The hot sun was something I was used to; I live in Houston after all. The surprising lack of humidity assured me however that I was no longer in longhorn country. In fact, most everything around me reminded me that this was vacation. The burnt orange adobe buildings I could see from my hotel, the Bishop’s Lodge, made me feel like I was in another time period. All the colors around me seemed so strange. Was the sky supposed to be so blue and cloudless? How about the mountains towering around us, is dirt naturally that vibrantly yellow and orange? Everything was so different than the world that I had left behind. Santa Fe had its own unique tint of blue, and green, red and yellow that was so far from the pizzazz of any other city. The rugs, dolls and pottery, artfully designed and decorated, beckoned from the diverse shop windows, each one a different shade or hue. Art museums, like the Georgia O’Keefe museum, and historical monuments, as well as the occasional ancient church surrounded me at every turn.

I visited not only Santa Fe, but the outskirts of the city, villages, like Taos Pueblo, that practically burst at the seams with unusual decorations and statues. The pigments there brought the area to life, and filled it with a vibrancy that I hadn’t seen before. It was not until this trip that I had noticed how the colors I immersed myself in influenced my voyage through strange lands. I passed through ancient homes, carved into the layers of orange and yellow and brown that made up the rolling hills and mountains of Taos. The trip flashed by in a whirl of hues, each one so bright and cheerful. Sometimes things didn’t work out; I didn’t get to go horse back riding or rafting, but the sun kept shining and the sky was still blue.  So instead I climbed rickety wooden ladders to see the cliff dwellings in Bandelier National Park, and I hiked through the brush to the top of mountains, just to watch the tones of the earth change beneath my feet. The vibrant shades were so much brighter than I was used to, and I think that is what made me finally become aware of how the colors of my surroundings affected my travels. I visited a plethora of restaurants, and browsed through several shops, each one carrying a different variation of the many locally made souvenirs and dishes that practically danced with vividness. There was so much to do, and so much to enjoy. When I see Santa Fe in my mind, I see ruddy shades of red¸ ochre and orange. I see pastel blues and pinks, and learned that each place I visit has its own rainbow, its own something special that makes the trip that much brighter. Every journey I take makes its own stain in my mind; a memory that will never fade or wash away with time.

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