You asked: what did you like best about the places you’ve been to?
I think what it comes down to is moments. Moments of feeling connected to other people and the environment, moments of insights or learning, and moments where I could simply be without wondering where to go or what to do next. Here are some of those moments from my trip to Peru and Bolivia:
- Touring Uyuni was a mixture of jaw-dropping scenery and facing the reality of life at that altitude. We drove through a lake of salt. Around the Isla del Pescado, named for its shape, it was dry and I was actually standing on salt. Up until that moment the only white ground I’d stood on was snow. Then there was a blue lake, a red lake, a lake full of flamingos, hot springs, and nights spent shivering in a room without heat or insulation falling asleep to a howling wind and snowstorm. We played soccer with local kids watching the sun set and board games by candle light because there was no electricity. It was sublime.
- Mines in Potosí. Teenagers work in the mines chewing on coca leaves all day in order not to feel their hunger. They work in harrowing conditions. The deeper we went, the less oxygen there seemed to be. Comprehending how this kind of teenage life could exist in the same world as the life I had known as a teenager seemed impossible. It was a shift in consciousness and lesson in gratitude.
Miners in Potosí
- Ayahuasca ceremony in the Peruvian Amazon. I had fresh fish (grilled over an open fire) in the morning, drank nothing but fresh coconut juice all day and then did the ceremony in the evening. It lasted 4-5 hours and was a mind-boggling out of body experience.
- On the islands of Lake Titicaca the milky way seemed within grasp.
- Sunsets and sunrises in Peru, particularly in the Amazon, seemed palpable. It felt like the air had texture and you could just reach out and wind your fingers through a ray of light. It was meditative and grounding.
Sunset on the Ucayali river
I think one of the things all these moments have in common is that they are humbling – each in their own way. Maybe that’s why they’re my favorites.
What are some of your favorite travel moments?