Author and avid desert traveller Pam Towse shares invaluable tips on staying cool, calm and collected on your next trip to the desert
Women on a desert trek should pick up an Indian shalwar kameez. These are loose tunics with big baggy trousers in wonderfully bright colours; they are cheap to buy, pack up very small and are made from lightweight material that washes and dries quickly. They cover you up, which is ideal in Muslim countries, and when you are constantly sitting on the ground or atop a camel your dignity is preserved.
Best of all, for ladies who are not stick thin and need a bit of give around the waist, you have utmost comfort.
Take supermarket flat-pack tissues instead of loo rolls. It doesn't look so obvious when you wander out towards that bush, packs better and is often softer. Perfect when you need a little extra comfort.
I probably shouldn't say this, but a hip flask of whisky for me is essential. A quick swig at the end of the day seems to sterilise the system.
I always laugh with my desert guides as they constantly drink tea and I can't bear the smell or taste of it. I say to them you drink your tea and I'll drink mine. I don't do it in front of them though in case I offend, but a quick drink as I crawl into my sleeping bag seems to work as I never suffer with tummy upsets.
This one can be used for travel anywhere, not just in the desert. If you're travelling solo this can help to make sure you feel secure behind that dodgy hotel room door...
This really is essential – it keeps your mouth fresh especially when it's dry, which is always.
It can be surprisingly cold at night, so try to pack the warmest sleeping bag you can manage to take. I take mine in an Indian duffel bag, which packs up quite small and doubles up as a cushion or backrest.
This is essential. Being three metres long it is big enough to cover you during the heat of the day, keeps out the flies when you have a snooze when it's too hot to travel, and can be used to cover your head and neck. If you colour coordinate it with your shalwar kameez it can look quite stylish. Who said we had to be dull and sand-coloured in the desert?
Pam Towse is a self-published author with many titles under her belt, including Footprints in the Sand – an account of three of her desert journeys. She seems to frequently find herself travelling in countries where the drinking of tea is ‘de rigeur’ yet she hates the smell and taste. But, give her camels to ride, locals to guide her, a mat to sleep under the stars and a notebook to record it and she is in heaven.
To find out more about her books or to order a copy of Footprints in the Sand contact Pam directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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