The local children will remain in my heart forever. Sharing smiles with herdsmen, hi 5's and cookies with children, meeting a local artist in Nepal, all memories I will not soon forget. Time to reflect as you gaze at the Roof top of the World. It was an amazing journey.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
We were on the road to Base Camp and stopped near a lovey meadow for lunch. I saw a herdsman with two cows in the distance and wandered off in his direction. A wide creek seperated us so I found a rock to sit on. We shared smiles and waves, universal to all people. Dear Olly was concerned that I was mad or ill but my husband said, no she's simply taking it all in.
We were in our hotel room in Tingri, the door was open and three children stopped by with broad smiling stares. After a few minutes I found a half pack of cookies and gently tossed it to them. They scurried off with shear joy...little things mean so much.
We had just crossed over a major landslide in Nepal. Children gathered round. I noticed one child a bit apart from the others and quietly gave him a candy bar. He quickly looked to make sure that none of the other kids had seen this wee gift, tucked into his pocket and smiled his thanks.
In a small village on the way to Base Camp we stopped for a brief break and photos. I shared cookies with the little ones, one of which gave me a very broad smile and shot me the peace sign.
I took the "long way" around Scorpian Lake which aforded me the opportunity to cycle alone and briefly visit with the locals before meeting up with the support vehicle and our lead guide.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Kumar was the absolute best. He was extremely competent, good natured and quite flexible for our very diverse group. He had the amazing ability to push me beyond my comfort zone and make me laugh all the while. He supported my efforts to summit a 4700 meter pass after 100+ km of riding. It was late afternoon by the time I reached the pass, rain was threatening and it was a good hour to the hotel. I desperately wanted to finish the day's 150 km ride. No problem. He was with me all the way. On another occassion, rain was approaching but I wanted to cycle. With a big, toothy smile he said to carry on. We soon got soaked, and through chattering teeth he called the support vehicle as the rain had washed out the road and we had no safe way of crossing. Safey over the flooded zone, sun returned and we cycled on to our hotel with Kumar smiling the entire way.
One of the many wonderful things about challenging cycling trips is the fact that you can eat virtually anything you want and not gain a pound. Kumar soon learned that I love a few fries with my ketchup. An evening did not pass that we were not offered home cooked fries with plenty of ketchup.
I would not hesitate to cross any remote country or sparsely populated geographic region of the world with Kumar as our guide.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If going to Tibet learn to effectively spin on your bike. Carry water proof, not water resistant rain gear. Most importantly take the time to appreciate the local culture, the people, the unique landscapes. Share smiles as often as you can, pick your own pace and don't waver.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
We look forward to more such trips in the future but it will be difficult to go beyond our journey across Tibet.
Thank you Kumar, Mongol, Punk tuk (our Tibetan guide) and Olly Townsend.