Inaugural Picture Essay!

Welcome to my inaugural picture blog! Every now and then, I will be posting a discussion of a picture taken on my travels through Asia. I hope that my travel experiences will inspire you to embark upon your own adventure, wherever they may take you.

Devin Moore Tibet Travel

Tibet: A magnificent land of unparalleled natural beauty and home to a fascinating people whose culture is rooted in the ancient past. I took my first trip to Tibet in the summer of 2011 with my good friend Shane Franklin. The highlight of our adventure was the four-day trek from Old Tingri to Mt. Everest Base Camp. Old Tingri is a small village that sits in the Himalayas at an altitude of about 13000 feet. Up here the dry air is thin and the wind blows constantly.

The picture featured here is of a cairn Shane and I stacked together. A cairn is simply a stack of rocks, that resembles a Stupa a mound like structure that are used as places of meditation for Buddhists. These stacks of rocks are can be found throughout Tibet. According to our native Tibetan guide, they are frequently left along trails and roads to wish passers-by safe travels and good fortune. Back home, erecting this cairn would have been a simple matter of moving a few heavy rocks. At this altitude there is much less oxygen than at my home in the USA and was certainly the highest we had ever been. We huffed and puffed as we dragged and lifted the rocks into the stack you see here.

To me, this cairn represents achieving a dream long in the making. It wasn’t easy to put together but after it was done, it was really something to be proud of. We built the cairn near the camp we would set out towards Mt. Everest from the scenery here is stunningly surreal. Peaks rise up on the horizon of this alpine expanse. Up here the clouds hang low, unable to raise any further, it seems you can almost reach up and touch them. Looking out beyond the cairn, I wondered what lay beyond the first small set of hills. Limited by the effects of the altitude, we didn’t venture too far.

Looking back, I wish I had taken more time to contemplate the scenery.  In the moment splitting headaches, dehydration, and overall fatigue make it difficult to comprehend where you are. I suppose this is the toll visitors pay to stand among the magnificent mountains. Along with the bitter cold and wind, the altitude is their self defense mechanism, just like thorns on a rose. I think back to my time in Tibet almost daily, the people there endure harsh elements both natural and man-made. Despite the obstacles, the way the hold fast to their culture and traditions inspires me to live a life filled with deep meaning and great purpose.

 

Shane Franklin, reporter and announcer for KSMU-Ozarks Public Radio, provided this picture. Check Shane out on Facebook.

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