Nepal & Bhutan Guru
Nepal is my second home, without question. I’ve been traveling there since 1984 – close to 60 trips now. Over the last 30 years, I’ve been there as our guides built their homes, got married and smiled as their babies grew up, survived civil war, watched roads replace trekking routes and struggled through massive storms. I’ve said goodbye to old Nepalese friends when they’ve moved away, or, sadly, passed on and I’ve also forged many new friendships. But, a visit in 1991 continues to be one of my most memorable experiences in life – I carried 900 books, written in Nepali, over 10,000 and 12,000-foot passes down into Junbesi, a picture postcard Sherpa village just below Tuptencholing Monastery, in the shadows of Shorung Yu La. No one there had ever seen that many books in Nepali before; those books were the foundation for the first of our libraries. From that inaugural library, we continued to work with the locals and created a non-profit, which as of 2017, has built 66 rural library community centers in Nepal, seeded 163 businesses and touched the lives of about 1.9 million people. I hope you can see why I consider Nepal my second home…
It’s not just Nepal that captured my heart, Bhutan is equally magical and a fabulous contrast to Nepal. Bhutan is comparable in size to Nepal, but with only about 600,000 people versus Nepal’s nearly 29 million. Where Nepal is highly heterogeneous in terms of cultures and religions, Bhutan sees itself as a Buddhist country with less ethnic variation. More than perhaps any country today, Bhutan has really tried to “develop” in a responsible way that will truly benefit the people and the land. Although the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’ is not always easy to actualize, Bhutan, with its benevolent monarchy and nascent democracy, tries to do so. Bhutan is also a country that aims to control the effects of tourism through limiting its numbers of visitors, instating tourism fees and limiting tourist access to many parts of the country. Having traveled there since 1991, it is fascinating to watch the changes Bhutan has gone through and how they implement their processes.
During 1987-1988, I led treks in Nepal and formally incorporated my US-based tour operator in 1988, so 2018 will be our 30th birthday as a specialist to the Himalayas and the Asian sub-continent. I speak six languages, including Nepali. I share with my clients an incredible depth of knowledge of the culture, religion, history and geography of both Nepal and Bhutan, which I’ve gained over 30-plus years of intense travel in the region. My knowledge and contacts allow for me to design singular itineraries for travelers with unique experiences and intimate opportunities to meet locals from all walks of Himalayan life. Our guides are my friends, many of whom I have known for years, traveled with and watched grow up. They are extremely skilled and love sharing their lives with our travelers.Based in: United States
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