Desert always means journey. Nomads living in it, tourists traveling across it, refugees escaping through it — the Sahara is wide and the journey often long. We move across its orange-golden dunes with no sense that we will ever reach anything but another dune. Even the small part of it I visited in February, the Erg Chebbi, seemed endless when I was in it. I had traveled by minivan over a two-day span, and then by camel for another hour and a half, and the anticipation and tedium of the long journey had built up, but once I was in the middle of the desert, that all blew away to nothingness.