When I first came to Gobabeb, I couldn’t decide if I had been transplanted to the Moon or Mars. I definitely wasn’t on earth. The statistics didn’t make sense. Ground temperatures on the dunes routinely fluctuate over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day. The solar radiation here is 300 x more powerful than necessary to bake away the 1 inch of rain that falls per year. Indeed, the conditions are so extreme here that NASA comes to Gobabeb to study how life might survive on other planets (no joke).
Yet, after almost a month, I’m feeling very much at home. While the creatures that thrive here are inspiring in their tenacity and evolutionary creativity, my own existence feels idyllic. New friends, frequent adventures, and constant stimulation with work duties keep me happy in a very fulfilling way. Somehow the pulse of nature just feels stronger here. And I think that’s awesome, sand grains etching into my corneas and all.