Brad Wete
July 01, 2011 AT 05:11 PM EDT

The high of selling millions of albums, headlining a massive tour, and basically being a worldwide ambassador of girl power requires a major force to come down from. Last year, it took an ocean’s waves to wash away Beyoncé’s larger-than-life alter ego, Sasha Fierce.

“The ocean makes me feel really small,” she says at the top of her MTV special Beyoncé: Year of 4–which aired last night. “It makes me put my whole life in to perspective. I’m this little piece of this huge earth. It humbles you and it grounds you.”

Like she says in the Target ad for her new album, she spent 2010 off the stage and in the audience. In Year of 4, we get to see some of the other stuff she did during her time away from the spotlight.

Most folks spend their vacations at beach houses to chill. Not this chick. Beyoncé does stuff like slide down the Great Wall of China and scuba dive in the Red Sea.

Catch footage of that as well as clips of her creating 4, picking the album’s cuts alongside hubby Jay-Z, and learning the bonkers choreography for its lead single “Run the World (Girls)” here:

Now that Queen B is back and buzzing, she’s in heavy promo mode and made a grand return to morning TV today by performing for ABC’s Good Morning America. Check out her go at “1 + 1” below.

Glad Beyoncé’s back? Have you bought 4 yet? Let us know.

Read more:

Age Before Beauty: ‘Forbes’ releases 2011 top earners list

Beyonce’s a little peeved her new album leaked, but happy fans like it

Did Beyonce steal the idea behind her amazing Billboard Music Awards performance?

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