On the way we saw…

18-21 May 2012

Taking off from Jackson and heading to LA was a routine flight. Everything went according to plan and there was nothing really to worry about. This is a trip that I have made a great many times over the past 30 plus years. I had to ask myself was there anything different about this journey? the answer was YES!

This trip is a trip not only to take my good friend Audrey Gonzalez to Tibet and specifically to Mt Kailas but a chance to share this journey with my Sherpa friend Nima Tashi and his wife Ang Phurba. It will also be the beginning of a new chapter in the Exploradus exploration ’“” –—…“this marks the start of Exploration Travel as a new genre of travel.

Audrey Gonzalez, Reverend Audrey Gonzalez as she often refers to herself, is a colorful woman with a life of exploration. Her journeys have not taken her to the places I have visited but have taken her to places I will never visit. She has now turned her attention to exploring the spiritual worlds of other cultures while maintaining her strong attachment to her role in the "church" We have traveled together four years ago to Nepal, India and Bhutan. Audrey had the young women she worked with and the children in her granddaughter's class make prayer flags to take to the Base Camp at Mt Everest in Nepal. She made the long and arduous journey to Base Camp and with the help of Nima Tashi to place the flags’“” –—…she has again brought flags from the girls in Memphis, TN to hang in view of Mt Everest from the North side. After we make the journey to the Rongbok side of Mt. Everest we will continue on the Mt Kailas for a visit to the holiest mountain of the Hindus and Tibetan Buddhist. We hope to arrive just in time for the Saga Dawa celebration at the foot of Mt Kailas. Once there we will put all our efforts into circumnavigating the mountain along with the many pilgrims from around the world. This ’“” –—…œora’“” –—…Ntis a spiritual journey many people wait an entire life time to accomplish. Completion of the ’“” –—…œora’“” –—…Ntgives the believers a special atonement that can be gotten no other way. This journey for the Reverend Audrey Gonzalez is multi-layered and vastly different from other explorations she has undertaken. Audrey will be blogging on her personal blog about her experience www.audreygonzalez.net Check it out!!!!

Nima Tashi and Ang Phurba are two of my most trusted friends. Together we have climbed the highest mountains in the world, trekked across half of the Nepal Himalaya and watched their family grow up and prosper. Nima has had his share of hardships ’“” –—…“broken legs, fused ankle, skull fracture from an avalanche on Mt Everest that left him deaf in one ear and with only partial hearing in the other plus years and years of the tough life living in Pangboche at the base of Mt Everest in Nepal. Through this all Nima and Phurba have remained upbeat and always positive in their outlook on life. I hope this trip adds to their lives in a meaningful way. I know having them along on this journey will add meaning and depth to the exploration that I could get no other way.

I travelled in Tibet for many years in the early years of Tibet’“” –—…™ reopening to tourism from 1983-1995. Those twelve years were filed with wonder, hardship and excitement. I stopped coming to Tibet and China somewhere around 1995 for no special reason. Simply put the people I was taking places no longer were interested in China and Tibet. I am returning with my eyes wide open and no real expectation of what we will find except that things will have changed. Tibet has had a huge influx of Chinese over the last decade and a half. There is now a train that connects Tibet with China and will soon connect other parts of Tibet with Lhasa. Yet I still believe that the strength of the Tibetan people both in and outside Tibet is irrepressible. The Tibetan culture is founded in a spiritual belief that finds strength in its purity and compassion. I hope I am right.

We will do our best to post blogs and dispatches throughout the trip. Audrey is better than I am at writing and has a much different prospective. I suggest you read her blog as well www.audreygonzalez.net

We are off to Nepal and then to China/Tibet. The next few days will be travel’“” –—…travel’“” –—…travel’“” –—…

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