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Southeast-South Asia Reflections

Our journey begins

THAILAND | Sunday, 15 January 2017 | Views [223]

There are always so many lessons to be learned on any of life's varied journeys, some of them beautiful, some of them really painful (some of them excruciating), and some of them simply annoying. But no matter what, each is important, a wrap on the head by the Buddha reminding us to be mindful. The lesson for me this week is to "READ THE DIRECTIONS". All yesterday, I was working on getting our blog up and running in order to let others share in this amazing experience. I spent several hours uploading photos and writing about the first week of our adventures. At one point, as I walked away from my iPad, I came back to find a home screen with my careful rendering of our journey disappeared. On the blog's home page screen, there in plainly capped letters read instructions to "save the page" as after three hours, it would disappear into a netherworld of lost words. And so I begin again, as with so many journeys. We often start them over, taking the lessons of the past in order to turn them into a stronger more resilient life story.

My daughter Sophia and I are on a long journey, traveling to Southeast and South Asia for the next three months. We will not return till mid-late in April. By designs, we chose to miss Minnesota's winter. I love the snow, but not its attendant cold. Sophia graduated from St. Olaf last May, finished her student teaching and passed all exams to become a fully licensed high school biology teacher in the State of Minnesota. Since schools don't hire until late April, it was the perfect time to share with her places that are near to my heart and explore new ones with her. Our adventure begins in Thailand where Jim and I worked in a refugee camp over 30 years ago. It continues through Cambodia and Vietnam where, back in the 80s travel was restricted because of the vestiges of our war in that region. We will then travel to Myanmar (formerly Burma). It is, as yet, less touched by the vestiges of foreign tourists as it is only now attempting to expand their tourism industry. Then on to Nepal where I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the early 80s. Finally, we will join my sister Elizabeth and her boyfriend Barry in India to visit many places that have meaning for all of us. We will walk to where Tom fell on the Milam glacier trek in Northern India and follow the sacred journey along the Ganges that Tom's body took. I also travelled here some 30 plus years ago and was always drawn to the sacredness of the River Ganges. We'll also take a side trip to Rajastan - a place that was always on Jim's bucket list - but regretfully we never came together.

I hope this blog will both inform and entertain. I am encouraging Sophia to write as well. Hopefully it will be an opportunity to reflect and process some of our thoughts and feelings. We welcome your comments.


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