Skip to Content

My 10 Day Vision Fast


Plants and birds and rocks and Jamie Oliver: Shipping out to a desert vision fast


In which I recount salient vision fast features including embarrassing revelations regarding my inherent cowardice and sclerotic neuroses while at the same time paying homage to my vision fast guides and fellow participants and to the 1970s  song “A Horse with No Name” via title and to my favourite writer, David Foster Wallace via subtitle and introduction.

10 day fast, fasting, visions, camping, desert, midlife women, midlife, featured

I’ve sat on a drop-pit toilet in the blazing sun.

I’ve seen skinny lizards and vast salt plains and the precise moment of sunrise and sunset ten days in a row.

I’ve been smoked with sage maybe twenty times.

I’ve had people sing and shake rattles outside my tent.

I’ve seen desert-fly battalions land on tuna salad and someone make a Jamie Oliver curry on a camp stove.

I’ve fasted for three days and laminated myself with Bushman’s Extreme insect repellent.

I’ve slept alone under the stars in a Sherpa hat, lumber jacket and with my sleeping bag zipped to my eyeballs.

I’ve been bored and listless and incoherent.

I’ve shouted at jets.

I’ve been anxious and scared and one night for 45 minutes outright terrified.

I’ve seen adults cry and laugh and care for each other in ways as bullshit-free as you can imagine.

I’ve been listened to like as if I really mattered.

I’ve lit a camp fire with a tea-bag wrapper and learned how to tell where north is with a stick and two rocks. I’ve practised a hundred times how to tie a slipknot.

I’ve tried to erect a tarp. And failed.

I’ve put up a tent (with help).

And most of all, I’ve realised that YouTube is essential survival preparation for the Australian desert.

The reasons I’ve seen and done and realised these things

Recently, I went on a ten-day vision fast with Beyond The Threshold (BTT), an organisation that offers nature-based wilderness retreats in the Western Australian desert.

BTT is steered by Gary, a man of lugubrious demeanor, noble carriage and mordant wit and his warm and ebullient wife Glenis. Also from BTT are our guides Allan, who reminds me of Obi Wan Knobi because he just does, and Richard and Annie, who don’t remind me of anyone from Star Wars which is just as well because it would be too distracting.


Continue reading this post on Claire Bell’s blog, Midlife Express

Claire Bell

Claire Bell writes for Her sporadic column, Neurotica, appears at unexpected moments in addition to various articles on a whatever captures her interest.

More Posts - Website

Read previous post:
forgiveness, gifts, forgiving, peace, happiness, new year's resolutions, midlife, midlife women, featured
Forgiveness: A Great Way to Start the New Year

Call me an oddball, but I’ve never been a gift-giving conformist. The first and last time my husband and I...