Monday, 24 July 2017

Writing Myself Back into Bhutan...

I'm writing my character into Bhutan in the novel I'm working on and it's bringing back so many lovely memories of my times there. Starting with this! The legendary landing at Paro (see link below). When I was doing this I was up in first class (one of the only chances you get to fly first class without spending a fortune to do it), and almost all of us were teachers excited and giggly about what we were doing. Most of us had applied in March, found out we were going several months later, but didn't know which school we'd be at until late November. We finally arrived in the New Year - the year of the Male Water Dragon having dreamed about the moment for at least year, for some of us, like me... decades.

When I was 21 I went into Waterstones and stood looking at a wall of Lonely Planets. I was going travelling for a year. But I hadn't decide where. Hours later I left with the Bhutan book and felt absolutely sure that was where I was going. But then I read the tourist tax info - 250 dollars a day!!! I couldn't go to Bhutan for a year on a student loan and savings from a year in London. So I shelved it and got the round the world ticket that I ended up having to throw away in Tasmania because it expired after a year and I was nowhere done with travelling after one year. In the year of the Male Water Dragon I had hit the age of reason. I was 35. That's 14 years I waited. I had to get qualified as a teacher first, then teach a bit. Now I'm 40 and I have to remind myself sometimes that I am the kind of person that makes his dreams come true instead of wondering about them.

When the wheels struck the excitement fizzled. When the doors opened the clean high Himalayan air hit and it dawned on us - we were here. We had finally arrived! On the runway some of us stalled with emotion. I remember Reidi standing with her hand on her chest taking gasps. I was giddy. That was one of the best days of my life, paving the way for the creation of memories that I will never lose and will always shine with brilliance when I look back at them. I've often thought of returning. Maybe one day I will. But for now, I have to land Alex, get him safely to Thimphu, find him a suitable Gho and then drive him up to the lost valleys where an ancient brotherhood is waiting for him. Where better for an ancient brotherhood to hide away :-)

Landing in Paro

Saturday, 5 December 2015

A Small Voice with a Lot to Say

Democracy in Bhutan is unique in that the people did not ask for it - it was imposed by the king against the will of the people!

Following the pledge to become carbon neutral... they've now become carbon negative!

Can the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development match the spirit and action of Bhutan.

To do so the UN must stay relevant and reflect the geopolitical reality of today.... a wake up call from the closest thing we have to enlightened government

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A Virtual Drive Through Bhutan

This is a great set of pictures, reminds me of a home I once had. 

Such a great country to travel through and be in. My home is just off camera to the right on Number 10 - The Phuentsholing-Thimphu Highway. 

The first time I drove this road I was being dropped off at the school I had been assigned to for the year - Pakshikha MSS. It was winter time and the landscape was all brown and scrubby, like I imagine California to be. As the year rolled by I went up and down the road many times, sometimes in a packed out bus, sometimes in hitched rides or taxis, sometimes in the cars I borrowed from the Principal and the Vice-Principal (such generosity). Each new journey was different from the last as the landscapes changed with the seasons. 

I was amazed when I first saw this waterfall barrelling out of the forest. They came from everywhere  of course - the landscape dripped from all directions where once it had all been dry. The water brought leeches, clever ones that knew where to sit in wait - door handles, banisters etc. The banked up muddy-loose rocks ran with rivulets that burst from the undergrowth and scuttled across the road. Of course they brought landslides with them. The Himalaya is a shifting landscape. The roads of Bhutan are always falling apart and being put back together.

I'd love to travel them again.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

New Website!!!

After years of being in the webbie wilderness, I've finally thrown together a website. It can be found here:

It's got writing. And music. And pictures. And stuff.

Why now? Well, I'm sitting on 3 novels, some travel literature and a few non-fiction titles, and I've got over 40 songs recorded, so it's time to stop navel-gazing and get out there.

The first travel piece is available now through Amazon kindle or via Createspace as a paperback.

They say that most doomed romantic relationships end too late, that all the messy stuff happens in those clingy months of denial when you know it’s over but you won’t let go and face the uncertainty of whatever comes next.
The same can sometimes be said of travel; there’s a time to go and a time to return.
After nine months in Asia, the author lands in Australia to find that all the air has escaped from his adventure balloons. Desperate to avoid going home he embarks on the rudderless trajectory of a lovelorn idiot. Luck and happenstance guide him into (and out of) love-at-first-sight romances, near-death experiences and a spell as a crime-fighting superhero.
Anything to avoid the plane home.