Friends, family and colleagues are intrigued by our travel plans, and invariably want to know where, when, and why we’re going. Let’s hit the where first; stay tuned for why and when.
WHERE: Himalayas, Indochina, Southern Africa and Latin America
After a quick day in Singapore, we land Kathmandu Nov 4 and proceed to Lukla, where we begin a week long trek towards Everest. We won’t be summiting or even reaching base camp (its about the journey, not the destination), just enjoying the culture, nature and time on the trail. Mountain living at 7,500′ here in Tahoe helps with the elevation, and we just trail-tested the boys and boots at Yosemite, so I think we’re ready.
From Nepal we hop over Sikkim and Tibet to Bhutan… which is often recognized as the happiest nation on earth, and makes that claim credible by measuring “Gross National Happiness” instead of Gross Domestic Product. Why are they happy? They balance spiritual and material investment, avoid media (yet still have a prospering economy), live in a spectacularly clean and beautiful place and preserve 50% of it for parks, govern humbly, and get plenty of sleep. Sounds like the opposite of Trump and Disneyland… I’m in.
After 3 weeks roughing it at high elevation we plop down in the Thai beach community of Krabi for a few days, then via boisterous Bangkok we’re off to stupa-pendous Burma. I look forward to blowing the boys’ minds there… no metric system (like those other irrational countries Liberia and the United States), men in skirts, a cash economy, betel nut teeth, and Chinlone – hackey sack for grownups. We’ll do a mix of urban sightseeing and rural treks; destinations include Yangon (Rangoon) and Mandalay sites, an Irrawady River trip and Inle Lake.
Then via Bangkok we’re off to lovely Laos, where I hope to bask in the goodwill left behind Obama’s recent visit. We’ll base ourselvse out of Luang Prabang: the entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with “well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.” (wikipedia). Should be a nice respite from roughing it in Burma.
Then Viet Nam, of course. Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An… we’ll focus on culture, cuisine and nature; keep the war tourism to a mimimum. We’ll finish with the big bang of Angor Wat in Cambodia before zipping off to the later phases of our adventure in Southern Africa and Latin America. More on that soon.