Bhutan. People come here to discover what it is to live without. To be without the comforts of home. To be without familiarity to the land, animals and trees causes you to be curious as a cat. Being without old friends, leads to the creation of new friends. A Kingdom founded upon stories unfamiliar to the ones of home; stories without those silly dichotomies ingrained into everything. Without financial worries, commutes on freeways, and information highways. Live Simply. Live Humbly. Live Happily.

The time here in Thimphu has been anything but ‘without.’ In the Bhutanese tradition of making sure that guests are well fed and thirst-quenched, the three buffet style meals a day and somewhat regular evening drinks have fattened us up for our journey into the unknown. The capitalist cultures that we have all chosen to leave have reared their heads in our habits. I have spent more time shopping here in Thimphu than a rich teenage girl staying at the Fantasy Land Hotel in WEM. What do I need? More specifically, what do I need to buy? Everyone has a different opinion. We sure have not been without traffic, espresso, silliness, financial worries and internet. I even know that the Flames are on a 5 game winning streak due to the emergence of Gio and Backlund. Also, the SeaHAWKS are Superbowl Champions. I am grateful to have had the time to go on three amazing hikes in the Thimpu and Paro areas (see facebook for pictures).

Another thing we have not been without in Bhutan is good company. It should come as no surprise that the type of people who would want to come to Bhutan to teach for a year get along swimmingly. I am confident to say we are not without a new community that can rely on each other when things turn a bit sour. Although we will be hours/days apart, we will be only a phone call away. (Bhutan is not without cell service. [far greater % of coverage than Canada]).  I am extremely proud to call this conglomeration of English-Speaking Honorary Canadians my Overseas Family. They will do a better job representing Canadians than most Canadians would and definitely a better job representing Canada than people from Alpha Centauri would. The people in charge of us, Madame Meena, Karma and Nema, have been as hospitable as a Kiwi’s who pick up hitchhikers.

Thimphu is the place I have spent the most time in consecutively since August. It is a rapidly changing place. I have also learned a lot here. Stray dogs are not always friendly. Wearing a Gho is practical and stylish while also providing a nice breeze. Most interesting is a basic understanding of Buddhism. (next post). I have also confirmed that birds of a feather flock together. I am so proud of the palps we created in Thimphu.

As we begin the Five Day Journey to the East, I will be sad to see all of my coworkers leave my immediate vicinity. Luckily, I am the last person to get dropped off so I will be able to give some good ol’ goodbye hugs. Even though we will be apart, I will not be without you.

Fun Facts.

  • Tsebar is 641kms from Thimphu and it will take us 5 days to make it to my village.
  • Average driving speed will be about 30km/h.
  • The highest altitude of the drive is nearly 4000m (Tramsing La (pass)).
  • We will spend the night in Wangdi, Bumthang, Mongar and Trashigang.
  • Thimphu has a bar called Mojo Park that has live bands. Their best musician is named Soup.

Jacob Ortt inspired Stats:

HP: 88% + way too much food.
EXP: 14 days
Optimism: 90%
Palpable Happiness Radius: Earshot (5m sober)
Spicy Food Tolerance: +2
Height: Tallest Person in Bhutan. (That I have seen)
Altitude: 70% Acclimated  



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