Susannah Taylor: The lessons I learned from my desert trip

Susannah in Jordan’s wadi rum desert. below

Susannah in Jordan’s wadi rum desert. Below

My highlight in the 2021 frenzy was my charity walk across Jordan’s Wadi Rum Desert last month. The Bedouin tribe accompanied us and it was refreshing to meet these nomads in my hectic life. A single man left a lasting impression on my life. Harb Zaweideh (below left), 54, was wise and spiritual. Harb lived in a cave in desert. After riding his camel to school, he found his way back home by searching the stars and finding the dunes. Despite having few possessions, he is more at peace with himself than anyone I’ve ever met. This fascinating man was so kind to me that I spent many hours sitting around the campfire with him. While sleeping under the stars isn’t a reality for many of us in 2022, we could all benefit from the Bedouin school of life. My new year’s resolution? Do more Harbing.

Susannah's Bedouin guide Harb

Harb of Susannah’s Bedouin Guide Harb


Looking at Harb’s peacefulness made me think about the importance of simplifying our lives. I once asked Harb where he sleeps. He pointed to a mat and said, ‘I have my tea, the fire and the stars. What more do I need?’ He told me that living in the desert distances him and his people from confrontation, comparison and envy. ‘My brain is pure. You, on the other hand, live “rat-racing”. Some people find this leads to spiritual deprivation. It’s so important not to be immersed in the material world but to connect with yourself.’ 


Our week was memorable because I had no internet access for six days. I have written previously about how the light from our phones disturbs our sleep but that week in the desert I slept over nine hours a night ‒ despite being in a sleeping bag with rocks poking in my back. While Harb and his peers now have mobiles, it’s his belief that technology will be the ruin of us: ‘Why do I need all those words in my brain? I want it to be empty for good things.’


Harb talked about the importance of nature for our health and how it makes us feel complete. ‘We come from nature, we need to be connected to nature. When I am in the desert and under the stars, I know nothing is human-made.’


Harb informed me that Bedouins don’t get sick often and it is not uncommon for people to die young in their villages. Their average life expectancy was 85. It is important to eat a healthy diet. ‘We eat only our type of food,’ he said, which consists of roasted meats, hummus, tabbouleh, grilled vegetables, pitta bread and yogurt dishes. ‘Too much manmade food is bad for your health. We don’t eat too much either.’ And as nomadic people, he explained, they are always walking and climbing.

Don’t forget that LIFE IS AMAZING!  

Harb also spoke out about contentment. ‘It’s dangerous to search for happiness in material goods,’ he told me. ‘Thinking we need more money, a better job. Love yourself and be honest with your feelings. Focus on the positive and good things in my life. It is important to ignore the negative things in my life and believe that it is all beautiful. Don’t follow happiness, let it come to you.’ 

Susannah’s trek was organised through 


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