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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Am I Traveling To Bhutan?

This seems to be the question people want answered when they learn of my impending excursion to the other side of the world. “Why Bhutan?”

Tang Valley, Bumthang, Bhutan
While I find “Why not Bhutan?” a perfectly acceptable response, the true answer is a bit more woo-woo. In fact, I'd say serendipity danced smack dab into my intuition resulting in my upcoming two-week trip to a tiny country nestled between India and China in the shadow of the Himalayas that boasts the measure of success as “Gross National Happiness.

I’ve been drawn to Buddhism and Asian cultures for some time now. A trip to Tibet seemed like an impossible, but lovely dream. When my dad revealed that the same folks he’d climbed Kilimanjaro with a decade ago had contacted him about a possible trip to Bhutan, I experienced a feeling of instant knowing throughout my entire being that he and my mom would indeed make the journey and further more (inexplicably at this point) that I would go with them. This was based purely on my intuition and seemed highly unlikely and illogical at the time.

photo by Bob Munro of Sacred Pause
Believe me, it’s not like this is a run-of-the-mill trip for us. Although my parents have traveled to some pretty fabulous places around the world, our family trips had been more along the lines of Disneyworld. Also, my parents had never expressed any interest in visiting any part of South Asia.

Serendipity showed up in the following ways:

* I wore a Love Hope Strength – Kilimanjaro Rocks t-shirt the day may parents told me about their possible trip. (Dad had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with the people who were inviting them to Bhutan.)
* The day my dad told my mom about the trip, she opened a book that I’d lent her (Roll Around Heaven by Jessica Maxwell) only to find the narrator on a plane to Bhutan (a place my mom had never even heard of until that day!)

* The week after I learned about my parents’ possible plans (they didn’t decide to go right away) I received an email with “Bhutan: a play by Daisy Foote” in the subject line as there was a Horton Foote retrospective taking place in Dallas and his daughter had written a play entitled “Bhutan” which was being produced by a local theater.
* I kept hearing Bhutan mentioned in interviews and stories on the radio and in the news.

Because the trip would take place in November and that would entail my being away during the school year (complete with a full schedule of my daughter’s dance classes, piano practice and homework) – the prospect of actually being able to go seemed highly unlikely. Especially when combined with the not so small matter of airfare and the price of the trip. (In order to preserve their unique culture and control tourism, only a small amount of tourists may visit Bhutan each year and they must hire rather expensive tour guides to do so.)

Tiger's Nest Monastery
Still…something in me stubbornly insisted that I would indeed be going, although I had no idea how that could possibly happen. I had accumulated enough airline miles to cover the airfare – if it were even possible to get a seat using miles, but that was the only hopeful part of the equation.

My parents decided they would accept their friends’ offer to join the group. I continued to daydream about the possibility. Then, one day while driving to teach my group Creative Oasis class last spring, I received a phone call from my dad telling me that if I could cover the airfare and work out the logistics for my family while I was away, he and my mom wanted to take me with them. The gift of a lifetime! It really was going to happen. I still had no idea why – but for some reason I was destined to take this trip with my parents.

I was still shedding a few tears of joy when I arrived at Pigment School of the Arts and began setting out materials for the day’s class including stacks of magazines for a collage project. The ultimate serendipity occurred when I pulled an old National Geographic magazine out of my bag (one of several copies that I’d carried with me to various classes, workshops and retreats for years) and noticed there was an article about Bhutan including a map inside. I felt an absolute electric current of synchronicity ripple from the tips of my toes to the top of my head! Message received – “I get to go to Bhutan!”

A few weeks later, while looking for something to read, I ran across a stack of books that my dear friend, Krys Boyd, the host of THINK on KERA 90.1 had given me months earlier and found “Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth” by Lisa Napoli.

So…there’s your answer…this is why I’m going to Bhutan. It seems that the universe (in cahoots with my generous parents and my supportive husband and daughter) has deemed it so! I’m going with an open heart and an open mind. I’m going with a feeling that this is absolutely meant to be, though I have no idea why. And I’m going in ten days…so I’d better get packing!

I hope to post mini-blogs as I am able along the way, so be sure to subscribe to Creative Oasis™ if you’d like to see how this whole experience unfolds.

In the meantime, all the best from my creative oasis to yours,