Desert Caravans and Alchemists

Caravans by James Michener and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho are two of the most influential books I’ve read.  After hearing the captivating soundtrack to Caravans on an old CD of my dad, I became enchanted with the tale of the Caravanserai.  Caravans is set in post World War 2 Afghanistan, which provides an exciting political backdrop for a country with such a brutal history of turmoil. Young and free-spirited Ellen Jasper, (an American lass) decides to leave her wealthy Afghan husband and joins a camel caravan, disappearing into the wild unknown of the Afghan desert.  Mark Miller is sent on a diplomatic mission to find and return Ellen safely back to the civilized world.  Miller takes us to the furtherest corners of Afghanistan in search of the elusive Ellen.  He encounters cultural quirks and social differences on his journey overland from scorching desert to dramatic mountain scenery.  This novel is delightfully balanced with the charm and romance of an intrepid adventurer whilst providing a sobering reality of harsh Afghanistan. I managed to watch the movie which was shot in Iran and starred Anthony Quinn.  It depicts lovely tale which captures the colours and romance of Afghanistan, accompanied by the music of Mike Batt which reveals the spirit of the Afghan caravans.

The Alchemist is most probably my favorite novel.  It’s an inspiring story about living your dreams, making the most of your precious life and creating your personal legend.  It also teaches us to appreciate the soul of the world and to listen to your heart.  Every line is poetically simple and profound.  Santiago, a young shepherd boy leaves the safety and banality of his flock and decides to go in search of his treasure in faraway Egypt.  I loved the beauty of the desert in this book, who takes on a character of herself.  In my travels I’ve found nothing is as devastatingly beautiful as the desert.

Santiago encounters The Alchemist amongst an array of interesting and influential characters on his journey.  A good read for the travel weary and dreamless.

~*The early light is breaking
The morning sun is waiting in the sky
And I think I’m gonna break away
And follow where the birds of freedom fly
I need to give, I need to live
For the world is slowly turning
And the lights of love are burning in my eyes

Caravans, oh my soul is on the run
Overland, I am flying
Caravans moving out into the sun
Oh I don’t know where I’m going
But I’m going*~

Kinda my mantra

Had to bring it along

Listening to Caravans tucked away in the sands of the Gobi


3 responses to “Desert Caravans and Alchemists

  1. As the deer pants for streams of living waters so may your soul continue to search for everlasting peace. …

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