Back from the most life changing, incredibly moving, emotional, wild adventure of the FISahara Film Festival.

The way my desert adventure happened is what gave it such a truly magical edge. I didn’t just decide on my own steam to go off into the sand dunes, I was literally sent there by all my family and friends. My brother Jamie set up a Go Fund Me Campaign as a massive surprise birthday present, which family and friends all contributed to.They bought the ticket, did the visas and I am not a camper, not someone who has cupboards full of flash lights and sleeping bags, so also my family and friends supplied me with what I needed for the trip. Jamie loaned me his back pack, sleeping bag, lucozade pills, Robbie his pillow, his flash light, Mary her 4 pack Iphone charger, Diego a solar powered charger, Fern bought me fabulous red lipstick… every time I had a moment of anxiety during the week staying at the camp I thought of the people who sent me there, I needed to be there. I was representing a community of people. I was physically there but there was a team behind me. It seems it takes a village to send someone to the Sahara desert darling. It was as if each part of the trip was sponsored by someone important in my life which made the experience so unique. I thought of different people during different moments, as if this screening was brought to me by mum and dad and that camel race brought to me by Jamie and Chrisie. It made me feel so close to my family and friends, as if I was experiencing the trip with them and not alone. Also made me feel bigger than I am.

The day before leaving as I stood facing piles of clothes, pills, flashlights, rolls of toilet paper, hand sanitizers…wondering if I had enough, what I may have forgotten, lists…..I worried that this maybe too much for me. Mum said to stop thinking of myself but to focus on the refugees and that helped enormously. I hate to keep on repeating myself about the eagle vs the chicken, but it does come back to that. see the bigger picture, and make it about them, not you. Even coming back into LA that idea has tremendously helped me, when going into a 2nd interview for a job yesterday I made it about the job and serving the project in the best possible way rather than it being about me and me having to get the job. If my contribution would be the best possible contribution to make the project shine then great but if someone else offers something else which is more suited then thats OK too. Its not about me, its about something/someone bigger than me.

Coming back to life in LA has been another unexpected wonder. As so many people literally invested in me going, people want to know details on how it went. I have a general fear of boring people to death with holiday slide shows and so hadn’t anticipated genuine interest from people. But family and friends have wanted to know details, have been moved right along with me when my eyes have teared up remembering moments shared with refugees in the camp.

A friend bought be breakfast the other day just so he could hear all about the trip and welcome me back, from my LA family.  One of my closest friends, Curt, remarked that he really felt I had let go of my panic button and released myself completely, surrendered to the experience. Which was amazing to hear. I do feel that I have grown, that I have been changed from this. I am now sitting quietly, without pushing, to feel what the next thing is in my life.

Eating and living with a family in a refugee camp, who have been there for 41 years stuck way out there in the Sahara desert, which feels like the other end of the world, has changed me. I don’t know what external form this change will reveal itself as yet but internally I have a different flame burning in my heart.



  • Jamie October 23, 2016 Reply

    Incredible Mhairi. So totally thrilled that all the plans came together, that you were able to fully immerse yourself in the situation, and that you came home safe!
    I was, and I know all other contributors were, so glad to be able to have done this for you. With you. We were all with you every step of the way there, and look forward to hearing more stories in coming days.
    Make sure you carve out space this weekend in amongst all the busyness to “debrief” and try to process your experiences. Love you. J

    • Mhairi October 24, 2016 Reply

      Thanks so much Jamie. It was really such an incredible experience, hard to put it down on paper. Lovely talking this morning. Thank you again so much for spearheading such an extraordinary adventure. Love you. Xx

  • Anne November 14, 2016 Reply

    Oh my goodness Mhairi. Can’t wait to hear more! The trip sounds life-changing. I so love your (and your mother’s) perspective, to shift the focus to service and surrender to destiny. Wisdom of the ages which I can’t ever seem to Lock In ha ha. Welcome home!! Well done!! Sounds like you’re getting ready for the next phase. Can’t wait to see! \o/

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