An unexpected pleasure

I haven’t travelled much this year. While in Bhutan, I discovered that Mr Yak and I were going to have a baby – exciting news for us, but it did put a stop to my plans of cycling across Iran/backpacking through India/[insert similar]. So, I’ve mostly been at home, writing (though clearly not here on Little Yak) and teaching.

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Taking shelter on a rainy day at Jakar Dzong, central Bhutan

During that time, I’ve found my thoughts returning repeatedly to past travels, to places been and people met. I’m sure everyone does this to some extent, but the contrast between intensive travel last year and this year’s long home leave has made me realise afresh that remembering a journey is a big part of its pleasure.

Of course, a memory can be sculpted into a superior version of the lived experience. I can omit the leech bites from an impromptu jungle trek in Malaysia, I can forget the physical pain of the journey to and from Indawgyi Lake in northern Myanmar, and I can delete the sweaty panic from a bike ride along New Zealand’s beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to catch a ferry.

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Storytime, tipsy from lunchtime ara near Thimphu, Bhutan

But instead, the memories that I recall most fondly are the ones that involved some measure of challenge, difficulty or plain ridiculousness. That’s in part because they make better stories (regardless of whether I’m telling those stories to myself or to others), but also because those experiences that inform my ideas of what I’m capable of – even if it is a level of previously unthinkable idiocy…

With our Baby Yak due in just a couple of days, I’m not sure when I’ll next have the time or material to post again, although I hope to do so. Merry Christmas and Happy Travels, be they real-world or armchair-bound. Until next time!

J x

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Glowering yak on the way to Haa, Bhutan

In other news:

  • My friend Warren has opened an amazing hostel in Kowloon’s cool To Kwa Wan neighbourhood. If you’re ever looking for somewhere unusual to stay in Hong Kong, you really should check out The Mahjong.
  • Another friend, Dr Stavan Attwood, has co-authored the excellent Bhutan Bucket List, available from Amazon – don’t think of venturing to the Land of the Thunder Dragon without a copy.
  • Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution to stop buying drinks in plastic bottles and coffee in disposable cups. Predictably, I haven’t managed to stick to either of those, but I have managed to use far fewer than I would have otherwise. I hope that doesn’t mean that I’ve broken my pledge to  Travelers Against Plastic

Soundtrack: Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz “Prayer in C”

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Prayer flags at Chele-La, Bhutan

6 responses to “An unexpected pleasure

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