Thursday, June 14, 2007

Should I or shouldn't I?

I have almost arranged a trip to Bhutan. I need to do something to shake myself out of my doldrums - and Bhutan seems just the thing.

I have liked the sound of the kingdom of Bhutan ever since I'd heard about it on a TV programme about happiness a year or so ago. In Bhutan there are no plastic bags, no traffic lights and no soap operas on the TV. Happiness counts - and I would like to see what such a place is like.

However, I am apprehensive. Before when I've arranged my research trips to remote places I've gone alone. And although I have enjoyed it I have to admit that I have spent a lot of the time terrified.

What would happen if I lost my sense of direction, I'd think, as I took a little stroll along some marshy bit of tundra to see a calving iceberg. How long would it take people to realise I was missing if I twisted my ankle in this gully? And is this the right bus? Am I sure? Did that man understand my rubbishy Spanish and my little diagram? Now are we going north or south? To Bariloche or south to Chile?

So this time I am planning to join a Lonely Planet little number and everything is arranged - A night in Calcutta and then a Bhutanese plane to Chomolhari base camp and a trek in the Himalayas on the Bhutanese-Tibetan border national park... And the two-man tents; yaks to carry our gear; down jackets and insulated sleeping bags... It all sounds fine to me in the morning but in the middle of the night I wake and think about it and it sounds more like an ordeal. What if my tent companion snores? What if I do? And is too indelicate of me to ask about latrines?

Having decided to go I find myself resorting to finding reasons why I can't:

(i) It's too self-indulgent.
Well it's either that or the mental hospital, says HS (and yes, dear blog-reader, things have got almost that bad)

(ii) I am not fit enough.
Nope, there's still time - only 3-4 aerobic activities a week for 4 months and the trip's in October;

(iii) the medical insurance will be extortionate.
No, it's not. Trekking doesn't count as harzardous;

(iv) Right knee is a bit dodgy.
No, it'll be fine says my wonderful doctor (who is enthusiastic and seems to think this is just what I need) - if I do the exercises he is demonstrating I shall have no trouble at all;

(v) my slight asthma then...surely if the air is thin...?
No problem - just take your medication - and go to the asthma clinic - you're two years overdue.

(vi) Too late for injections?
Nope, plenty of time for those too;

(vii) HS and HM will miss me.
No we won't!
Well, you could object a bit...
If you don't take this chance now, maybe you never will.

So I shall..

Well, maybe...


Blogger Lee said...


Thu Jun 14, 07:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Susan said...

No. But that's me, isn't it? I prefer to pound my pillow into a comfortable shape at home.

Thu Jun 14, 09:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Ha, equal votes so far! Thank you both (Susan - I may take my pillow with me - I am fussy like that - as long as it fits on the yak).

Thu Jun 14, 10:00:00 pm  
Blogger TitaniaWrites said...

Definitely go! I saw that program on happiness and would love to go to Bhutan. They seem so amazingly cool, and I've never met (or even heard of) anyone I know who has been there. You sold me on the "no plastic bags", that's my current obsession. I take my own bags everywhere I go shopping but Jerusalem shopkeepers eye me warily and can't restrain their urge to give me a brand new bag at several points during each transaction.

So go - for me! - and report back. Are they really that happy?


Thu Jun 14, 11:07:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

It sounds wonderful, if rather strenuous. Aah if I were 20 years younger...


Fri Jun 15, 12:34:00 am  
Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

I definitely think you should go, if for no other reason than the selfish one to see Bhutan vicariously through your reportage of it. It's a country I'd very much like to visit as well.

Fri Jun 15, 03:40:00 am  
Anonymous marly said...


Do go. You will forget all about the annoyances and frustrations of a life shared with publishers!

My husband has a global positioning unit that fits inside a pocket. Sounds like you could use one. (And then you can go all over the world looking for secret caches, as the gps addicts do.)

Fri Jun 15, 04:31:00 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

You Know What I Think.

Fri Jun 15, 07:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Susan said...

But the rest of us don't know what you think, Jan! What's your vote? (It looks like Clare will be going, doesn't it...?)

Fri Jun 15, 09:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Jan votes, yes, Susan. I'm still wavering. I'm just so tired at the moment - I'm finding it difficult to think straight.

Fri Jun 15, 10:24:00 pm  
Anonymous Susan said...

If it's simply a quest for 'happiness', then it's no use looking anywhere other than at home, I think. I suppose my opinion has been shaped by what I've observed in my nearest and dearest...

Fri Jun 15, 10:59:00 pm  
Blogger Susangalique said...

I love going to forgin countries by myself to, but meeting up with someone when I get there, so I think your loney guide group is the perfect balance for safty and solitude. It sounds like the best of both.

How fantastic this sounds. I am going to write tonigh about a experiece I had with San Marino today. I found myself saying sometime I would like to go there.

I would also like to Islands hop in the aegean sea.

Fri Jun 15, 11:07:00 pm  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

If I was thinking of going to Bhutan I would be having the exact same (and I know I've used two words there when one word would've done ... I think it's because I'm looking for emphasis)internal dialogue.
It's something to do with facing the fear of the unknown isn't it? The key question I'd be asking myself is: Will I be disappointed with myself if I don't go?
And I'd probably be also looking forward to that sense of achievement after having done it. Also - you've done it before, so YOU DO KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!

Sat Jun 16, 12:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Thank you for your votes! Much appreciated. I am still deliberating but shall make my mind up soon.

Sun Jun 17, 12:14:00 am  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...


Sun Jun 17, 12:36:00 am  

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