Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Travel Log: Going Big, Going High

I guess it all started a few months ago. For me, at least. A friend and I plan to travel, dare I say, backpack, for at least a month around India. While that may seem too short too little to our western counterparts, it is a big deal to middle-class wage-earning urban professionals from a developing Asian country.

We plan to cover India's classic golden triangle, albeit with some modifications, starting with the forts and temples of Delhi, on to the Taj Mahal in Agra and the ghats of Varanasi, and finally to the desert fortress of Jaisalmer. After that, and funds permitting, we plan to see the planet's biggest and tallest mountain range, the Himalayas. Now this was something I was looking forward to. I suppose you can call it "the Palin effect," which I subsequently learned is a legitimate affliction.

I admit, all this was the brainchild of my friend, not mine. She has been dreaming of and planning for this trip for longer than I have. I am just tagging along. Which is why I am hatching a plan of doing something on my own.

While she plans to trek the Himalayas in Nepal, where some of the highest peaks and deepest valleys in the range lie, I plan to do a road trip, first to the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh, then northwards to the vast desert highlands and mountain passes of the Greater Himalayas, in the Ladakh region of northern India. That's one option.

Another option is to explore the easternmost part of the Himalayas, in the scenic province of Yunnan in China. The circuit starts in the city of Kunming heading upwards to Lijiang and the Tiger Leaping Gorge, until finally reaching the mythical Shangri-la, right by the border of Tibet and Myanmar.

I am hoping to find travel companions when I get there. Travel guides say the routes I plan to take is popular to local and foreign travelers. If don't find people to go with, however, then that's okay. The excitement and genuine happiness afforded to me by the prospect of getting to those places definitely outweigh the hesitation and fear of traveling to those remote regions by myself.

Fingers-crossed they all happen, maybe within the next three years. I won't be getting any younger, stronger, nor bolder. It's now or never. Definitely now or never.

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