Lost in the Sahara

Brennan Weiss
December 1, 2014

It was one of the most memorable nights of my life. Cold, tired and a little wet from the rainy, two-hour long camel ride, we sat in solidarity around the campfire. We sang and danced for hours, probably close to four. We danced around the fire like tribal hooligans to the music of traditional Moroccan performers, as if we were praying for the rain to go away. We shared moments of ridiculousness, but also of sincerity.

Thanks to two students who brought their guitars, we played throughout the night. Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, Mumford & Sons’ Little Lion Man, Marvin Gaye’s Stand By Me, Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel. We played the classics of today and yesteryear, screaming out off-key notes and unpleasant shrieks without a care in the world. We were in the middle of the Sahara Desert and I was happy.

It was one of those nights that you know you’ll remember forever, even while it’s happening. There is nothing better than the feeling of a community – of a place where everyone gets along, harmonizes to the beat of the music and cares not about judgment but of having a good time. This is what that night felt like.

Me, a guide and my camel.

Of course I’ll remember the amazing Xaluca hotel in Erfoud, the long car rides, vista pit stops, playing with monkeys at a park, the desert jeep rides, the buffets, the gnawa musicians, and the camel riding. I’ll always remember leaving the campsite at midnight to climb the biggest sand dune I’ve ever seen and, after having finally reached the top, being able to see lights and cities of Morocco in one direction and complete darkness in the other, knowing that it was the Algerian border in that darkness, a mere 15 km away.

Gnawa musicians.

Yes, I will remember all of that, but it is the singing and dancing around the fire that I will remember most. For those four hours, nothing mattered. It was freeing. If you had asked me about anything I wouldn’t have been able to answer. I was caught up in the music and I loved it. I was lost in the Sahara.

Jamming out before our fire jam session.

We each had our own camel for the two hours it took to get from the hotel to the oasis. The ride was fun, but the motion of the camel makes you a little more sore than you’d expect.

“Once he has been under the spell of the vast, luminous, silent country, no other place is quite strong enough for him, no other surroundings can provide the supremely satisfying sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute.” ~ Paul Bowels


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Brennan Weiss

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Brennan Weiss and I am an aspiring international news reporter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am a Journalism major with French and Global Studies minors at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since spending my freshman year of university in Florence, Italy, I&rsquo;ve grown to love adventure and travel. I hope my work as an international journalist allows me to navigate the world endlessly until every culture, land, and people has been met.</span></p>

2014 Fall
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Marist College
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