I’ve been extremely fortunate to travel this wonderful world and see so many inspiring things. There have been many magic moments along the way. These are unforgettable moments that change the way I think and feel about our world as I become aware of possibilities I hadn’t dreamed of – and now they’re in my dreams constantly. Here are a few of the highlights.
In 2013, I travelled to Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. Ringed by clouds, the spring rains had covered parts of it in a thin sheet of water that when the winds died down became a glassy mirror of perfect reflections, as far as the eye could see. Walking on it was disorienting; at times I felt dizzy. It felt like I was walking in the sky. And then the color began to bloom. Later there was lightning and a rainbow in the distance. It felt like heaven had come to earth.
In 2007, at Plenneau Bay, Antarctica (a place many people call “The Iceberg Graveyard”) we drifted through a floating sculpture garden made of ice with a stunning array of forms; sea creatures, Viking ships, castles, pyramids, and so much more. We gasped when we rounded a corner and saw an iceberg that looked so much like Greek architecture we had a hard time believing it was a naturally occurring form and not man-made. We had a powerful feeling that what we were seeing may never have been seen before and would never be seen again, at least not quite like this.
In 2010, I found myself in one of the most beautiful places in one of the oldest deserts in the world, Sossussvlei, Namibia. All week long, the air had been filled with dust from far off sandstorms that scattered the light of the sun, permeating the sky with a white gold, and filling the air with countless rays. And we were flying like a bird among them at 3000 feet, twice the height of the coral dunes below us. The helicopter doors were off and the winds danced around us as we pivoted, banked, and soared in sheer delight. Everything felt like it was breathing – my body, the land, the light. I’ve never seen it like that again, but every time I return the place takes my breath away with its sheer beauty.
In 2011, when I visited Seljalandsfoss, Iceland – a magnificent waterfall that you can circle in front of, around, behind and back again – I knew the conditions were right. I’d been there many times before when they weren’t. This time, well before sunset, I walked behind the waterfall, and sat without interruption for the better part of two hours. I listened to the thundering sound of the cascading water and felt its vibrations in my body; it was both one of the loudest and one of the quietest moments of my life. I never took my eyes off the water, seeing endless patterns continually appearing, disappearing, and reappearing; I was enthralled, enchanted, transported. I watched the water slowly change color from white, to cream, to gold, to pink, to coral, to mauve, to lavender, to gray, to black. When this magical light show was over, I left, feeling clean on the inside as well as on the outside.
Every morning and every evening I’m deeply impressed by the wave of light that cascades over the land, slowly breathing light and life into it, one layer at a time. This was never more powerfully demonstrated to me than in 1999 when I stood perched on a hill at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, California. The predawn light was cool and quiet but grew warmer as the sun approached. Its light struck the far mountains with fire, slowly igniting the valley floor, the nearby hills, and finally the ground at my feet, long before it broke the crests of the peaks behind me. Constantly moving, the light, and the shadows, felt like living things.
These are moments that are truly worth living for; these are moments when I truly feel alive. Their impact grows as each one builds upon the other. These moments of grace fill me with reverence for the miracle world we live in and a deep abiding, gratitude to be a part of it all.