Pause in Rum

Wadi Rum (Photo: Kimi Bississo)
After a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Amman, we finally reached the last stretch of our journey.  As we turned off the highway we were met with a simple sign: Wadi Rum. In that turn everything was left behind. The windows went down and the music turned up — new memories were about to be created. At the end of the road lay the last little town, which sits at the foot of the desert. There’s a pick-up spot where we parked our car and eagerly waited for our camp driver, Marwan, to haul us off into the desert with his truck. For those who have never been, and for those who know the feeling, standing at the foot of the desert feels like you’ve left earth and have landed on another planet. We had arrived.اضافة اعلان

The sun had already set and we started to make our way towards our camp. Marwan, a 17-year-old whose family owns the camp, had a mellow demeanor and a friendly smile, yet he flew through the pitch-black desert in his little white truck guided only by its front lights. He’s driven this path more times than one can count. You could see in his eyes that for him the dunes are laid out as perfectly as any paved road.

The dim lights from our camp got brighter as we approach. Waiting for us was Mohammad, who runs the camp, and with him a kettle of tea next to a bonfire. He greeted us with a wide smile, making sure we felt welcomed. We did. He showed us to our tents where we’d be living for the next couple of nights. The tents were covered with a thick black cloth, providing warmth and protection from the cold, dry desert night.  

After being treated to a dinner prepared especially for us — a massive tray filled with chicken, rice, and vegetables — we made our way back to the bonfire where more tea was served. We bombarded our hosts with endless questions about the desert. 

As time sank deeper into the night, conversations began to fade and we were eventually left alone with our thoughts and the endless sound of peace. You begin to notice, while getting lost gazing at the stars, that the usual thoughts, worries, or even stresses your mind typically wanders towards aren’t there anymore. You strangely adapt to this new environment, with its overpowering calm. It is as if the desert, through its quietness, is speaking softly, asking you to be present. The desert doesn’t need your reply through words; you realize there is no need for your voice, just a response through your stillness and understanding.

Wadi Rum is unlike anything I’ve experienced. We often forget to take a moment to reconnect with ourselves. But let us be reminded that in the comfort of our backyard we have a little piece of paradise, a gift that was left here for us. May we always remain grateful and be reminded to carve out time to touch base with our own existence; to slow down, and take a moment to pause time in Wadi Rum.