Why We Travel

A reader left a comment on my 2017 in Places post:

“The more you travel, the more you will find that it is the people you meet along the way that matter most… Keep on travelling!!”

I couldn’t agree more. I’d like to share just one small story from this year about some people I met on the road. You saw them last week, at the tail end of my 2017 in Photos post, and you see them again, above.

They are Patty and Jeed. I met them on Koh Lanta, a Thai island, at the end of 2015.

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2017 in Places

Another year, another few stories to tell.

One of my favorite posts I wrote last year was 2016 in Places, a meditation on a year of movement.

I started that post with this sentence:

“As I go into 2017, I’m faced with a big choice: do I choose to keep chasing places, for another little while, or is it time to settle down and devote myself to enhancing my relationships with people?”

As you’ll see, I ended up choosing places. Places gave me a lot this year. I leave 2017 with a greater breadth of stories and experiences. But my feeling is 2018 will be defined by people. We will see.

For now, here’s what happened to me in 2017.

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An Update on my Friend Meg

Six weeks back I wrote “The Day We Climbed Long’s Peak,” talking about my good friend and climbing partner Meg, who had just been in a serious climbing accident at the time.

If any of you were curious about the follow up: she’s ok. Feisty as always, being a pain in my ass even from half a world away 😉 Of course, I’m beyond thrilled to be bothered. Actually, it’s usually me initiating the bothering.

Meg recently wrote a blog post about her accident, aptly titled: “That Time A Rock Hit Me and I Died.” (Guess her heart stopped a time or three).

Check the piece out on her blog, Meg of the Mountain, if you were touched by the original essay or wanted a bit more follow up. She’s writing amazingly cogently for a person who suffered severe brain trauma so recently.

More from me soon, I promise.

The photo is, of course, her blood-spattered helmet from the day of the accident. Wear a helmet, kids.


Chefchaouen- A Story of People

‘Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises: “Beware too much ecstasy,” whereas love says, “Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!” Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.’

-“Shams of Tabriz’s 40 Rules of Love”

The first time I fell in love while traveling was in Nepal.

I went to Nepal alone, on a stroke of fate. There, I simultaneously fell in love and out-of-love. The experience was so powerful, I wrote a book about it. But what I found in Nepal wasn’t a romantic sort of love. It was an open-hearted love of the Nepali people, a love of the attitude which allowed them to enjoy the present, despite massive hurdles in their communal past and future.

I left Nepal a changed person.

I left my intellect in the high Himalaya. It’s come back, from time to regrettable time. But mostly, since leaving that special place, I’ve tried to live with my heart.

Which brings me to Chefchaouen, Morocco.

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