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On top of the world – Ecuador

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Riding a quad up into the hills east of Olón this week turned out to be a bumpy adventure and though some small instances may have required minor trespassing, it was well worth it.

As the sun was beginning to set I found myself standing atop a world more beautiful than I had known existed.

Horses and cows were the only creatures inhabiting the immediate area, and for the first time I found myself envious of what a member of the animal kingdom possessed.

The ocean, in its blue tranquility, stretched along the horizon, caressed by a soft sandy beach that teased and invited each and every wave that broke upon its shore. The ocean seemed to be, if such a thing were possible, contained on the left by the cliff that cuts the beach off from Montanita and on the right by the lush green hills that led to the rainforest near Ayampe.

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The small pueblos of Olón, La Curia, San José and Las Núñez marked mankind’s habitation of the area, yet they did so with a finesse, a smooth blending that western culture has yet to master. Nature here possesses a strength that is not so easily cowed by man.

Rushing up from the coast, to my vantage point above the world, was a blanket of lush vibrant green. Life, rich and intense, covering every inch of earth.

I fell in love I think, in those moments, with a dream or with possibility. It was breathtaking, and I mean that without a single ounce of the creative exaggeration that us writers are liable to wantonly throw about. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe, my mind empty of thoughts, the deep thrum of desire at the core of my being the only sensation that I could feel.

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You need to have felt it, I believe, to understand it. The pinpricks of goosebumps along flesh, the inexplicable welling of tears in awestruck eyes and the uncontrollable wanting that burns from the inside out.

I can see myself there, in the elusive future that I have never been able to imagine, in the still morning with a steaming mug of coffee in my hand, watching the world come to life before me. I can see the nights, the sun setting in a blaze of color, giving the world over to the stars, and on the clear nights, the milky way stretching out above me as fireflies dance through the darkness, performing for me alone.

Only one addition could improve this daydream; something this incredible is not meant to be experienced alone.