Salt Water

“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.”
Isak Dinesen

I’d thought I love idleness, how silly. After spending one full day swimming and basking in the warmth of the sun on the beach of the Red Sea, I woke up the next morning dreading the plan for the day: swimming and basking in the warmth of the sun. My thoughts groggily echoed, “how could people wake up each morning preparing to nap on the beach all day?” Although we’d just completed four consecutive days of temple tours in Luxor, my feet were itching for adventures, not a resort that felt like vacation. But as I lied on the beach that morning and listened to the rhythms of the sea, I was reminded why I love napping on the beach: soft and cool gentle breeze against the harsh rays of the hot sun felt almost perfect, and with the sea only steps away, it was definitely perfect.

Since the program started, we were always on the go: touring, hiking, exploring, swimming, eating, flying, and napping. With demanding schedules, it’s almost impossible to reflect—for me at least. Every day is filled with new exciting adventures and I have so much to say but words and pictures do no justice to any of the experiences I’ve encountered or the sights I’ve seen. So while I spent countless hours napping on the beach, I also spent countless hours journaling and reflecting.

Academically, our professors are fantastic lecturers keeping everyone engage in the materials. I love being able to visit all the places we’d covered in class. Yet in terms of the theme of our program: Health, Wealth, and Happiness, I still find it challenging to apply and grasp. So far we’ve visited very touristy areas and lack the opportunity to get involve in actual everyday life activities. I can’t help but wonder how it would be possible to measure as accurately as possible the health, wealth, and happiness of everyday Swiss, Turkish, or Egyptians (and countries we have yet to visit) if we’re only visiting as tourists. How can we analyze any of these components with merely observations, assumptions, and data from the web?

Personally, I think I overcame a slight fear of mine: heights. Many Globalites went on a hot air balloon ride in Luxor and I challenged myself to get over the butterflies in my stomach and irritating tingly sensations in my toes when I think of heights and hopped into the basket. It was magnificent and I am so happy that I did it. I realized then that I wasn’t scared of heights—I was terrified of falling. But as the balloon gently floated 2,000 ft. above, I was too mesmerized by the sunrise and the view to pay my fears any attention. I told myself I shouldn’t be afraid of heights—I should be more afraid of my feet never leaving ground. One of my personal goals of this trip is to take risks and slowly I am accomplishing it. I am facing my fears through these risks and it is so worth it.

So after four days of sweating on temple tours, shedding a few tears because of missing home, and lying by the sea, I haven’t quite put my finger on what has been cured, but I’m positive something was mended. Perhaps it was my fear of heights on the hot air balloon ride in Luxor, or reminding myself of why I am here so I would stop missing home, but whatever it is, I am giving props to laying by the sea.

With love from Cairo,
-Thao

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