My name is Catrina Chamberlain. I am majoring in Agricultural Communications. I decided to participate in the Morocco: Agriculture, Organizational and Community Development Maymester because I have always dreamed about traveling to Morocco and experiencing all the beautiful scenery.
When I committed to studying abroad in Morocco, I was most excited about going to the Sahara Desert and being able to ride camels. While in Morocco, we visited a lot of farms and universities, but seeing the Sahara Desert was a very different experience. We slept and ate in tents. The sleeping tents were two per room, had running water and air conditioning. Then, the tent that we ate in was larger than the sleeping tents and had comfy seats. The campsite with all the tents was set in a circle with a path so we were able to walk around the whole campsite. Furthermore, we did not spend a lot of time in the tents besides sleeping and then eating in the one.
When we first arrived in the Sahara Desert in the evening, we set our bags down in our tents, and we went right to the camels. There were three groups of five camels, so one by one we got on the camels with the help from the owners’ of the camels. We rode the camels for about 20 minutes in the sand dunes, and then we got off to take pictures and to enjoy the sand. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the sand was soft.
Playing in the sand and riding camels in the Sahara Desert was a lot of fun, but the best part was being able to hike to one of the highest dunes the next morning to see the sun rise. We started the trek around 5:30 a.m.. We reached a point in the desert where we could decide where we wanted to stop to see the sunrise. Some of us decided to keep climbing to one of the highest points, and some decided to stop. At some points in the hike, I was getting tired and would stop to catch a breath and look around to appreciate the views. As I looked around, I would see that some people were ahead of me and some were behind me. The stops made me realize that I had to go at my own pace even if I walked by myself for a while. In life, I try to go as fast as others, and at times I compare my journey to others; however, I now know that it is okay to go at my own pace because everyone is in different parts of their life.
Moreover, the sunrise was stunning. It was so quiet and peaceful. Being able to ride a camel, stay and hike in the Sahara Desert is an experience I will never forget!