Why You Need a Desert Life

posted in: Uncategorized | 18


June 20th, 2012


A trip to the desert is not comfortable. The browbeating heat of the day aggressively contrasted by the quick, temperature dropping nights… the life sustaining nectar we call water- a foreign element to the sands and winds… The rare people, plants, and animals that call the desert home, understand a barren lifestyle most of us only see in films. Without beating a dead camel, the desert has little to offer life.


Of course, unless you are a rainforest.


The past few years has been a boom for the fine folks who study mineral dust research. It turns out the Sahara Desert, specifically a tiny little spot called the Bodele Depression, supplies the winds with enough mineral dust to float across the Atlantic Ocean and settle pretty in a corner of South American known to some as the Amazon rainforest. Without this mineral dust from Africa, the Amazon would cease to exist.


Not many people choose to live in the desert. The landscape does little to support and promote life. But all is not lost! We need the dry times and strange wastelands in order to have the oppostive, and so the rainforest, with all her diversity, creations, mysteries, and life can only exist with the help of the dead and barren.


This charming reminder serves a few purposes:

The world is more connected than we realize.

What you do here impacts people and things far and wide.

Embrace the dry and barren times, as they may be supporting your rich and abundant times.

If creativity were a landscape, the artists haven would be the rainforest.

To have a rainforest you must first have a desert.



Meg and I just recently spent a few weeks in Morocco, where we played tourist and camel trekked to the Moroccan/ Algerian border, camping in the dunes of the Sahara Desert. Currently in rural northern Portugal.


18 Responses

  1. This connectedness has had me thinking a lot on our impact on the earth recently. We put in so much effort to stop naturally occurring events; like forest fires, and coastal erosion. These are processes that have existed for millions of years before us that are part of the ever changing cycle of earth. Rather than learn to live along side them our society has the arrogance to try to stop, or hinder them.

    I want to start learning to surf earth’s waves of change. Then be able to share that knowledge with my children, and their children.

    • I went to Yellowstone as a kid in the 80s, before the fires. There was some parasite killing a lot of trees. Looked like literally half the trees were fallen down. The fires came through a couple years later, cleaned all that out. The forests did/are/will come back, but it takes time. This was all part of nature.

      • Time is what we still don’t have the firm concept of. We see one thing dyeing at the sake of another, but don’t consider what else is affected further down the chain. This is especially true of there is a disliking of the one thing, the parasites in your example, or if it threatens what we believe is ours.

        • It’s quite reasonable why we have such little concept of time and relative space. It can e difficult to get past ourselves and realize that with or without us, nature will go on.

          I have no doubt that humans can have detrimental impact on the world, but the inverse is also true.

          It’s refreshing to pull back a bit and admire it all though.

  2. By the way, here’s a video from my own camel trip in the dunes of Morocco!


    • Dale, taks for sharing! My Internet at the moment is so terribly, tragically slow, but I look forward to watching it when i get to a better connection. Love the tag line!

  3. Nothing much to add, except that this was a killer post (I had no idea about the relationship between the Sahara and the Amazon … amazing), and that you put this song in my head:



    • I was equally surprised and impressed to learn of that connection. Thanks for sharing the jingle… Slow net at the moment but I’ll check it soon!

  4. […] recently and is about to break some habits. (and take us along for the ride) ♦ Carolin Leon, Meg, David & Maria are each shaking it up by traveling, taking on life and blogging about […]

  5. Oh i so want to do a camel trek. We’ll be in Germany (Berlin) for a month in August. Where will you guys be then?
    are you guys staying in hostels or couch surfing or some other extraordinary thing..

    • Annie, if you do a camel trek, get your buns ready. It’s a bit of a sore experience. 🙂

      I have no idea about August, but Germany may very well be on our map!

      We have been doing a bit of couchsurfing, hostels, hotels, and most importantly, helpx.net which is a help exchange program where you work a few hours in the morning and get free accomodation and food, or rather, in exchange. We have been to some brilliant spots doing this!

  6. Man, this is cool. How was Morocco in general? I’m flying down these next month for a week (staying in Marrakesh but we’re planning on taking a trip to the coast).

    • Ben, morocco was exhausting but absolutely worth it. Get ready to say no a lot. Especially in Marrakech. We will be writing a review of our hotel at bohemelove.com if you get a moment to pop by there. Basically, as a foreigner you will be approached by scores of folks looking to cash in on you. So practice your ignoring skills.

      Essouira was great, can’t recommend it enough. It was a great escape from the medina and chaos of Marrakech, but it is all a great experience. Also, go to the Sahara. Really. It’s just like Aladdin and the lion king will have you believe.

      • I’ve heard the saying no thing from several people now! We’ll have to practice looking looking ignorant when spoken to in any European language.

        I’ll check out the review once it’s up! Though being a cheap bastard I’ve booked us into a hostel in the Medina (only the second cheapest, mind).

        I’m glad you enjoyed Essouira, that’s where we were thinking of heading. I’ll look into a Sahara excursion! Living in southern Spain for this long (compared to, ahem, southern England) has slowly but surely raised my tolerance for hot temperatures!

      • Funny story about saying ‘no.’ My last day in Marrakech it was starting to rain. I was walking around and all these guys (high school age) kept coming up to me trying to sell umbrellas. I thought I could make it without one, but the rain was getting heavier so next guy that came along I said ‘yes.’

        However, this did not stop guys from trying to sell me umbrellas.

        One guy comes up to me holding twenty umbrellas for sale, I’m thinking ‘Dude?! Do you not see the umbrella in my hand? The one I am currently standing under?’

        Then, with a big smile, he points down to his jeans pocket. Drugs.

        Now I understood what they were really selling. 🙂

  7. […] Bohemian has done a really interesting titled Why you need the desert.  David, who writes Almost Bohemian, is currently travelling around the world.  Thus, he has […]

  8. love the tidbits of information and wisdom in all your posts 🙂 i didn’t know that about the desert but very cool!

    i think humans mirror a lot of nature, and by looking at nature, we can learn a lot about ourselves. in our lifetime, we can experience periods of ‘deserts’, ‘mountains’, ‘valleys’ and ‘oceans’. what does our landscape look like?

    mine right now is a mountain. 😉

  9. Fascinating post David. Concrete (& concise) reminder of our inter-connectedness on this planet.

    As is often quoted at the monastery: ‘no mud, no lotus’ That is, how can one say that a lotus flower is superior to mud? They inter-are.

    So it goes with deserts and rainforests!

Leave a Reply