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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Perched On A Cliff: A Ladakhi Homestay

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like an answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.”


“Homestay homestay?!” The Ladakhi man asked us as we passed through his small village, mostly green pastures with a few houses perched on the only flat ground in the region. We quickly realized that he didn’t know any English except that one important word, so we found another man in the village to translate prices (five dollars each for dinner, breakfast, a whole lot of tea, and a place to sleep) then followed him to his home. Though we have been staying in our tent and cooking for ourselves the last few nights, we were starting to run low on food and figured now would be a great time to try out this homestay arrangement that has become prevalent for trekkers throughout the region. Though I have done plenty of homestays in the past, this one would be different because for my first time I would be a paying guest. As there are no shops or places to buy food along the way, trekkers have taken to paying villagers for a meal and a space on their floor in order to get by.

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