This post is part of the Sleep Less, Dream More series in which we share uncommon sleeping places and circumstances travelers encountered during their trip.
Written by Will Hatton from the Broke Backpacker.
I had couch-surfed before, several times in fact, but this was different. He handed me a sledgehammer and I followed him into the bush. We scrambled and climbed, inching past precarious drops and sliding down rocky gullies. The red desert floor pulled away from us as we ascended into the clouds. “If you want to eat then we must find wood” Ghassab said again, harsher this time. I sensed we were not climbing fast enough for him, he expected us to keep up with him. He leapt from rock to rock like a cat, his rasta dreads bouncing in the sun. A Rastafarian Bedouin, perhaps the only one in the world, who would have thought it. We jogged after him, sweat trickling down our backs until we finally found a some wood to chop up and carry back to the cave. Ghassab had been living in the desert outside Petra all of his life. He had inherited a rock-cut cave from his family and had bought himself a bright punk landcover to traverse the desert with ease. We followed him away from the cliff and back towards the cave, it was time to cook….
Darkness fell slowly. The desert faded away as the night spread across the sky like a pot of spilled ink. Stars began to appear, pinpricks of light beneath a curtain of black. Our fire burnt merrily, half a leg of goat sizzling above it, the fat dripping into the open flames. Ghassab crouched nearby, the fire illuminating his hunched shoulders, his skinny frame, the deep furrows etched into his brow. He glanced at me and smiled gently. Night was nearly upon us. I scrambled for my head torch, I needed to find a mattress before I froze to death. I wrapped myself into two blankets and laid a lumpy mattress upon the undulating rocks. I stood on top of the roof of Ghassab’s cave, the open sky above me. I snuggled down, my breath coming to me in ragged wisps of air. Tens of thousands of stars glistened above me, dark shapes loomed out of the darkness, monsters turned to stone. Cliffs and jutting plies of rocks swept away from me in all directions, this was a place unlike any other. Nearby, I knew, ancient ruins stood hidden in the hills. The cold winds of the night raced towards me and I huddled down further. The cold swept towards me but it did not matter; I had seen the desert at night, I had dined with a Rastafarian Bedouin and now, now I was sleeping atop a cave roof, the most stunning skies in the world pulsating above me. I snuggled down beneath my blanket, sleep swirled around me, slowly, I began to drift off…
About the author
Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will is an avid hitch-hiker, couch-surfer and bargain-seeker. He is a devout follower of the High Temple of Backpackistan and the proud inventor of the man-hug. Will blogs over at The Broke Backpacker about his adventures around the world, you can follow him on Facebook or, if your really friendly, hunt him down on the road for a cheeky pint.