Tag Archives: discoveries

One Moment: Those People

Ali waves to us from the top of the hill. We wave back, reluctantly.

It’s the end of our walking day, and we are scanning the desert landscape for a suitable campsite. We have our eye on an abandoned house on the flattened section of the hill not far from where Ali is standing. Continue reading One Moment: Those People

Curiosities…Bangladesh

We notice a lot of things when walking the world.

As similar as we all are, we do things differently, either because of customs, cultures or habits.

Here are a few of the curious things we discovered in Bangladesh, in random order. (Lluís does a much better job remembering and noting all these little things. Check out his post in Catalan, published the same day as this one; you can use Google translate to get the gist.)

Continue reading Curiosities…Bangladesh

Welcome! Come in! Tea?

 

“Choi? Chay?”

These Tajik and Russian words will long echo in our ears and our hearts. They are more than an invitation for tea. They are a way into people’s homes and lives. They are reflections of a kind of hospitality people in today’s busy world don’t seem to have time for any more. These words have come to mean “Tajikistan” to us.

Continue reading Welcome! Come in! Tea?

Lost in the Long Stretches

We trudge forward. Hours drag on.

Each step brings us to another curve leading to a long stretch of alpine nothingness. It’s just us alone in the world, heads down and walking different paces alongside the Panj River that sometimes meanders a few meters below or rages through narrow gorges.

There’s comfort in solitude. There’s unity between the human spirit and the natural world. There’s also a simultaneous sense of bigness and smallness, being a speck in the shadow of mountainous greatness while having a heart large enough to notice the smallest rock sparkling in the sunshine.

It’s easy to get lost in these long stretches in between Pamir towns. The monotony invites a meditative calm, a peace that comes with moving at about three kilometers an hour. It often, too, stirs restlessness and a string of unconnected thoughts anxious for answers or impatience from feeling like we are going nowhere fast.

Continue reading Lost in the Long Stretches

Walking the Wakhan Valley

 

We round a bend on the bumpy road, and I am immediately spellbound. I want to ask the driver to stop the car so I can fall to my knees and bow in honor the beauty before me. My jaw keeps slipping towards my chest with each rock we roll over. My eyes tear up.

“My god. It’s beautiful.” I whisper over the lump in my throat. I can’t make my mouth spit out the words, “Stop, please, stop. We must see this greatness at a standstill.”

I have never before truly understood what compels climbers to summit the world’s biggest mountains, but now I catch a glimmer into their psyche. Staring at the Hindu Kush from the road snaking through Tajikistan’s southern corner, all I want to do is touch these faraway jagged, snowy peaks. Touching them with my eyes is not enough. I want to touch them with my soul.

Continue reading Walking the Wakhan Valley

What Would Love Do?

I roll over on the bamboo poles serving as tonight’s mattress. Tired, aching muscles clench both sides of my shoulder blades, and my hips don’t quite fit in the small spaces between the tied poles. I can only wish for more sleep, but it’s a wasted wish. It’s 3:50 a.m., a few minutes before our alarms go off.

I take a rushed and restless breath, and on the exhale,  a single thought floods my brain and body. Thinking about it will consume many hours of many days, and eventually it will become one of my personal carry-on-warrior mantras: What would love do?

Continue reading What Would Love Do?