*It should be noted that this post has little or no relation to the complex philosophies of Zen Buddhism
In a world of long everyday distances, the car is an indispensable tool that makes daily life easier. Yet, although it makes our lives easier and certain people unquestionably love their time in a car, there are plenty of us who are not all too excited about the prospects of spending countless hours in the pseudo-comfort of a car. Consequently, the idea of a four-wheeled journey more often than not prods groans and unhappiness, rather than cheers and bliss.
While it would be easy to blame the many engineers responsible for inventing and improving this conveyance, it would be a short-sighted accusation. Reality is that our minds are fickle and easily bored. In other words, humankind is not made for an unvaried activity that demands just enough focus for you not to relax, yet not enough focus to be a challenge to our gritty minds. Naturally, for the sake of comfort and safety, we should be happy that driving a car does not demand too much of the driver. Yet, for the sake of physical experience and mental gymnastics, the average drive does not do our consciousness a favour. An exemption occurs, however, when the externalities offer a diversion.
A car journey through Ecuador is not quite like other rides. Driving through the Andes means that you will glide through smooth hills, embellished in shades of green you weren’t quite aware existed. Snow-capped volcanoes decorate the horizon as you make your way towards your destination, be in a bustling, colonial city or a sleepy little village where beasts of burden leisurely consider the road to be their property. Overhead, the clouds slowly whirl through the skies, deepening the sky’s shade of blue.
Journeying through Ecuador on wheels might in fact reveal to you the feeling of the sublime. Instead of having your mind slowly wither; one’s mind is instead filled with an agreeable feeling of fascination and awe. Small farming communities live in harmony with volcanoes and deep ravines. Green valleys and hills stretch as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by a thin strip of road which quickly disappears into the mesh of colours and contrasts. Yes, if you are daunted by the idea of spending hours in a car while going through Ecuador, don’t be, it might easily prove to be one of the best rides you’ve ever had.
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