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Essays from Sahara trekking trails

Nov. 15, 2019 - 13:11 By Im Eun-byel

“Walking Through Sahara”
By Ju Hyung-won
(Nike Books)

Not everyone gets a chance to visit the Sahara Desert. But a writer who has done it in an Antoine de Saint-Exupery-inspired expedition of a lifetime, says we may all be crossing our own desert of life.

Writer Ju Hyung-won booked an air ticket to Morocco on the spur of the moment, after reading Saint-Exupery’s philosophical memoir “Terre des Hommes” or “Wind, Sand and Stars.”

Her latest book, “Walking Through Sahara,” published by Nike Books, is a collection of 14 essays, plus many more photos, from that trip. At 262 pages and written in Korean, it is a compilation of what the Paris-based Ju had shared through an online platform in 2018.

With the help of a local guide, Ju trekked across the desert for about a week, veering away from the crowded tourist spots and venturing into the large, secluded area which at some points felt dangerous to explore due to political uncertainties and at most other times felt like the world’s best-kept secret.

Along the way, she met transparent and pure souls like the Little Prince in Saint-Exupery’s novel and came to think about how people are crossing their own desert of life every day.

Ju is a travel writer best known for her 2016 essay book “Traveling is like Dating” (unofficial translation), which is based on her experience of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and traveling in Cuba.

Reviewed by Im Eun-byel (