Wednesday, January 21, 2009
After five years of outfitting others for the trips of their lives, it is finally my turn. No more living vicariously through others as they escape to the dark jungles of Burma. No more envy of the travelers flying south to climb limestone Patagonian giants. And best of all - no more work!
Yes, the time has come - Lisa & I are going to Asia! Our year-long, overland journey will begin in Bangalore, where we will immediately head to the hills in search of some elusive sport climbing. Then we'll spring on up India's sandy, left coast before tucking northeast for a visit to tea country - Darjeeling. From there, we polish up our yak saddles gain elevation...lot's of it. We'll trek, bus and hitchhike our way over to Kathmandu, racing against a weather window. Once the June Monsoons head into the high country - every road, trail and walkway becomes a leach infested, muddy slip & slide.
From Kathmandu, we head east. In a perfect world, we would pass from Nepal to Tibet and on into China before heading south to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam & Thailand. However, China doesn't readily hand out visas to those who travel from occupied Tibet. (In fact, if you're not part of an organized tour, you're not crossing the Tibetan border either). Though this is not really a surprise; China is the great walled country after all. Politics, it'll kill romance quicker than a baby seal on bat day.
So, our backup plan is perhaps the lesser of two evils. Head back south and through the foreboding country of Myanmar, essentially taking a short cut to Thailand. The more I read about Burma, the more intrigued I become. Sure it's got an uber paranoid and oppressive government. But the country is virtually untouched by tourism and blessed with some of the most unique landscapes in the world. Boasting glaciated peaks of 19,296 feet, buffered by over 1200 miles of sandy coastline and filled with countless acres of lush rain forest Burma offers something for every traveler who wishes to find himself a bit more off the grid. Sounds good to me!!