This is the place where my approach to travelling has reached a turning point. Having spent over two months in a village near the Himalayan foothills in far north India, I had the real taste of life as a member of the local community.
I was living in an environment where Hindus and Tibetans co-existed in harmony; where there was no running hot water for bathing when it was close to freezing point outdoors; and where I would be woken up every morning by the sound of birds chirping and devoted Buddhists and monks humming their prayers and chants. I enjoyed my time teaching English to newly arrived Tibetans and young Indian kids, roaming around on a motorbike, swimming in dirty ponds, crashing weddings, and in many many evenings, having interesting random conversations with a bunch of Tibetans over yummy food and drinks… around a bonfire… and under a starlit sky. To me, this is an entirely different experience far more rewarding than pure sightseeing.
Pakistan was unforgettable. It was by far the most rugged road journey I have ever had (together with Tajikistan). My journey was always frustrated by floods, landslides, car breakdowns, and roads covered with potholes, which I had eventually come to accept as a given. But there I had come across mountain communities so untouched, people so kind and compassionate, and smiles so pure – that I can only believe that all that tiresome effort was totally worth it. And needless to say, those 8000m tall snow-capped peaks dotted along the Karakoram “highway” would just take your breath away, both literally and figuratively.
INDIA 印度: Delhi, Agra, Dharamsala, Mcleod Gange, Rishikesh, Palampur, Baijnath, Bir (where I stayed for 2 months), Mandi, Shimla, Jaipur, Jodphur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Pushkar, Bundi, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Modhera, Zainabad, Diu, Daman, Mumbai, Calcutta, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Orchha, Amritsar, Wagah
PAKISTAN 巴基斯坦: Lahore, Islamabad/Rawapindi, Peshawar, Chitral, Kalash Valleys, Shandur Pass, Mastuj, Phander, Gilgit, Fairy Meadows, Karimabad, Aliabad, Lake Attabad, Passu, Sost