Some of you may recall my surprise a few months ago when my 17 year old daughter casually mentioned that she was considering a little trip toBhutanas part of her senior project addressing the question “What is Happiness” from scientific and philosophical standpoints. She was able to get in touch with the Minister of the GNH (Gross National Happiness, yes really), but it did not turn into a larger correspondence. When we learned that there is a significant daily tax (around three hundred dollars) to spend time there, it became clear that a stay of several weeks was out of the question.
Thus began her search for other places to study meditation. Places inCaliforniaandEnglandwere not operating over the winter. When she made contact with her mentor for her project, a Buddhist nun, she learned about monasteries inNepalandIndiathat have a week to ten day programs for beginners that start in February. We did not take her seriously until the beginning of January when she announced her new plan to include a week in each place with about a week in between, complete with dates and a tentative itinerary.
Up until this point it had all been abstract – an idea, a possibility, a dream. Suddenly it had wings and a target. So began the serious discussions between my husband and myself. We realized pretty quickly that we were not comfortable with all the travel and particularly getting from one place to the other. She could not quite conceive of all that it meant. It took a bit of soul searching and consultation with others to be clear that in fact we were not comfortable with her making this a solo venture.
The solution? I would accompany her as far as Kopan Monastery inNepal, and then organize a little trek for myself and a friend who happens to be in that general part of the world with her husband’s business. As serendipity would have it, not only is she interested, but she also happens to be available the particular dates I will be there.
After my daughter’s program and my trek, we will reconnect inKathmanduand then spend three days inBhutanbefore heading home. In all, a three week trip.
The reality of this is starting to dawn, the mountain top emerging through the proverbial clouds, and suddenly our departure date is just over two weeks hence. I am tingling with excitement about both my trek to Annapurna Sanctuary as well as the travel with Kate. While at one time it was my natural state to travel for extended periods, I have not been away for more than a week in 25 years. Is that really possible? The only one with any slight hesitation has been my bank account which has tapped me on the shoulder, slapped the back of my head and hissed, “What are you thinking? You’re about to embark on another set of college payments!” “Hush,” I fired back. “We’ll figure that out. This is an adventure I had not ever conceived of, let alone imagined would be part of this year. Gotta jump on it while I can still catch the train.
Not only has my daughter’s dream taken shape, but I have crashed the party and jumped in the pool. I’m hoping she has come around to the realization that many adventures await her which do not include a hiking-boot toting mama. This one will be part solo and part joint exploration in a magical, mystical part of the world. The unknown beckons, opening its arms and inviting us to revel in its mysteries. All the better to be explored together from the safety of our connection with one another, secure that we have set up a structure which can absorb the expanse of possibilities thatNepalandBhutancan serve up in three weeks.