The beginning…

St Clare's Comprehensive Manorhamilton Co leitrim

Dead Sea, Israel

Dear Family,

It’s been nothing less than heavenly here in this barren wasteland spanning miles upon miles, I’m writing to you now from deep in the Middle East. While this chapter of my journey is only beginning, I can sense that my memories of this place will live on for years to come. It’s been weeks since we have spoken and I yearn to embrace you all. I will unravel my journey for you now and share the vicissitudes of my latest escapades.   It all started as I dug myself out from a mound of quilts, rubbing the sleep from my eyes and fighting droopy eyelids that begged me to return to the comfort of my bed. I had made it to Dublin airport by half past and thankfully made it through security without delay.  Finally, when I got to sit down,  I had time to relax and allow the realisation that I was finally going to be in the middle east to sink in: boarding was announced and I was soon moving again. The plane kept the Irish warmth in my soul as the cabin crew took care of me in their emerald green uniform, I nestled myself zealously into my seat…   We had landed and already I could feel the heat through the cracks in the windows, it seeped through and ignited a great sensation within me. It was boiling! I ran from the aircraft to the airport in search of air con, glad to leave the tiny aircraft behind in the simmering heat and embark on my adventure.   Upon collecting my rucksack, I met my guide, Dor: it’s thanks to him I am here now writing to you as the rickety aircraft experience was nothing compared to what was waiting for me in the desert.   Dor does not believe in rest and was eager to start the journey as it would take a couple of hours to reach our destination, the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, I arrived midday when the sun is at its peak here, pelting down 28°C rays onto our open hatchback.   The breeze was stale and dry as we began to move, giving me little relief. I felt distressed but knew the discomfort would be short-lived and worth the wonders that lay ahead. Beads of sweat flew from my face and then something large and menacing appeared behind us. While assessing myself in the rearview mirror, shivers rose up my spine. Grains of sand was beginning to move erratically through the air, circling around my head. I peered over my shoulder and a cascading wall of dark brown greeted me. “Sandstorm,” Dor exclaimed with a palpable tinge of fear in his voice.   Dor accelerated hard and we arrived at the hostel with seconds to spare. Ditching our belongings we sprinted inside to safety, escaping the treacherous wall of sand.   So much more to tell you but for now, I must sleep – 4 am start.

Love you all.