If you’re a reader of my Nepal series, you may remember The Drunk Welshman, back in Pokhara, telling me about his theory that the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in order to control the global heroin industry.
While it’s generally a good idea to take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt (especially those told to you by a drunkard in a foreign country), it’s also a good idea to not immediately discount them, just because they don’t square up with your own background knowledge. If traveling teaches us anything, it’s that ALL of us, no matter where we’re from, have woefully inadequate, incomplete, and utterly skewed educations. (See: Fake News in Former Yugoslavia)
Last weekend, I decided to investigate the Welshman’s claim. In doing so, I fell down a bit of a YouTube hole, and learned some really interesting things about modern Afghanistan. Below are three videos that shed some light on the situation in this country. Don’t take them as complete, unbiased texts, but maybe use them to think about your preconceptions about this country and the foreign involvement there. I found them fascinating. I hope you do too.
Prayer flags fluttering in front of snow-capped peaks? Huge glacial rivers carving out immense valleys in the mountains? A journey you take with your own two feet, where you can disconnect from technology and the stresses of everyday life?
Sounds good, right?
Those are just a few of the reasons you should go trekking to Annapurna Base Camp. Still need convincing? We’ve got 10 more great reasons below the break!
We left Suile with our sights set on the trekking village of Deurali.
It would be a long day, Anker pledged, with a lot of up and down. We had to descend from Suile, perched on the hill, to the village of Chhomrong, at the base of the Annapurna Sanctuary. From Chhomrong, we would begin hiking up the valley, towards the Annapurna Glacier, and just short of the glacier, our final destination: Annapurna Base Camp.
Before I ever left home, I’d left home a thousands times in the pages of the books I loved. I grew up as a bookish kid, who wolfed down words faster than food. Still today, after I’ve been to more than 20 countries, books have this wonderful ability to take me to new places — even when I’m nowhere more exotic than a comfy armchair in my own home.
Here are 11 of my favorite books to kickstart your wanderlust:
The morning after I saw the rainbow, I awoke before sunrise.
I had gone to bed early—around eight— so this wasn’t much of a surprise.
I was still shaken from my experience the day before; filled with a sense of satisfaction. I rose quietly, doing my best to let Saffron sleep. I ventured outside to relieve myself. The only toilet was occupied, so I walked a little ways off the property, and peed on the trail. It felt good; felt refreshing in the chill morning air.
I walked back to the lodge as the morning sky was beginning to fill with light. It was a clear, brisk morning. The valley was beautiful, quiet and peaceful. You could see for miles. Far off, in the distance, the distinctive silhouette of of the Fishtail poked out of the horizon. Although the real name is Machupuchre, the mountain has acquired the English nickname “Fishtail” because of its obvious resemblance, from certain angles, to a fish’s tail.