After exploring Oman’s rugged mountains for a few nights, my three sisters and I traded steep canyons and lush valleys for the beautiful nothingness of the desert. Driving for hours, we let the landscape slide by and transform into a vast badlands with only a handful villages along the roadside. At a small village called Al Wasil we met with the owner of the nomadic desert camp that would serve as our home for a few days. Following his car we left the last sign of civilization behind and drove towards a horizon of sand, and seemingly little else.

The camp is located in the middle of nowhere. Small huts form a circle and in its center the family of the owners sit together around a bonfire. It’s late in the afternoon by the time we arrive and after putting our stuff in the cabin, we head towards the sand dunes to watch the sunset. The dunes stretch endlessly towards the horizon and we’re like little children again, running around and throwing sand at each other. At some point we just sit down and stare into the vastness and take it all in. The sun begins to set. Everything is quiet and the fading light turns the desert into magic. 

At night, we lay beside the bonfire on big pillows and stare into an star-pattered sky. The universe seems to reveal itself and we feel part of a world far away from everything we’ve ever known. The next morning we get up when it’s still dark and ride on camels through the sand dunes. The sky slowly turns blue, then orange and red and we watch the moon fade and the sun arrive. We’re all familiar with horseback riding, so Sultan, our guide, lets us go galloping and as the wind runs through our hair and as our bodies connect with the movements of the camels, it feels like we’ve fully become a part of the desert.