Sahara Desert Climb


A few years ago I had the privilege to travel with the family I was nannying for at the time to visit their family in Morocco. On this particular trip we went down to South Morocco to Merzouga. Here was snippet from my journal that evening after making this life changing climb:

“I just hiked a sand dune in the Sarah Desert for sunset. I knew it would be difficult but I completely underestimated how difficult it would be. We had to climb over the small sand dunes first. I had my self convinced I wouldn’t make it all the way before even getting there. But didn’t care because I was still blown away by the beauty, I figured I would just take it step by step.

Once at the base of the first sand dune I told Maria I didn’t think I would make it up the largest sand dune. She said take my time because I can do it and that it’s all mental. I would take 20 steps then sit. After a few stops, I began to panic. I felt ever demon, insecurity and doubt rush over me. I stopped. I sat. I breathed, and breathed and focused on all the beauty.

My view was too beautiful to just stop there.


I got back up. Took more steps up, my feet were sinking down into the earth and the sand was almost to my knees, the heat was seeping into every inch of my body. Not a type of heat where I wanted to pass out but like a fire starting to burn within.
I saw them already at the top, encouraging me and telling me I’m almost there (I was only half way there), I sat.
I placed my hand on my heart. I close my eyes and repeated:
“I am strong. I am love. I am capable.”

I felt my breath start to find a steady pace again and my heart started to beat more slowly but stronger than before. I did this about 10 times probably. 30 yards away I told myself that was good enough and did better than I thought. Then all of sudden I heard cheering.

13260025_10156912839980484_9208314126383745796_nI was thankful for the positive support, I had more in me and it gave me the encouragement and faith in myself to make it to the top. I began to use my entire body to climb, each step forward my body sank into the earth. Maria came down and took my hands and help me make to the top. I couldn’t have done it without her. I began to sob tears of joy. I did it.

Just when I thought the difficult part was over, we had to head back after a few minutes. Over those mini sand dunes, in a rush to get back to the car because it gets dark quick and desert coyotes come out.

My steps down felt like I was skiing down a mountain. Once making it back to the others, just before total darkness I took one last breath, to take in this life changing moment.

Wanting to breath it all in and experience of breaking away from mental and emotional barriers, having a whole new fire of confidence and sense of pride in myself. I felt all my internal battles melted away from me and die in the sand. I am confident. I am proud. I finally feel fully alive and at peace.”

All these years later, I still go back to that mantra: “I am strong. I am love. I am capable.” and it brings me right back to that moment in time and my heart, spirit and soul immediately ignite that fire within.
Tara Verlee

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