“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My gear was outdated, the elastic shot from inactivity and the passage of time.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 firstname.lastname@example.org