We’ve dreamed about the Himalaya since we’ve been able to pour over our parents’ National Geographic magazines: a wondrous, magical place with the highest mountains in the world, unusual wildlife, and cultures very different from our western upbringing. As far as we were concerned, it could be the Moon: it seemed just as exotic and hard to get to.
As we got older, we saw the organized tour groups to Bhutan, with a hefty price tag. As we have learned from our travels, we are willing to put in the hours to plan our own trip, and reduce the cost, as well as the potential for incompatible travel companions. As a result, we often head for the path less taken. If we can find tons of information about a particular destination, then maybe this is not the spot for us. In the case of traveling to the Himalaya, we assessed our safety, as well as a reasonable expectation for a one-of-a-kind experience, that our precious vacation time and dollars are well spent. We expect to immerse ourselves into the place, and not just get the tour bus version of scenery and culture.
With these vague hopes/expectations, we knew that we wanted a trekking experience.Our focus went to Nepal and Bhutan. While many have traveled to Nepal, Bhutan has only recently opened itself up to the western world, and we wanted to be there before the culture had been altered by electricity, cash and satellite television. The Chinese control of Tibet contributed to some discomfort about the certainty of the trip. So, Bhutan it was.