STUCK IN A DESERT DAZE

There was a time that I got stuck in a city. That tends to happen to me as I enjoy traveling slow. I was in Jaisalmer, India. It is an area in the Thar desert of Rajasthan. Travelers go here to enjoy a camel safari and a night under the stars.

I met a group of friends, who quickly became family… When I say family, I mean we were plucking each other’s eyebrows and washing each others’ feet.

You just need good people sometimes.

It had been about four days that I was in this town and I had all the intentions of leaving to explore the rest of India. Some friends were leaving the morning and I insisted that I was as well..

That, of course, didn’t happen.

The Dutch boys I was traveling with offered up a nice, home cooked meal and I caved. It was a gorgeous meal.. It was one of the best that I had eaten in weeks.

That isn’t the best part. In exchange for slowing things down, sticking around, I gained one of my favorite nights of travel.

Our group had become great friends with the most fascinating man of Rajasthan, Abu. He is the owner of the hostel we were staying in and is also quite famous in the traveling circuit of India. Abu calls himself ‘Camel Boy.’ He is truly one of the funniest characters I have yet to come across. We had been spending some days with Abu, playing Indian games and hitting all the best local spots of Jaisalmer.

That night, however, Abu said that if we stayed one more night then we could have a desert party at his luxury tent resort.  He would provide the whiskey, traditional Indian food, luxury accommodation and even a cultural show. With so much more of India to see, I questioned it, but yet again, I caved.

The next night, we all set off to the desert once again. The first night was spent around a campfire getting to know one another after riding camels across the sandy dunes. This time, we were back for more. After we watched the women in traditional Rajasthan outfits dance and play music, we began our own show. Our second night in the desert was spent learning Indian dance moves with some local college students. We had dance offs among the men and women and learned the rhythm of the shoulders.

We shared whiskey, laughs, and an understanding that we are all the same. There were probably seven or so nationalities represented but we all shared one thing in common. We shared a magical night together in the Indian desert.

Abu cut the tunes. He insisted that we get the group together for another adventure. Without hesitation, we followed this desert man toward the darkness.

The gang piled into the back of a truck and we set off zooming through the desert. Aha, we quickly realized that the plan was to go dune surfing. Three dutch boys, an English girl, myself, and an Indian boy, stood together clinging to one another as we squealed with laughter. Heads bobbled up and down and bodies flung from side to side, as we soared around happy as can be. Standing in the back of this truck attached to new family, I felt invincible. After what seemed like an hour of exhilarating fun, flying through the desert sands, we stopped.

We piled out of the truck and laid in the sand. A blanket of the world’s brightest stars covered us from head to toe. The crisp, calm desert air soothed our beating hearts. That was it. That was all we needed.

The feeling of life can be so incredibly beautiful.

In that moment, I needed nothing more. Life was perfect. The universe was perfect.

Sometimes we are meant to stick around. Sometimes life is supposed to be lived slowly for you never know what is in store. We try to rush off to the next bigger and better thing when life is really just in front of us waiting for us to slow down and feel it.