I'm not much of a traveller. Well... kinda. You know when you have a perception of yourself and you keep repeating it even when it's outdated information? I do that with travelling. I missed the boat of travelling a lot in my early 20's but in the last several years I've caught up quite a bit.
I'd already been to Bhutan two years ago and it was incredible. We do this thing through Black Dog Institute where a team of people get together to complete a physical challenge of trekking a mountain while also raising money for charity. I think of it like a fun run but a little longer and steeper. Bhutan is a great fit of destination for Black Dog Institute because t's their focus on happiness puts them on the map. Years ago the King declared that their nation's success would now be measured not in Gross Domestic Product or any other financial metric, but rather in Gross National Happiness.
After doing some fundraising events in Sydney and gathering some incredible support of donations to Black Dog Institute, I moseyed off to the Himalayas with a bunch of new friends. All ages. All walks of life. It's amazing how close people can become when put in the same place for similar reasons.
In our first attempt two years ago we were thwarted by an unseasonable hurricane which forced us off the mountain and in to taking shelter on the floor of a remote school in a valley. This time we ended up completing our 6 day long trek across altitudes of 4800 meters above sea level, through frozen yak poop, and even some unexpected (but very welcome and beautiful) snow. As a team we raised over $44,000 for Black Dog Institute through our friends, families, and workmates.
It was a wonderful trip and a huge takeaway was understanding more about how the Bhutanese view happiness. There is a lot to it but one of the things that most stuck out for me is how complex and non-stop our lives are which I think can be a source of a lot of stress. So much pressure to achieve things that may actually not be all that important to us, notifications flying at us from all angles, being stuck in steel and concrete and rarely interacting with nature. I know it's not all that simple but camping for a while with no phone or internet was surprisingly uplifting.
Rather than jibber jabber too long in this post I'd rather just show you all some photos to do the talking.