One Year on the Road

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That’s right , one year on the road. We can’t believe is either, although when we look back over the last 12 months the incredible number of adventures we’ve had proves that it must be true.

It’s been a year of highs and lows – literally. From sea level in Hong Kong to the extreme heights of Sichuan, Qinghai, Tibet and Nepal back down to the pancake-flat plains of India. We’ve sweated out the heat from tropical Guangxi to the deserts of Rajasthan and frozen our butts off sleeping in Tibetan monasteries and trekking in the Himalayas.

Yes, it’s been a year of superlatives starring the superstar of all mountains, Everest, which we have now seen from pretty much every angle imaginable. We climbed to our highest point, Drolma La Pass at 5,600 meters ( 18,400 ft), during our kora around Mt. Kailash in western Tibet. That record has yet to be broken, but we’ve come within a few hundred feet on several occasions including Gokyo Ri, Gorak Shep, and Chhukhung Ri, all in the Everest region of Nepal. But geography is not the only highlight.

Our path over the last twelve months could have been lifted straight from a textbook on Asia’s artistic and architectural treasures from the Dazu Caves and the Giant Buddha of Leshan in China to the Potala and Gyantse Kumbum in Tibet to the Khajuraho Temples and Taj Mahal in India. Equally impressive are the lesser known attractions including the Sengze Gyanak mani pile in Qinghai, the traditional Nepalese Newari towns of Patan and Bhaktapur, and the mesmerizing Jain Temples of northern India. I could fill pages just listing the phenomenal sites we’ve explored.

Our route has taken us through some of the most spiritual territory on the planet. We sat with chanting monks beneath the Bodhi tree, joined pilgrims to the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, climbed Jain holy mountains, boated the holy (and highly polluted) waters of the Ganges in the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi. We’ve chatted with Sadhus, Sikhs and Sufi mystics, danced with animated animists, bantered with Bon worshipers. It’s all been great fun – but we still haven’t found God/gods or enjoyed enlightenment – oh well, we’re still youngish.

But the most interesting aspect of our first year on the road has been the challenge of living as Contemporary Nomads. At times, the nomadic lifestyle can be a bit exhausting. The treasures above don’t always come easily. We’ve stayed in some pretty lousy dives over the last 12 months. (Don’t you hate it when you turn on the air cooler in your hotel room and a live snake blows out at you? Me too!) We’ve bumped our way through the back roads in Chinese and Indian sleeper buses, trekked for weeks on end, ridden camels for days, biked, boated, rafted, and even crawled to see what we’ve seen. So far, this ain’t no vacation in the Bahamas (although that might be coming up soon.)

Perhaps the greatest challenges are the little things: lack of privacy, daily power outages, always having to pack up, not hanging out with our friends back home, sleeping in strange beds, and not having our own kitchen. Actually, missing food might be the greatest challenge: burritos, corn chips with guacamole, a warm German pretzel with butter, good freshly brewed coffee…

So has it been worth it?

Absolutely, it certainly beats a forty-hour work week behind a desk. Or kicking my bosses butt in Berlin to finally issue my paycheck!!! Every single day brings such memorable experiences – it’s amazing how much we can actually recall from the last year. Back in Berlin, the days blended together into a comfortable yet indistinguishable mass memory. We’ve both lost weight and can walk for miles on end. Life has become a series of mental and physical challenges which have shaken us back into consciousness – a kind of rebirth into our new nomadic life.

And that’s just the first year!!!

5 responses to “One Year on the Road”

  1. avatar hint says:

    Has it really already been a year??? In a way it feels like yesterday that you packed up your stuff and left (btw: your aloe plant is still alive!!) but at the same time it feels like ages… We miss you guys!!

    Have a magnificent 2nd year as contemporary nomads – full of adventure, wild animals, architecture and encounters with local people and…keep writing the best blog ever causing acute breakouts of Fernweh everytime we drop by!

    Küssles, Leonie und Özgür

  2. avatar laurelle says:

    Thanks for taking us with you during this eventful year. I hope that keeping up with the blog hasn’t cramped your nomadic lifestyle too much. The technological world has certainly changed since your first journey together through Africa.

    The photos are fabulous, as are your beautiful selves!

    Love you and miss you,
    Laurelle

  3. avatar greeneyes says:

    Thanks, Guys, for all the great escapes and adventures you have provided for all of us on this site for the past year.

    We are so excited for you to be able to experience all of these things. Even though we know it is no vacation when you travel this way, it certainly gives you a taste of the real world and all of its glory.

    Take Care.
    We look forward to hearing and seeing more.

  4. avatar greeneyes says:

    Is it a year already? Wow, we can’t wait to hear “all” about it when you guys come back to the States.
    Be safe and savour every minute of it even when the going gets tough sometimes. Like having to eat lunch in a cemetery and things like that.
    One of my favourites is the “beating the monkey” episode.
    So to celebrate your one year adventure, I am going for a four day backpack trip up in the Sierras. I am going this afternoon and back by Sunday.
    Take care guys. Ken.

  5. avatar Beverly says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been following along for a year now. It’s truly amazing to hear you recap your adventures. I imagine that there are so many hilarious T & T moments stuck in there. I can’t wait to see you on down the road and hear about the adventures all over again. Un abrazo muy fuerte.

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