Bolivia, Destinations, Musings, Photography, South America

Travels Through The Middle of Nowhere

February 25, 2012

Sometimes, I don’t do my research.

I sign us up for random 4×4 tours through the middle of nowhere South America and, aside from the Salt Flats, haven’t the foggiest idea of what we’re about to see through the car window…

Sometimes, the surprise is worth the negligence.

Day two of our three-day-expedition meant little to me when I saw the route on the tiny 4×6 map we were given at the outset: tiny mountain symbols, a few “Lagunas,” dashed lines, and some lingering memories of beautiful flamingo snapshots from a fellow blogger.

Sometimes, as we travel, time is spent on today. The people, the places, the tasks at hand.

Sometimes, we trust that at a certain point, neglecting the planning and research means that tomorrow really will take care of itself.

How jaw-dropping to encounter plants and wildlife, mountain scenes and colored lakes, high country snow (the first snow of our Brazilian companions’ lives!), and approach each new bend in the road with wide eyed anticipation and wonder.

Sometimes, we have no idea what to expect. And that’s when travel comes alive.

Enjoy the peek at beautiful, wild, surprising altiplano of Southern Bolivia…

Pictured above: visits to La Valle de Rocas, Laguna Canapa, Laguna Hedionda, Laguna Chiarkota, Laguna Honda, and the grand finale: Laguna Colorada. The reddish color comes from sediments and algae; the white islands are large deposits of naturally occurring borax.

What follows the final photos is a thunderous and torrential downpour, a complete soaking (save for the REI rain jacket keeping my torso and camera dry), and an evening spent huddled around a diminutive 18x18x18 fire box, Ted stringing laundry to dry for hours, me drinking instant coffee, and the six of us tour traveling companions joining team South Korea for a night of poetry recitations and Bolivian-Idol-meets-karaoke-by-flashing-headlamps.

Yes. Sometimes, we have no idea what to expect. And that’s when travel comes alive.

This piece is third in a four post journey following our tire tracks south from La Paz, Bolivia by overnight bus to Uyuni and then onward via 4×4 through cemeteries, salt flats, volcanoes and lakes, through lands of geysers and hot springs and high elevation passes, and finally past the Chilean border and into the Atacama desert…

For preceding posts in this series, see:

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  • Reply Archana February 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Incredible photos. Seriously, stunning! What an awesome adventure. I’m all about middle-of-nowhere traveling!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      It really was incredible to keep seeing sight after beautiful sight appear in front of us and to be so far from civilization…

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica February 26, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Wow! Incredible landscapes! I am really looking forward to seeing this part of South America.

    • Reply twoOregonians February 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      You’re going to love it, Stephanie! Just make sure to bring extra charged batteries since electricity can be hard to come by… Enjoy : )

  • Reply Kim February 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Amazing, amazing, amazing!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Are you guys planning on Bolivia, Kim?

  • Reply Jodi February 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Great photos, love the landscape and the flamingoes!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks, my dear! So much fun to take pictures when there are gorgeous views in every single direction. And a treat to see flamingos outside the zoo : )

  • Reply Valynne Bernetich February 27, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Stunning, indeed.

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