9. Lucas the Mindful Gaucho

Lucas is a character out of the pages of a dreamy novel that takes place mostly on horse back, in the mountains and always with adventures that are grand in their spontaneity and simplicity. I was born with a dimple when I smile and he was born with a twinkle in his eye; it’s always there. I met this dapper gaucho on an afternoon in the Andes mountains outside of Mendoza, Argentina and had the loveliest of afternoons. Read all about it and check out the photos here. We stayed in touch after that day, meeting for long lunches and lingering glasses of wine, talking about the virtues of a simple and true life. Lucas will say things like, “you can sleep when you’re beneath the ground, be alive now.” He is the most present person I have ever met, so present that I believe he often surprises himself with thoughts and whims that seem to jump into his existence for him to respond to, moment to moment. And he does, bringing you along for the ride if you’re willing. And when I was, he brought me along on the most delightful adventure I’ve ever had while being abroad…involving horse whisperers, sunrise cattle drives, meals cooked over fire, sleeping under stars and buying goat skins in the desert. Story and photos here.

I cannot say enough about Lucas. He is larger than life. He’s nowhere and everywhere. He has nothing and he has everything, and while he is lifting the crinkled metal hood back onto his dilapidated car after tinkering around, he does so with a knitted, white buret on his head and a silk scarf around his neck. He is incredibly generous and a gentleman. He doesn’t like to work and works harder than many people ever will, but he loves what he does so is that really work? He’s an artist. As a teenager, his curiosity took him to the desert to live with the Huarpes people and learn their unique leather craft. He’s a gaucho. He looks like he was born on a horse and has that cowboy swagger that makes girls swoon, but he doesn’t even realize it. He smokes a helluva lot of cigarettes and will probably live to be 200 years old just based on his life views. I’m so grateful to have met Lucas and when he gave me a tiny metal medallion with a Mapuche symbol on it as a gift, I gave him a paper crane to thank him for our time together and who he is.

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