Winter is one of my favorite seasons in New Mexico. The days here are dry and mild, and the crisp desert air carries the scent of wood smoke and roasting pecans. A winter hush has fallen over the region, providing a brief respite from the sweltering heat, flash floods, ravaging winds, and abrasive dust which frequent the Chihuahua desert at other times of year. The calm, dry weather and mellow atmosphere allow us ample time for working on our RV, catching up on domestic duties, taking long hikes with the dogs, and enjoying quiet movie nights by the fire. Not so bad.
However, since this is primarily a travel blog, I feel obligated to fuel it with some travel-related content. Time to mine my photo library for another flashback gallery!
Many people ask us why we chose South America for our upcoming trip. It has been nearly ten years since Ben or I spent much time there, but we both have fond memories of our journeys. While every country has something different to offer, the continent as a whole shares a certain ethos: vibrant, tumultuous, wild, and scenic. Almost a decade later, our memories linger, beckoning for us to return. There is something intoxicating there (and no, not the coca).
I spent a couple months in 2005 traversing Peru, Bolivia, and northern Chile by myself. I walked through the ruins of Machu Picchu, climbed mountains in the jungle, rode a bicycle at 14,000 feet, sat on the shores of red algae lakes covered with flocks of pink flamingos, bathed in hot spring mud, and hiked through the driest desert in the world. I remember the Atacama was so still and so vacuous; no insects, no birds, no lichen, and no breeze that day. It was so silent that once the ringing in my ears quieted, I could hear my friend’s heartbeat. Lunar landscapes only a few miles from the oasis beaches, young boys bobbing in the surf at sunset. I met travelers from Europe, the Middle East, all over Latin America, Australia and Africa, and I connected with many wonderful and embracing locals as well. I was young (22), but my sense of adventure was already strong. That trip changed my life in many ways, and through my experiences there I solidified my introspective relationship to solo travel that persists today.
Here are some photos from that trip. Enjoy!
Perhaps next week I will ask Ben for photos from his four-month trip to Argentina in 2004…