Race Across the Sahara

Stumbling out of the bus, I felt like I had never used my legs. We had been sitting for thirteen hours. Hot air hit my face, but at least it was fresh and not the odor of the sixteen of us locked inside those four steel walls. All I wanted to do was unpack and lie down. But our coordinator had other plans.

“Alright, everyone! Straight to the ATVs! We have 56 minutes until sunset!” Douaa yelled. I had barely made it to the door of the hotel.

“I don’t even have my contacts in,” I stuttered.

“Well, you better make it fast,” she said as she herded us all through the hotel and out the back entrance. I ran to my bag, snatched my contacts, and shoved them in my eyes at the first table I found. I then rushed outside to see my group jumping onto four-wheelers of all different sizes. I had no idea where they found the energy, but I didn’t have to wonder for long as I soon felt my body flood with the same adrenaline.

I grabbed a biker helmet and clambered onto the back of the ATV my best friend, Taylor, had chosen. She was an experienced driver, and I wanted her to take the reins first.

“Are you ready?” Taylor asked. I tapped my helmet on hers to confirm. The Berber guide gestured for all of us to start our machines, as we slowly began to follow him in our newly acquired mechanical chariots.

The steady pace quickly gave place to a helter-skelter race, the red sand whooshing past us. Taylor, confident in her skill, went up and down hills at lightning speed. We were whooping and hollering the whole way. My stomach had traveled to almost every part of my body, in the best way possible. Students were passing each other, drifting their four-wheelers like professionals. The sand was like water as we flew over it.

I couldn’t decide whether to focus my attention on the never-ending series of whips, turns, and hills in front of me, or on the red and orange sunset off to my right, with light pooling over the salmon-colored sand, reflecting and sparkling with every twist and turn. The sun was like a fountain of gold, slowly pouring over the horizon.

I felt myself lose my worries and drown in the sea of gold in front of me.

Dana Smyth is a Medical Biology (Medical Sciences) major at the University of New England.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated by the editor and may not appear on this discussion until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. All information collected is handled in a manner consistent with our privacy policy.