Smiling Toothless Tipsy Women: Trekking Through Zanskar

“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, strop watching tv. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love… Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them…”


A smiling almost toothless man greeted us before ushering us upstairs and brining us tea before disappearing. His daughter, a twenty-two year old nun who usually lives in Dharamsala (a large Indian city with a very prominent Tibetan Buddhist community and many monasteries and nunneries) shyly began talking with us in her broken English as her fifteen year old monk brother helped her out. They showed us around the very small nunnery the village of twenty houses had to offer before sending us back on our way to the house with their key. (Imagine leaving a complete stranger with your key. We definitely aren’t in the United States anymore!) On our way back we got called over by a group of older villagers who were all sitting together drinking what we assumed was tea. Boy were we wrong!

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Cycling Through Suru Valley

“What we all want in life is to travel, fall in love, and be happy.”

Halfway between Srinagar and Leh we decided to take a 250km detour down to Padum which is situated in the very cold and isolated Tibetan area of Zanskar Valley. First though, we had to traverse Suru Valley which is a lush green area with high snow covered peaks in the distance. The inhabitants are Tibeto-Dard meaning they are of both Chinese and Pakistani (and Afghani) descent. Though the region use to be Buddhist like its neighbor Zanskar, the inhabitants converted to Islam during the 16th century so mosques and headscarfs were in abundance.

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