aka what happens when you bring 200 people together in the Moroccan desert for a weekend where adventure and music meet.
0615 on Monday morning. As usual, my alarm goes off. I get out of bed and put my yoga gear on. So far, so normal. Except, as I leave my Bedouin tent, the cold night air in the Sahara hits me. The sky is already starting to lighten as I walk up the sand dunes – only half a dozen other people have dragged themselves out of bed after the previous night’s festivities – to watch the sun rise over the desert. The sun creeps over the horizon, filling the landscape with colour, turning the dunes red. The horizon stretches endlessly in every direction. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
I spent the weekend at Take Me Beyond, in the Moroccan desert – a tiny festival of music and adventure. It took us nearly two days to travel here from Marrakech, stopping at a hotel overnight on the edge of the Atlas Mountains. We drove through every conceivable type of weather – from blazing sunshine to hail and snow over the mountain pass; there were planes, trains, automobiles and finally camels, a convoy of nearly 200 people winding through the desert before dropping into the camp below. The long journey and changing scenery – from the suburbs of Marrakech, through the Atlas Mountains, finally glimpsing the dunes of the Sahara rising on the horizon – was almost meditative. I never spend time at home just being but hour after hour passed painlessly in quiet contemplation.
Arriving on Sunday night, the sun was setting and the air turned frigid. It is truly cold in the desert at night! We huddled around the fire pit, listening to guitars and DJs, making new friends and chatting the night away. Time seemed to slow down over the weekend and I would catch myself thinking “it’s Monday – I could be at work but here I am – living the reason why I work”. The sun beat down as we played croquet and volleyball, practiced yoga, lounged on beanbags and read (the Rebel Book Club contingent were pretty easy to spot, devouring a range of life-changing non-fiction books!). Throw in a mass yoga session, a walk up the (ridiculously steep and high) sand dunes to watch the sun set over the desert, and you get something more than your average Monday. Although, courtesy of another inspirational Rebel Book Club meet-up – book club on tour – my list of books to read has now doubled!
Something incredible happens when you bring people together in this way. The energy that resonates around the camp restores and revives me. It’s only a four-day weekend but I feel rejuvenated and reborn in the desert (even after the 19 hour journey to get home again). The people here are from all walks of life but we are all here for the same reasons – because we can, because we must, because the itch for adventure is always there. These are my people; this is my tribe.