No matter who you believe created the world—whether God, Mother Nature or extraterrestrial creatures—that somebody did a very good job. Even such places as deserts are remarkable; maybe especially so, since these vast spaces show how emptiness, limitlessness, a landscape resembling the afterlife, provides a background, a platform, or— to use a term from computer technology—an operating system for unusual forms of life. In a desert such as the no-name country between California’s Mojave Desert National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, everything looks small and seems far away.


Although every place has its description on the map, you might have trouble naming objects in the desert. It’s as if you opened someone else’s computer and discovered little icons of programs you have never seen before. You can only guess what they are used for. Is the distant object which looks like an unusually shaped house really a house? Or is it a warehouse, or a hiding place in case of a nuclear conflict?

Suddenly you spot a familiar thing: a train with many cars, one hundred or more. What a relief. This is not Mars, I am still on Earth.

Train in the desert

The term “no-name country” invites questions and controversy. Fragments of Route 66 in this desert don’t have names either, just a funny substitute description: former Mother Road.

Route 66 - The Mother Road

The nearby railroad crossing, also without a name, looks mysterious and ready for a Hollywood filming crew.

Railway crossing in the desert

Zoom in

In this wide-open country, you need a special microscope to spot life. Zoom in and you will see that lazy train moving slowly, like a snake ready to strike. Or you will find romantic mailboxes in the middle of nowhere. Interestingly, those have name tags. They are an indication that life is somewhere close by. Maybe dangerously close. Can you continue beyond these mailboxes, stop at the distant houses and say hello to the owners? Or will you be treated as an enemy and trespasser who deserves to be shot? I played it safe and left the question unanswered, for now.

Mailboxes in the desert

Anyway, I was a traveller accompanied by my significant other, who became a no-name other after some time. Relationships often turn into personal deserts—wide deserts, with seemingly no life or perspective. But there was life before the desert turned to hot sand, and there’s a post-desert life waiting for us.

Houses in the desert

These no-name deserts offer a unique view from a different angle. They help you discover yourself. You just have to zoom in in order to realize that the deserted beauty of the no-name country is hiding life. Zoom in, find your name tag on that roadside mailbox, and open it. It may be full of pleasant surprises. You may discover that you have wasted too much time in the pre-desert life. Hurry to catch up!



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