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Archive for the ‘Himalayas’ Category

Michele and I are constantly having conversations about our lives, about what we value and what lifestyle is the ideal way for us to find meaning in this world. Over the course of the past several months (really the past two years), a number of common threads have emerged to shine some insight on what each of us holds dear.

For me, improvisation is a value that is embedded in my heart; I deeply believe that life is most beautiful when I act in spontaneous dialogue with my surroundings. I think one reason our time in Sikkim resonated so well with me was that it seemed like an environment that rewarded this value. A whimsical decision to climb a small path on the roadside was rewarded with a spectacular view of mist rising from the valleys.

Our most dramatic day in Sikkim was spent on a 19km day trek from Yuksom to Tashiding, traversing mountains and valleys on stone-gripped footpaths without a map. We walked through small hamlets and cornfields, gesturing down the path to strangers while asking, “Tashiding?” through the unnatural smiles of tourists who are unable to communicate with the locals. (more…)

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Sikkim is more impacted by a newfound tourism bug, but the land and the lives we see in it are pretty incredible. I love the breeze, the dozens of prayer flags, the hilltop gompas, and the paths that lead off and upwards into unknown hideaways.

Michele and I ended up in Yuksom by accident, a fortuitous shared jeep appeared, so we went wherever it was going. The village is the trailhead for the trek toward Kangchenjunga, so it gets a particular brand of tourists that leave a specific mark. Most notably, children here ask for candy, so I must believe that someone is giving it to them. (more…)

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What a change to enter the Himalayan foothills of North Bengal and Sikkim. In Darjeeling, what refreshment to see women carrying out their daily lives in public, moving and interacting freely. People seem very sincere and forthright here. Unlike elsewhere in India, there are no touts, nobody asking for our money. As a rule, people help us honestly even when blurring the truth could lead to their own profit.

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