While I am a fan of the geometric, man-made modern world I live in, I find a huge sense of liberation in returning to nature, its sheer power and the unpredictability of its elements. Once upon a time, humans were mostly nomadic and had extremely intimate relationships with their physical world. What percentage of the time do we spend on pavement vs. dirt or sand in our modern worlds? Now we live quite geometric lives and we are swept up into an electronic revolution with multiple intimate relationships with our computers, our iphones, ipads and androids. But let’s not forget that when we go to sleep at night and lay all of our electronics to rest, somewhere through the darkness, there is a wild, colorful, natural world that still beckons to be explored. And somewhere deep down, we may all have some nomadic roots that are waiting to be unrooted and rediscovered.
For me, running is an activity that allows me a temporary return to nomadic beginnings. Even a short jaunt through an urban setting can help me plug back into myself and discover new things about my environment that inspire me to keep moving. The feel of an early morning urban run before the modern, electronic world wakes up is most certainly an exhilarating and liberating feeling. But the feeling of crossing miles of wilderness with little pavement and little human interference truly reconnects me to a feeling deep within my soul.
For the past four years, every March, I have been able to experience the nomadic running experience that is the 100km of del Sahara, a 4-day crossing of the Tunisian desert. The most amazing aspect of this experience for me is that each and every run feels like a personal voyage, where each individual is responsible for physically transporting him or herself through the vast and varying terrain of the Sahara desert. Something seriously magical happens in this nomadic running pilgrimage into and back out of the desert, when you can leave the geometric world behind, develop an amazingly intimate relationship with a wild and exotic environment and reconnect with your nomadic beginnings. If you are ready to seriously get back to your roots, you are ready to take on adventures in the Sahara desert!!