Salasaka   The little indigenous town in the Andes changed everything for me; I was captivated by its people, their lives, the work. I wouldn't leave for a year.

  

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just a glimpse, stay tuned for more to explore  MilesAstray unfolds in retrospect. I was living these stories full time, now I'm making space to pen them down. Head over to the countries section for the latest places/stories and completed countries.

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a glimpse

 

 

glimpse: PACHA MAMA | I remember learning about Pompeii as a child – the petrifying bottom line was dreadfully clear: don’t live near active volcanoes. Be that as it may, what sounded like a nightmare back then became a dream come true later on. Living (not too) near Tungurahua in Ecuador put me face to face with nature’s might like nothing I’d ever witnessed before. It was marrow-deep awe. By day, Pacha Mama’s fiery womb would breathe enough ash into the sky to cover it wholly. Then, when night fell, lava gushed from it in fountains and trickled down the voluptuous slopes, the vivid scarlet glowing determinedly against the darkness until it cooled and blackened and bled into the night.

 

glimpse: DESTINATION(LESS) | To be a place, a place just needs to be. To be a destination, a place needs to be more. Furthermore, it seems to be commonly agreed upon that a place can only become a destination, when said more is commonly agreed upon. Moreover, the more agree, the more a place becomes more. Yet, sometimes less is more, no? Unless what matters to you matters less to you than what matters to most, what’s just a place for them, might be just the place for you; a place to many, but a destination to one beholder’s eye, previously hidden on a map we never laid eyes on. Looking at this nameless house in Quito, Ecuador, I see an extraordinary architectural character and beauty on par with any glorified Manhattan landmark. Destinationless wandering made me find what I didn’t look for.

 

glimpse: SALASAKANS | There was so much grace in their wisdom, such intricacy in their lifestyle. The Salasakans. Melding yesterday and tomorrow today, they knew something that was either long forgotten or far from discovery elsewhere. One eye on the past and one ahead, they saw tradition and future vision simultaneously. Their lives were deeply rooted in bygone centuries, in the land, in Pacha Mama, yet change was in the air all around. Salasaka wasn’t a village outside the world or inside a vacuum. It was right there, eddying in the progressive currents around it, yet anchored in the Andean rock. Holding on to ancient knowledge while embracing new revelations, the indigenous life lingered beautifully and without haste on tomorrow’s verge.

glimpse: ANDEAN WEATHER GAMBLE | Andean weather is a gamble. All seasons in one day and swift shifts without a heads up bring sketchy odds to the table, favoring lucky hands over prudent strategies when placing your bet. The day we hiked up to the glacial belt of Cotopaxi in Ecuador, thick opaque mist swathed the volcano’s rugged face. From the refuge on 5,000m it’s roughly another 200 meters to the glacier, but the low visibility left us without any notion of the remaining distance. Accelerating altitude hearts beat a rhythm much faster than our steps up the steep celestial slope and now mandated frequent breaks to gasp for the crisp air.

It's one of these places that you simply can’t do without a tour. We city creatures are no longer made for the jungle.

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Cuyabeno, Amazon

 

Tungurahua   I was always more of a coast guy, but the Andes changed my perspective on many things.

 

 

 

 

 

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places / stories

story lived, yet to be written
Baños / When Opposites Attract
story lived, yet to be written
Cajas / Forks without Signposts
story lived, yet to be written
Chimborazo / Closest to the Stars - Petty Fame?
story lived, yet to be written
Coast / The Beach
story lived, yet to be written
Cotopaxi / Hiking Gear None
story lived, yet to be written
Cuyabeno / Hoping for Crocodiles
story lived, yet to be written
Quito / Party Nights & the Blues
story lived, yet to be written
Salasaka / Indigenous Life - Pivotal Junction between Merging Eras
Show More
story lived, yet to be written
Salinas de Guaranda / Weather Issues?
story lived, yet to be written
Tena / Rabies Shot or Not?
story lived, yet to be written
Tungurahua / Craving Eruptions
Show More

Baños / When Opposites Attract

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Cajas / Forks without Signposts

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Chimborazo / Closest to the Stars - Petty Fame?

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Coast / The Beach

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Cotopaxi / Hiking Gear None

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Cuyabeno / Hoping for Crocodiles

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Quito / Party Nights & the Blues

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Salasaka / Indigenous Life - Pivotal Junction between Merging Eras

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Salinas de Guaranda / Weather Issues?

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Tena / Rabies Shot or Not?

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

Tungurahua / Craving Eruptions

story lived

yet to be written

stay tuned

 

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related

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elsewhere

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in South America

Argentina
from falls to glaciers
Bolivia
surreal Altiplano dreamscapes
Brazil
bustling sprawls & pristine jungle
Chile
rugged beauty, bohemian cities
Colombia
where Caribbean & Andes meet
Peru
between deserts & snowy peaks
Show More

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Nepal

Himalayas / Hiking Alone, Astray & Everestless

b/w

when inked in black & white

work on the ground & online

Spain

Barcelona / Revolution in the Air, But Where?