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BHUTAN

“It’s time for an adventure,” he said.  And I, facing an empty nest and the instant revision of my job description as a mother, answered… “Hell yeah.”

My adventuresome self had been hibernating during the rearing of four cubs.  There were years of policing and keeping them safe; reflexively spouting “be careful” or “watch out” and the mother of all mothering wisdom….“make smart choices.” 

My gear was outdated, the elastic shot from inactivity and the passage of time.  I bought new puffy clothes, heavy socks and long underwear to head to a destination perched in the foothills of the Himalayas during the month of December. 

And then the day arrived. Crammed into two carry-ons, we were headed to Bhutan for two weeks with a couple we’d known since B.K (before kids.) Yes, I too had to locate it on a map, this tiny Kingdom known for Gross National Happiness that has retained independence, despite being chest-bumped between India and China. 

We biked and hiked, we laughed and glamped (there was nothing glamorous about camping in freezing temps at 12,000 plus feet.) I got altitude sickness and diarrhea (isn’t there always diarrhea?)  We ate rice and more rice, marveled at a landscape dotted by temples and rituals, still relatively untouched by progress.  Yet you could feel it creaking open, on the cusp of more, as the internet continually refreshes the feeds and tempts the young with what lies beyond.

We walked through end-of-harvest rice fields and climbed switchback roads that paid off with sweeping views of snow-capped Himalayas.  We giggled like school girls at the ubiquitous phallus symbols of fertility; painted on houses, hanging from roof corners, for sale as key chains (perfect for holiday gifts.) We hiked mountain trails, closed our eyes to listen to fluttering prayer flags, turned prayer wheels, watched monkeys swinging through trees and unlaced our shoes to enter magnificent temples.

Those 30 year younger selves reignited; we reverted to that newlywed couple who had set out to live in China with backpacks and few possessions.  Back then the world seemed to offer a thousand different choices.  Long before mortgages, kids, smart phones and aging parents, long before 3:30 AM had become a time to palpate the weight of the world, we’d been two people primed for adventure.  How rewarding to learn we still were.

For any one interested in travelling to Bhutan, there are many restrictions as the country hopes to manage tourism.  We loved our tour guide company – and our guide himself named Dodo ( be sure to ask for him.)  Divine Drukpa Trails will work with you to plan a trip up according to your needs and desires. Contact – Karma ( yes that’s really her name) at info@drukpatrails.com

14 Comments

  1. GEOFFREY MORRIS

    January 7, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Great post of a great trip. Thanks for sharing

  2. Rebecca Messa

    January 7, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Love this! You should try “Moonhole” on Bequia. My daughter and I just spent Christmas break there.

  3. Sandy Selby

    January 7, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Wow! Bhutan is a place that’s intrigued me for years. Maybe it’s time for me to go….

  4. Lisa weldon

    January 7, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Omg, I love this. On so many levels.

  5. Mary Frasier

    January 7, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    This piece comes alive with words that grow into sights, feelings, and adventure. I can relate to the years of raising children and then whew, what now. My what now changed after a fall. I ended up with a tbi whole running a program for homeless, chemically dependent women with children. One of my dreams was to go to Tibet, Bhutan, and seek out Suffering Moses store in India. Thank you for writing about your trip with pics. Brings such joy to see and hear about the culture and the area.
    Enjoy your A.K. after kids..lol

  6. Robin Patryas

    January 8, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    OMG, this inspires me! My husband and I were just–like 20 minutes ago– talking about having an adventure before ill health takes over our lives. Thank you for taking us along on this marvelous journey.

  7. Heather Lee

    January 8, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    More couples should recognize the power of a shared ” out of your comfort zone” adventure to rekindle passion,,perspective and playfulness.

  8. Alice Aspen March

    January 9, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Am so delighted to finally be connected to you…and to see and hear about your new life!!! Stay well and hip!!!

  9. Kathy Bugge

    January 10, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Wonderful read, fully, and inspiring as well. Thank you for sharing this journey.

  10. Brooks Wallace

    January 10, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Wow, What a trip! looks amazing. I hope to take my family to Machu Picchu, Peru this spring on a World Ventures Voluntuorism trip if it doesn’t interfere with our 40th reunion at Cranbrook. I look forward to meeting you and reconnecting with Bob. I’m with two guys from Cranbrook right now who came out to ski Vail.

  11. Beth Bullock

    January 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I read a book about a Canadian woman who moved to Bhutan to teach. I’ve been captivated with this amazing country ever since. Thanks for another peek inside!

  12. Missie

    January 11, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Great stuff Lee so glad you got to make this journey, and you have reminded us all to reconnect with our former selves BK! Happy New Year.

  13. 1010ParkPlace

    January 23, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    I, too, am the same woman I was 40 years ago, primed for adventure in places where you couldn’t get a cheeseburger, they didn’t speak English and rarely saw an American. While I’d love to visit new places… Angor Wat at the top of my list, I don’t know anyone else who wants to travel off the grid. I’ve been widowed twice and my girlfriends are happy traveling to Palm Springs to play golf. I don’t golf. I have begun writing a memoir about a life spent hacking my way through three-canopy jungles to dig for Mayan artifacts, being kidnapped by the Honduran Military Commandos in 1988 and an assassin who “liked” me… which was better than the alternative. Love your blog and your book reviews. Sending you my best for a healthy 2019, and a mended wrist. Brenda

  14. Pattie Yu

    February 4, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Always beautiful writing Lee. Dodo and Karma, got it.
    In case I never get there, Lee’s blog post for adventure and inspiration, got it.

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