Over the past 2 years, I’ve no rights to complain. Although my family were not financially-thriving, I am very very lucky and blessed to be given so many opportunities and support from wonderful people around me (also a decent job etc…) – different positive factors that allowed me to leverage on and conditioned me to travel around different places (Myanmar, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, India) while volunteering and learning new stuffs that I never know beforehand.
Travelling does open up one’s mind. The more I travel without, the more I discover myself within. Now I know why Steve Jobs had to go to India before reforming Apple haha.
I actually learnt a new zen phrase today: 今日はどんな人に会えるかな? (Kyou wa don na hito ni aieru ka na)
What kind of people will I meet today?
When you travel, do you focus only getting to a destination? or the journey towards the destination? Are you eager to meet people of different personalities and backgrounds? Interesting travelers? Locals? and why do they do what they do, how do they do it, and what can we learn from them?
It’s been the third week since I came back from Ladakh and I still have a lot of nostalgia for it. As a self-professed travel blogger (stated on the side), I feel that although the pictures are all over my Facebook, there is a need for me to write a blog post about it.
A tribute to Ladakh
The land of 3Ms: Mountains. Monks. Monasteries & Mindblowing
Ladakh is a peaceful Himalayan region in Northern India embedded with deep Buddhist heritage that is heavily influence by Tibetan culture. As Ladakh is a bordering state belonging to India- obviously a democratic nation, there isn’t much forced-assimilation efforts being carried out on the people there and most of it’s diverse cultures and heritage are being preserved very well. It’s voted as one of the best places for spiritual tourism, many foreigners actually come here to travel and at the same time immerse themselves in meditation retreats.
“The cultural exchange and dialogue evoked by spiritual tourism are the very cornerstones of mutual understanding, tolerance and respect, the fundamental building blocks of sustainability.”(Ninh Binh City: Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development)
Partly because I am lazy, and I feel that my friend Ping had described Ladakh in the most succulent way I can think of, and with her graceful permission, I will just copy and post her write-out about Ladakh here:
“Before I begin with my description on this album of Ladakh, I would like to start by admitting that I had my reservations about going to Ladakh. I did do a bit of research before agreeing to go and I saw the glory of Ladakh captured in pictures but I still hesitated.
However, Ladakh and the beautiful Ladakhis dispelled any doubts I had from the very second I step on Ladakhi soil.
I had the privilege of witnessing Ladakh first hand and to feel the warmth of the people even as the surroundings became cold.
I listened to the great masters, and observed them as they chant with full devotions.
I have seen the grand mountains and the exquisite intricate paintings of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas as well as Dharma Protectors.
I felt the devotion of the people to their land, their Buddhist tradition, their culture and am left ashamed for not realizing sooner.
We visited Hemis Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Shey Palace, Stok Palace, Traduk Monastery, Khar Palace, Lamayuru Monastery and Alchi Monastery.
I’ve seen Moonscapes up close and took a picture where the Indus River converge with the Zanskar River.
I’ve travelled 5 hours on rocky road to pick lucky stones by Pangong Lake and to see the milky way from earth.
I slept out in a tent despite the cold but enjoyed heartfelt talk with buddies by the fire in Namra Hotel and Camp.
I ate fresh apricot and apples plucked from trees, shared Masala Tea then Butter Tea with Bhantes while discussing the simple joys in life in the charming town of Tingmosgang.
Last but not least, hugged a few children/teenagers and got to know a few of them, their aspirations for the future. The smiles and welcome from the children of Mahabodhi School (Devachan, Tingmosgang and Bodhkarboo) is sincerity in its purest form.
And for those that hold other faiths, Ladakh is rich in tradition and culture. You get a glimpse into a world on the Himalayas. Ladakh is so safe, a young lady can sleep by the roadside and have no other worries except the cold (as said to me by a local). They hold dearly to their Buddhist heritage but they welcome one and all.
I hope to go back soon, perhaps for a longer period this time around. And maybe not as a tourist but a person returning to a home away from home.”
Great Photoes by Joshua Khoo & DSDVW & few not-so-great by me hehe
I will definitely work my way to return to Ladakh next year. Hopefully for a longer time and nobler purpose. And if you’re interested in joining a trip to Ladakh next year, feel free to contact me. I can give you some contacts or information.
May you be well and happy.
Jin. or Young.