Actually, you encounter cards on a space before encountering a space itself, so if for example the Magic Portal was there, and you chose to go through it, you would not lose a life.
Completely wrong!!! That only applies to non-draw card spaces, not a Desert space.
Tiggurix is right. Before you write that someone is wrong READ THE MANUAL.
I have many times especially during its design!
Talisman at UK Games Expo 25th-27th May
Mephisto Character Cards (English Revised Edition)
You right I didnt take into consideration that Desert Space is a Draw Card Space.