During the Q-A at my presentations, a common inquiry is to ask about my next journey. The simple answer is that being in front of a new crowd at an unfamiliar location is an adventure. In many ways, promoting A Million Steps is similar to walking on the trail. It often feels like a gigantic aircraft hovers overhead and strangers paratroop into my life on a daily basis. We intersect and share gifts. The second answer is that my next big journey will find me.
About two weeks ago, I was speaking at a book club in Garden Valley, Idaho. While I share a mutual friend with the host, she was essentially a stranger. At the end of the night, she told me about an upcoming trip she was taking to Bhutan. Her trip begins with a few weeks in the area with girlfriends. After they depart, Kim will embark on a 250-mile 19-day hike through the Himalayas. An invitation was extended to join the expedition and I responded by saying, “sound interesting, please send me some details on email.” In other words…….not likely.
Several days later, I had a chance to open an email titled: Chomolhari-Laya Gasa Trek . I clicked the link and was anticipating a quick delete. Intrigue hypnotized me with the realization that this tiny country of 500K Bhuddists only allows 20K chaperoned visitors per year. Television and Internet were banned until 1999. They shunned GDP and measure success through Gross National Happiness. After about three minutes, I realized that the next chapter found me. Within 24 hours, I was booking the trip.
There is never a perfect time for a grand journey. If you wait and become infected with analysis paralysis then nothing ever changes. Just like the Camino, this trip will allow me to conquer fear of the unknown. Financially, this trek is way beyond my means. I do not speak the language. I will be sleeping in a tent at elevations ranging from 4,000 to 16,000 feet with temperatures below zero. I will be walking 6-7 hours per day with a stranger in a foreign land. From previous experiences, I know in my head and heart that the best personal growth occurs when the days are unscripted and uncomfortable.
I do not have any idea what will happen on this walk, but I promise to leave all expectations in Idaho. Accepting adversity and celebrating joy is the only way to fly.
Fear and happiness cannot cohabitate. A trip like this will tamp down some fears and that creates space for more smiles.