as each body was laid to rest here for thousands of years. Upon seeing the tiny, mummified body of King Tut, I felt so tranquil. We must’ve studied the intricacies of his body for 10 minutes and, all the while, I honestly couldn’t speak. We were surrounded by thousands of years of death, but everything felt laid to rest and serene. It was another one of those indescribable moments that washed over me that I’ll truly never forget.
The People & Food Will Fuel Your Soul
Food is culture and culture is food. What better way to connect with a country and its people than by eating their local cuisine? Fortunately, Egyptian food is delectable and offers up a wide range of cuisines for both meat-eaters (Josh) and vegetarians (me)! Egyptian food is SO flavorful…even just the rice is an explosion of spices in your mouth. Combine all those flavors and spices with mouth-watering dips like tahini, fresh sautéed veggies, wheat pita and perfectly cooked chicken on the grill, and you’ll have the perfect combo for your soul. The way to my heart is through my stomach and Egypt did a great job of reaching it oh-so-perfectly.
Egyptians are warm, friendly and kind. Of course there are a great deal of hagglers trying to sell you countless amounts of items throughout every tourist attraction. This is common in any high tourist area (head to Rome or Bali if you don’t believe me). Get past the hagglers and get to know the locals. You’ll find that they are helpful, hard working, friendly and love to chat.
We had a lovely encounter with these four men at an alabaster shop just outside the Valley of the Kings. Despite their long hours of chiseling away at alabaster stones, they were all full of genuine smiles. You could feel their good energy radiating around the room.
Tranquility Both Above and Below The Red Sea
There’s something about the ocean that has always brought a sense of calmness to both my mind and my body. As soon as the boat left the docks of Hurghada, I was enamored by the electric blue water and glassiness of the Great Red Sea. The Red Sea received its name by a type of bacteria. This bacterium turns the normally blue-green water a reddish color from time to time.
After riding one hour and 15 minutes to a desert island in the middle of the sea, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with happiness. I was about to dive down in the clearest, blue ocean to explore Egypt’s underwater world. I tried to soak in the moment as long as possible before our dive master called for us to take the plunge!
The underwater world of Egypt is completely mesmerizing. I’ve always found solitude under the water because of the silence and stillness. It’s almost like being in a sensory deprivation tank, but with your eyes open. You feel completely weightless while floating through the sea. There’s no feeling like exploring an entirely unique, underwater world that is absolutely different than your own.
Even if you’re not a diver, you can experience this for yourself, just by snorkeling! The water in the Red Sea is flawlessly clear and the visibility is excellent. You’ll be able to shut off the outside stimuli and soak in the pristine aquatic life that lies within the Red Sea!
Finding Inner Peace At The Pyramids
Of course, I had to save the BEST for last…the Pyramids of Giza! We decided to save the pyramids for our last day of the trip. It was the best way to finish our 7 days in Egypt. I suggest you take an entire day just to explore the Pyramids and Sphinx. Take your time, soaking in each and every moment you have with them. We trekked around all three, by foot. We got up close and personal, touching the stones, climbing up a few tiers, and exploring them from every angle imaginable.
My favorite moment was at the second pyramid: when we climbed up a vast stone remain located just in front of it. We sat down, legs dangling, taking it all in. We must’ve sat there for 30 minutes, basking in their ancient, flawless beauty. My heart was BURSTING with gratitude at that moment. That was the moment I felt TOTALLY tuned in. Tuned into myself, my emotions, my soul. It was like the entire trip came full circle for my soul and my heart opened up to the universe!
So by now I’m sure you’ve figured out that I LOVED Egypt! I fell in love with every facet of this great country because it stole my heart and opened my soul. I’ve never felt more connected with a place and with myself anywhere else in the world. I’ve never felt more peace and Zen than when I was in Egypt. Nor have I ever carried that with me so profoundly after a trip. Egypt may not be your typical place for Zen and peace, but I assure you that it’s a MIND and HEART OPENING experience like no other! You MUST go to Egypt and experience it for yourself!
Things To Note About Egypt
✅Egypt is TOTALLY SAFE! DO NOT believe what you have read or seen on TV or in the news. We felt safe and secure every place we went: in Cairo, in Luxor, in Hurghada and even on an overnight sleeping train.
✅Egypt is super affordable to visit!
✅I absolutely suggest booking with a tour company your first time, to make things incredibly easy so you can just concentrate on having a good trip. Sharm Club customized our itinerary to exactly what we wanted to see, all over the country. Their service was flawless and their guides were amazing.
✅When visiting Luxor, be sure to take a tour with Walid, a fantastic, local tour guide with Sharm Club.
✅In Cairo you MUST take a tour with Sherif (a guide from Sharm Club), he’s the BEST and really made our trip come full circle.
✅If you are female, be sure to bring a shawl or long sleeved shirt to cover up. You’ll need it when going inside the mosques. For males, wear a t-shirt (no sleeveless shirts).
✅Egypt is HOT HOT HOT! You MUST drink a LOT of water (bottled). Bring a hat, sneakers and sunglasses.
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XOXO The Traveling Blondie