Call it perverse of us, but we humans seem always to have been attracted by the most barren and inhospitable of landscapes. Take deserts: those arid, sandy wastelands where just surviving is a full-time occupation. Yet despite their inhospitable terrain, or rather because of it, the Gobi and Sahara, Kalahari and Atacama continue to fascinate us. Perhaps it’s because what deserts lack in amenities, they make up for in opportunities: to grow, push your boundaries, and discover what you’re made of. As you clamber over shifting mountainous dunes, sway aboard a camel (the “ships of the desert”), or camp on the sands with nothing between you and the stars, you’ll feel a powerful sense of the vastness of nature. In this wide, waterless landscape, the spirit alone finds scope to flower.