In 2010, when I moved from the U.S. to Mexico, I was a passenger (for the second time) on a 2,200-mile road trip from Denver, Colorado, to Lake Chapala, Jalisco. I went with a friend, whose car was quite special, so we left all the driving to him. Along the way, there was plenty of time to stare out of the window.

To the outsider, much of Mexico could appear at first glance brown and run-down. Thousands of miles of desert filled with only brush and cactus. Thousands of pueblos with crumbling stucco facades. But beneath the drab veneer, you begin to see a translucent beauty that connects everything together: the rolling sienna hills with the verdant cornfields, the barking dogs with the tinaco rooflines. When you approach it from a place of internal stillness — or you’ve just got 25 hours left looking out the passenger window — disparate things begins to interconnect and make sense. But that requires a certain level of willingness to abandon yourself fully to a new place or culture that clashes with your own.

The photos in this newly created video slideshow are from the series Mexico at 55 MPH. They were taken from the passenger seat of a car while zooming along Mexico’s Highway 15, which spans 1,500 miles and six states from the border to Mexico City.