SITTING SEQUESTERED in rooms, in neighborhoods, in big cities can make you feel small and insignificant…but it’s a claustrophobic smallness. A feeling that human-made mechanisms beyond your control are ‘closing in on you.’
Then you pack a bag and get out. To the forest, the mountains, the open plains. Walls and fences recede, and suddenly you realize how small and insignificant city life is. Out here in the world you get a taste of true distance, a hint of the reality of your existence as a speck of nothing in an incomprehensibly vast and beautiful universe.
And if you’re lucky, when you’re back in your little room, typing it out on your computer…maybe you’ve brought a slice of that reality back with you.
This post is sponsored by the Nature Project, from Nature Valley.
The massive rock is climbed by 250 every day (despite pleas
from local indigenous groups to refrain from doing so).
Photo: Chris Harrison
Diving with whale sharks
The whale shark is the world's largest fish species and can grow to be longer than 40 feet. This shot was taken off Christmas Island, Australia, in January of 2005.
Photo: Rob Hughes
The rock formation of "Preacher's Pulpit" sits almost 2,000 feet above the waters of Lysefjorden, in southwestern Norway.
Photo: Thomas Frost Jensen
Redwood country, California
Taken in Stout Grove
, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, this picture shows me (in red) straining my neck next to the Stout Tree.
Photo: Aya Padron
Cotopaxi summit, Ecuador
This volcano just south of Quito reaches an elevation of 5,897m (19,347ft) -- often higher than the clouds.
Spelunking in Ponoras Cave, Romania
Things can get large underground too. Here, spelunkers from CSA
explore Mammoth Hall in Romania's Transylvania region. The light trail was produced by a fast-moving caver with a headlamp.
Photo: Bela Nagy
Sea kayaking, solo
Big water, small boat. Shot taken walking the Southwest Coast Path from Land's End to Plymouth, England.
Desert near Ica, southern Peru
Sand accumulates into massive dunes in one of the driest deserts on Earth. Notice the city of Ica in the distance -- also dwarfed.
Photo: guilherme cecÃlio
The Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat and traps rainwater during wet winter months, creating a tripped-out sky mirror.
Photo: Carlos DÃaz
Summer snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains
This is no photoshop. It's Matador senior editor David Miller getting in some late-season turns in Rocky Mountain National Park. Read about it in The Dharma Shack Chronicles
Photo: David Miller
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
That's me again, this time feeling very small at the top of Half Dome
Photo: Aya Padron
This post was originally published on August 30, 2010.