the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Survivor: Santa Fe

(all photos taken by Sophia with her Nokia cameraphone)

Proposal:  a new fish-out-of-water reality TV show.   

Meet Neil and Sophia.  During Rosh Hashana, have these two Jews visit the unfamiliar state of New Mexico.   Have them find the town of Santa Fe nice, but a little touristy.  Have them decide to drive up into the mountains to see the aspen trees changing color for fall.  

But here’s the twist:  These two urbanites are completely inept with the ways of nature.  Neil finds it hard to breathe at high altitudes.  Sophia is terrified when they decide to take a ski lift to the top of a ski slope in order to get a better view of the panorama. 

Here’s the real topper:  While Sophia was brave to go up, she refuses to take the ski lift back down.   The ride made her feel sick to her stomach.

"I’m not going on that thing again."

"What do you suggest — they helicopter us out?"

"We can walk down."

"Walk down?  I can hardly breathe.  And it’ll take us forever!"

"I don’t care.  You take the ski lift.  I’m gonna walk." 

Neil seriously thinks about her offer, then remembers that he is a blogger.  If he wrote that he let a woman walk down a mountain down by herself, what kind of asshole would he look like?  (note:  he never lies in his blog)   What if one day in the future he wanted to sleep with one of his female readers?  It would be a cold night in hell that it would ever happen if he looked like such a wimp.

Neil takes a deep breath and off they go, down the slope.


New twist:  In fifteen minutes, they come to a fork on the trail.  Like the idiots who stay at the haunted house in a a cheapo horror movie, they decide to take this mysterious road, thinking it will be "faster."  Soon, they are lost. 

Now, I know you seasoned campers and adventurers out there are laughing at us, thinking it impossible that two people can get lost five minutes away from a popular ski resort, but that’s what makes this show so special.  It’s "Survivor" meets "Lost" meets "Dumb and Dumber."

Neil and Sophia hear a rustling in the woods.

"What is that?" asks Neil.

Sophia turns back. She starts walking faster.

"It looks like a giant dog.  Don’t look!"

"Do you mean a WOLF?"

"No, just a giant dog."

"What do you mean… a giant dog?  What is a giant dog?"

"A giant dog.  Maybe it has rabies.  Let’s walk fast.  Don’t look at it."

"Why not?"

"I read once that if you see a bear, don’t look at it or if will think it is a challenge."

"I always thought that if you see a bear, you make a lot of noise to scare it away."

"What’s the difference.  It’s a fucking giant dog, not a bear!"

"What are you yelling at me for?  You’re the one who brought up the bear!"

A black Labrador pushes through some shrubbery and walks past us.  He wears a collar and an ID.  Maybe he is the dog of the park ranger.  Whatever he is, he isn’t that big, and he has no interest in us at all.  He wanders past us.  Sophia sighs, relieved.

"I have to pee."

"Do it in the woods."


"Crouch down and pee.  C’mon, let’s pee together.  I have to go too."

Neil and Sophia hide behind a tree and they both pee against it.   Sophia smiles, enjoying the air.

"Now I know why people become nudists.  The mountain air really feels good against your skin."

Recently, Neil’s father passed away.  His uncle told them a story about some doctor friend in the 1950’s who invited them both to a "nudist camp" in Cape May, N.J.  Neil’s uncle said that Neil’s father just stripped down to everything but his Woody Allen glasses and wasn’t ashamed at all.

Neil and Sophia quickly take off their clothes and flash the state of New Mexico.

After the peeing and the flashing, this couple is ready for any adventure.  They are now seasoned nature lovers.  They continue down the mountain, a new found fire in their eyes. 

Sophia knows that Neil feels a little guilty for travelling during Rosh Hashana.  When they reach some sort of abandoned bridge/covering, she has an idea.  They say some traditional prayer and then they walk over the bridge as a symbol of walking from one year to the next.


Neil and Sophia make it back to their Budget Rental Car within two hours.  But in this proposed TV series, they will remain lost for at least 13 episodes.


  1. Megarita

    Ahh, Neil. How I’ve missed you! Terrific that you walked down a mountain. I would have likely left her to her own devices. But then I wouldn’t have been able to flash the SouthWest. Bravo, I say! Way to start the new year right.

  2. Leesa

    Wow, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s “flashed & pee’d” in the great outdoors. Montana’s full of us:)
    Great post as usual, Neil.

  3. Nancy French

    That’s nice and all but where are the nude pictures?

  4. Anne

    Or it could be in a “24” format. I’m sure Neil and Sophia would love nothing more than spending a night in the woods, after losing their way, and their clothes. No?

  5. anonymous city girl

    I’m sending you a compass and little survival pack for Hanukah.

  6. ashbloem

    Ah, yes, I suppose the town of Santa Fe is a bit touristy, but you did the best bit about the area and got out in the nature parts. Great post. I’d definitely tune in for the show.

  7. MA

    I would love to watch all of the episodes of this show. What fun! I have missed you too. The pictures are great.

  8. sirBarrett

    Loyal Neil! This was a nice story. Romantic and comedic too. We have a bridge like this called “kissing bridge” where people have tried to break guiness world book records, sometimes locking lips for days.

  9. modigli

    Hey! What did your penis have to say about all that nature when you guys got naked in the woods? I’m sure he had some wise words! 🙂

    So glad you guys made it to New Mexico. You deserve some R&R away from it all. Happy New Year! 🙂

  10. Carly

    I’m very sorry about your father.

    You are a wonderful writer. I’m new to your blog but will be reading more.

  11. celina

    Did y’all make it to the Balloon Fiesta? I LOVE New Mexico, it’s beautiful All Seasons!

  12. Introspectre

    I need to know: was that a quick flash or did you actually hike for a while sans clothing?

    Either way, I love you both for it.

  13. Lauren

    I’m hooked on the Tv show already. Do you promise to air it in England?

  14. Dan

    At the end of every episode, can we have you two try to vote each other off, but end up in a frustrated stalemate every time? And can Jeff Probst be there with a machete? Nothing is better than Jeff Probst with a machete. Nothing.

  15. Jewels

    Good story Neil – I am captivated. Not only about the flashing but because you are setting the stage in my home state.

    Glad you are enjoying your trip. Did you get to see the Hot Air Balloons??

  16. M

    I think the dog would probably turn out to be a secret agent if you kept going for 13 episodes. Good thing you called it quits after one. Or was there a to be continued…?

  17. danielle

    Is there singing and/or dancing on this show? If not, I’m changing the channel.

  18. psychotoddler

    Don’t quit your day job.

    Oh, wait…

  19. Pearl

    Wasn’t this experience worth it, though?

    The feeling of freedom, the feeling of communing with nature and heeding Nature’s call at the same time…and celebrating Rosh Hashanah in a most unique way.

  20. kate

    that sounds like quite a lovely trip. the only thing that would have been better were if the two of you had a little nooky in the woods. lol.

  21. Sanora

    Great pictures Sophia, great writing Neil. Somehow, Neil, the picture of you looking back toward the camera at the bridge seems especially appropriate and poignant at this juncture. May the bridge to your new year bring you much happiness and love.

    p.s. and you’re absolutely right, leaving a chick to walk down a mountain on her own would have left you celebate until this post was buried in at least a year’s worth of scrambling back into the good graces of your female readers.

  22. miss marisol

    At the very least, this would make a great short film.

    Yes, and I second the vote for the nudy pictures.

  23. ms. sizzle

    what gorgeous colors new mexico has.

    i would definitely watch the show but i would hope there would be some sex involved at some point.

  24. Melanie

    Sounds like a good show. I’d watch it, but since I’m a re-run gal, I’d have to wait til syndication.

    BTW, sorry for the egregious typo in my last comment…should have been “never EXPECTED”, not “never UNEXPECTED”. I’m a dolt.

  25. bella

    What channel would this air on? Fox? National Geographic? Let me know so I can TiVo it.

  26. Megan

    Am I the only pervert who wants to know if you two enjoyed your nudity in a celebration of the good ole horizontal shuffle?

    I can’t believe these pics came from a camera phone. Well done Sophia. Amazing.

  27. Neil

    Megan — in the dirt with the pine cones and the lizards we heard are in New Mexico? Are you crazy?

  28. Tatyana

    Am I crazy in thinking you’re quoting Sophia in your comment directly above this one?

    Anyway, that’s what I would most definitely say, except the lizard part; I like lizards. Snakes, on the other hand…

  29. Neil

    Tatyana, how sexist! — you have us totally wrong. I’m much more likely to say that than Sophia. I would freak out if a New Mexico lizard jumped on me and tried to bite.

  30. Tatyana

    I seem to have everything wrong lately. But wasn’t Sophia the one always reminding you that you’re separated?

    Thanks,I’m adding “sexist” to my badges of honor now; I already have *marxsist-feminist, *heightist, *stalking bitch, *bitter old woman and *Pat Buchananite.

  31. mcaryeh

    You’d think more couples would pee and flash the state of New Mexico in the woods together…

  32. Megan

    I thought guys wanted to do it anywhere, anytime. How could a little lizard bite stop you?

    (I love Tatyana’s response to your comment, too. I totally thought it was Sophia saying that!)

  33. Neil

    It depends where the lizard bites.

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