San Pedro de Atacama - Chile

Something you can't explain, you've got to feel it.

You can't explain a desert. You've got to feel it. Descriptions, photos... nothing is capable of sizing that sensation.

For some people, travelling is about going on vacation, shopping or simply saying that you've left the house. But travelling is an expedition. There is always something to discover, somewhere to go and adventure yourself! It's not just about a view. It's about intensity.

Mario Quintana, a famous brazilian author, used to say that "Travelling is like changing the soul's clothes.". Atacama made me understand it.

Travelling is an accomplishment of freedom and evolution. You may go for many reasons, but it's only when you travel that you understand the real reason to be there.

The desert is a place where you must fly around, get down the plane in the middle of nowhere and drive for a couple of hours on an endless road that looks much like Mars. Breathe a different air, enjoy the immensity, the flamingos, the foxes, the vicuñas, fresh and saltwater ponds, the volcano and the mountain ranges until you listen to the salt cracking on the ground with the heat of the sun.

I suddenly found myself thinking about my Geography classes, back in my school days. The books said that deserts are one of the places on Earth with the least chances of rain. But there I was, in the desert, raining! I could feel the smell of the wet land's most arid place in the world. It was like a presente of the universe.
It rained a lot. It thundered, lightning the sky. I couldn't even believe there was snow on the road the next day. I was mesmerized to witness that. And of course we had to change our plans. But that's life: unpredictable.

The visual impact is undeniable, but the power of reflection is greater. I'm still amazed with the beauty of nature. And that is why you need to go there to understand, for the desert connects you with the unknown.There I've learned that wherever you go you are never alone. Your home is inside of you. That was the tattoo that I've made when I returned from this trip. All we need is within ourselves, including courage and strength. The energy of places like this makes you really understand the greatness of life. Besides, you run into many fun and smart people from everywhere doing the same thing that you are doing: sharing experiences, open hearted, not afraid.

I'm grateful for the friends that I've made during my trips and I always keep in touch with them, no matter where they live.
Sometimes I say to my real life, "I'll come back." And I always return with great stories. That's why I always go again, anywhere! For the pleasure of finding out what I'm going to discover over there.

On our last day the sun gave us a gift: an amazing sunset! At night we still had the chance to integrate a multicultural lual. All around the fire with music, beer and people from all over the world. What an incredible night! I could spend hours talking about everything I've done.
In fact, you can't explain the desert.
You have got to go there.

Christiane Mussi Ponciano, June 5

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