After graduating from college, Javier Acuna wanted to take a trip somewhere on his own. Somewhere he could be alone with his thoughts and find some clarity. The perfect place to do that turned out to be the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. This 10,000 square kilometer area (roughly the size of Massachusetts) was once covered by lakes that dried up long ago, and is now inhabited by flamingos, discarded locomotives, and makes an ideal site for calibrating satellites.
As Javier found, the incredibly clear skies and vast expanse also make it an ideal place for reflection and meditation. There is nothing around for miles and miles which means no distractions, "So, you are confronted by your own thoughts, by your own feelings, by your own memories. And you just can't flee. And that's the perfect situation for an inner journey," Javier says.
Taking the photo featured in this episode was a way for Javier to express how he felt about this place. He wanted to capture the different parts of his personality that make him whole, and he believes the salt flats helped bring these parts out of him.
As important as this photo is to Javier, he thinks setting his camera aside and just being there in the moment was even more important to his spiritual journey. Contemplating the landscape, and the fact that he was really present there, was integral to his experience. The fascinating thing about the Uyuni Salt Flats is that even though you're surrounded by nothing, it's the best place in the world to find something.
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For further reading on the Uyuni Salt Flats:
Huffington Post: Bolivia Salt Flat Photos
Business Insider: Bolivia's Breathtaking Salt Flats