From NYC to Namibia

Namibia is hot- dry hot. Most of the country is uninhabited. The landscape is stunning and always surprises me as I drive up through the Namib desert into the skeleton coast. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the population of 2 million in the entire country, compared to the 8 something million in New York City alone. The two places couldn’t be more different- in New York it’s impossible not to run into someone, in Namibia you must go out of your way to do so.

I camp in the dirt, sand, on rocks underneath the stars, wherever I can find a spot, a breeze, some shade. I can feel in everything how dry it is here, my skin, my hair, my face are all parched. No amount of lotion or water can resolve the dryness of Namibia. The inhabitants have adjusted, storing water in ostrich eggs, bugs burying themselves deep into the sand, finding moisture under the earth.

Layered rocks appear out of nowhere as we move away from the desert. They stick up from the ground on angles, as if someone stacked croissants sideways into the ground, just big rock ones. At first I think the rocks are wood from the texture and detail in the layers, but the glisten in the sun reveals the amazing rock patterns, shining like a sea of rock diamonds.

The skeleton coast sparkles as well, as if there are diamonds sprinkled in the sand, the waves ominous, warning all to stay away- it’s named the skeleton coast for a reason. I walk down to the foamy beach, allowing the tide to capture my feet in its icy waters. Kids nearby run up the sand cliff and do backflips springing off the sand, landing perfectly on their feet.

Another lifetime ago I lived in an apartment in the sky, in the most populous city in the US, surrounded by restaurants, coffee, people- everything. I now am surrounded by empty coast, desert, rolling land. I love both worlds equally, embracing the wilderness as much as I do the city. There are so many things I can live without, but given the opportunity I slip back into them, my comfortable habits, as if they were always there. I’m exploring my own fluidity, resilience, and limits. What I know is that regardless of where I am or what I have, I can adapt with a smile and find pleasure in the experience.

 

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