Last night I went back through some slides from my 1989/90 travels through Pakistan, China, Nepal & India. I have numerous slides, and they are in an ill arranged mess at the moment. As I loaded up the carousel to put into the projector, I had little idea as to what I would be looking at, even whether I would recognize the images.
My fears of not recognizing images were unfounded. The photos were mostly from the Solo/Khumbu (Everest) region of Nepal and my first forays into India.
This all happened towards the end of 1989, over thirty-three years ago. It was a time of great change for me. I had left home confused, lost, maybe angry, with many questions going through my head. I’m not even sure that I knew what those questions were? I just wanted some space, to get away from all that appeared to hold expectations over me and would not hear questions (or at least I did not feel comfortable going to them with questions). So, I threw a pack on my back and hit the road. This was my second trip and I felt that some pieces were beginning to fall into place, though I had fear around what I would do with those pieces once I was home. For now, I was in a safe place.
I spent a month in the Solo/Khumbu region. Two weeks trekking in, about a week in the area, and then a week or less trekking out. The walk out is mainly downhill, and my blood was pumping with oxygen due to all the red blood cells that it had produced in the rarefied atmosphere at the roof of the world. I found it hard to leave. I felt at home there, especially once I got up in the Sherpa region, dotted as it is with signs of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Something was seeding my growing interest in this faith.
So last night brought back happy memories for me. Memories of a sense of meaning being found, of self-discovery. Such I believe is always available to us, but there are times, such as those days for me at the end of 1989, when there is space to take time to explore, inquire, and look around. The incorporation of my discoveries into regular life were still to come, but at that moment I could take in, appreciate and start to reflect on what was beginning to emerge.
Below is a photograph of me with the Himalayan range, including Mt Everest, in the background. Mt. Everest is on the left of the picture, the triangular peak lying slightly to the left. The photograph is an image taken from a slide projected onto a wall, and then tweaked a little.