An HEC student and globe-trotter
Siham’s Odyssey, or traveling
to know yourself better
Siham, a 24-year-old college student, has shared with us the extraordinary story of her trip to the Middle East. Being of Algerian origin, Siham has been immersed since early childhood in a culture which, to her eye, appeared both familiar and so out of reach. She knew Algeria well, and knew that her roots lay somewhere there; yet, unfortunately, she did not speak Arabic and had always felt that she had “grown up with the image of a world that she saw only from the outside.” She felt the need to discover that world more intimately, to confront and understand it. So her decision was made – she would embark on a journey alone to the Middle East, with only her backpack, for 13 months.
From this moment onwards, she faced very strong reluctance from her family and friends. All of them shared the same opinion: going there alone when you are a woman is too much of a risk. Despite everything they said, Siham was not discouraged; and although doubt did arise at times, it was quickly overcome by her desire to see with her own eyes this very world that everybody warned her against. She would make her own opinion about it, by observing things with a fresh eye, unblinded by preconceptions. Then began a truly unforgettable journey.
She discovered the buzzing life of Cairo, where she lived for three and a half months. She took Arabic lessons and was never afraid to go and talk to people. She felt good, she felt safe, in this city; she could see the kindness of the people around her. “During my journey,” she confided, “I never once felt alone.”
However, life in Cairo is stressful; the noise, the pollution and constant hustle and bustle heavily weighed on Siham’s shoulders, and the young woman needed to go back to France several times to recharge her batteries. She also took a break to discover Japan, and gave herself some time to rest before diving back into the excitement of Cairo. For nearly a year, the young student charted her own course according to her desires, traveling from Cairo to Lebanon, through Oman. She went on that road trip to broaden her vision of the countries she visited and did not hesitate to venture, always fully aware of what she was doing, into dangerous areas.
Siham regrets nothing at all. This adventure has transformed her. Now she knows how to speak up for herself, how to ignore other people’s judgement and row her own boat as far as she wants. Even today, traveling alone, if you are a woman, sounds like a crazy idea; yet Siham found it to be a priceless experience, one in which she fully embraced this ‘global world’ we are so often lured with, and she would be ready to start it all over again, without a hint of hesitation.
What impact on her skin?
Even though her trip turned out to be a success, it was not inconsequential for the young woman’s skin. Pollution, heat, dirt and a drastic change in eating habits can disturb the skin’s natural balance.
With its reduced 100mL travel size, Sensibio H2O makes it possible for you to thoroughly cleanse and soothe your skin, even on the road!