Where the Stars Meet the Sand


Views In The Sahara

Jack Allsopp

Above the crests of dark blue sand dunes, the milky way stretched out across the sky. The stars met the dark horizon, disappearing behind the cold sand. All my life I had dreamed of a moment like this, free from the light pollution, surrounded by the silence of barren land. I lay out on my back, letting my head fall slowly into the fine sand, closing my jacket as the cool breeze sweeps over me, as it travels through the night. Staring into the black in front of me, there was a beauty to the eerie emptiness. It was two am and I was alone, only accompanied by the faint sound of the wind. Knowing not a single soul lived for many miles as the wasteland stretched on, eventually crossing into Algeria. It was peace like I had never experienced before, I was the only one awake to my knowledge. I had the desert all to myself, letting the stars draw out my thoughts as I reflected on my journey up to that point. But the moment wasn’t easy to arrive at. As roughly thirty-six hours of travel preceded it, and sixteen hours in a van home proceeded it.

Moments like that, are not given. They are earned. Traveling through the Moroccan countryside was an experience in itself. This journey to the Sahara wasn’t just about the destination, the satisfaction of feeling the sand between my toes, it was also about the humbling experience of getting there. The Sahara Desert is a challenge to travel too, as we had to cross the Atlas Mountains on roads that mirrored the shape of a snake. Then drive along the flatland in what seemed like the end was always out of reach, as the farther we drove, the horizon seemed to stay at a fixed distance. It took patience, knowing that eventually we would be rewarded with an experience very few people get to say they have had.

I get to say I’ve been to the Sahara Desert. That I rode a camel, till civilization fell from view and only the dunes rolled on behind my back. The many hours it took to get there and get back feel like nothing compared to the memories that were gifted to me on that day. In 30 years I won’t remember the how sore I was in the van, I’ll remember the determination I had to climb the highest dune in my bare feet, carving along the ridge, to bask in the sunset atop the peak. Memories are the only eternal thing we have of our past, and in moments like those, you let the earth fill your senses. I still remember the breeze, the feel of the sand running through my fingers, and the smile that grew from the sun setting behind those big orange dunes. The journey is always worth it when the reward is eternal.