Home' Nova National : April 2010 Contents A Journey
There really can't be many countries
with a "mania" added to their
name to suggest the fascination
they hold over the traveller, today
and in ages past. But "Egyptomania" is real
and something that almost all travellers
who thirst after romance, mystery, ancient
history, and exotic flavours and aromas of
all intensities will understand. Even better
when there's a faint whiff of danger or, at
least, the unknown. Egypt is the ultimate
lady of mystery and every day thousands
more succumb to her charms.
Perhaps it's the prospect of standing
between the toes of the Sphinx, dwarfed
by the massive blocks of stone towering
An annual pilgrimage to Egypt, land of her
forefathers, is always a deeply transformational
experience for Roberta Faddoul, Margaret
Evans shares the journey.
© NOVA APRIL 2010
April 24--28 SYDNEY
Where: Petersham Town Hall, 107 Crystal Street, Petersham
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"We have a mantra: 'Every step is a prayer.' And it's much, much
more than that."
above crowned by a pharaoh's head sitting
regally atop a lion's crouching body. To
be there at Giza, in the stillness of the full
moon with the desert sands stretching
into the distance and everything bathed
in white light, is surely one of life's utterly
Roberta Faddoul remembers it clearly
as one of the transformative moments of
her life. As a Greek-Egyptian, she is steeped
in the rich history of both lands and in
December this year will be making her
seventh trip to the land of her forefathers.
On each of those trips, thanks to a family
connection to Dr Zahi Hawass, Egypt's
Secretary General of Antiquities and the
public face of Egyptian archaeology, she
and her group members have been able
to stand where others can only wish --
between the toes of the Sphinx, meditating
alone in the Kings Chamber within the
Great Pyramid or with the Goddess
Sekhmet at Karnak, again alone in the
Museum of Cairo after the tourists have left
(resisting the urge to do a Ben Stiller) and
many other places.
Even after six previous tours, Roberta
is clearly impatient for the chance to travel
again in December.
"We call our trip A Journey of Discovery,
the Quest for the Truth. And every year it
is a personal quest, " says Roberta.
"Egypt is a place of fascination and
we're very connected to it. So even if you
have no conscious ties with Egypt, most of
us on some level, a higher level I believe,
have a connection with Egypt because
it is one of the ancient civilisations of the
"It's like going back home in a way
and many of our participants have that
feeling." As if to reinforce that sense of
return, tour organisers always greet each
group with the phrase "Welcome home."
Despite the cliché of the trip down
the Nile and the camel ride at the foot at
of the pyramids, Egypt exerts an intensity
that defies its postcard image. "There's an
intense spirituality in Egypt," says Roberta.
" We have a mantra: 'Every step is a prayer.'
And it's much, much more than that."
Well known to NOVA readers over
several years as an NLP trainer and personal
development coach, Roberta has a rich
heritage from the Mediterranean coast.
Her father George, also a prominent figure
in the field of NLP, is a Greek-Egyptian
born in Alexandria, a city famed for its
cosmopolitan culture and known as the
Pearl of the Mediterranean. Her mother
is Greek and, says Roberta, their meeting
when George was visiting his aunt in the
same street in her Greek town, was "a
beautiful love story." And one that has
And so the family would have stayed
in Alexandria, a vibrant international city
founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC,
the meeting point of Egypt and southern
Europe, but for the years of Nasser
nationalism in the 1960s. After tossing a
coin between Australia and Canada, the
entire family -- aunts, cousins, grandparents
-- migrated to Australia.
Australian-born like her three sisters,
Roberta's story is the quintessential
migrant experience. "I know I come from
a very rich culture. I love it. I love the
stories of my ancestors and more recently
my grandparents. The reason they made
the decision to come here at the time of
Nasser was for a better life for their children
and for my Dad. I love that about them
and I think that migrant experience has
really shaped me as a person."
Luxor Temple (the Temple of Man).
The Sphinx and Great Pyramid in Giza.
Temple of Philae dedicated to the Goddess Isis (Love).
continued page 29
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