You Are Here
Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
334Trip End Ongoing
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Welcome to that little dot on the map that says "You Are Here". After 3 1/2 years of travel, I am now back home.
See below to find out more and click entries that interest you. I've tried to make it easy by grouping entries according to a few topics you might find interesting:
Recent Entries are often beginning points to multiple-entry trips (i.e. Kashmir is over ten posts long).
Treks, Pilgrimages, and Adventures
Festivals and Celebrations
Wildlife, Ecology, and Parks. Note that birds are often included in multiple entries as part of a storyline, not as a species list.
Other Journeys, for earlier entries, marking the beginning point of multi-entry trips.
You can also start at the beginning.
Cheers! ~ Lloyd
The Last Year of You Are Here
Listen to Sufi Music as Whirling Dervishes perform the sema. Pay respects to the great Rumi. Search for the rare Lebanon Cedars. Relax on the Mediterranean. Explore Istanbul and its vast diversity.
Join my sister for three weeks around Greek Islands and ancient sacred places. Pay tribute to the Oracle of Delphi. Admire ancient sculpture and art in Greece's museums. Take a ride on ferries between islands. Hike in forests around the Abode of the Gods at Mt. Olympus.
The Middle East
Over several months, visit Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and Egypt. Explore Decapolis ruins and Crusader castles. Walk with devotees to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Celebrate Good Friday on the Stations of the Cross. Cross checkpoints to the Palestinian Territories on Mohammad's birthday to see the Wall. Talk with Hezbollah supporters, Zionist settlers, devout pilgrims. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Swim in the Dead Sea. Scramble around Petra and Wadi Rum. Scuba Dive in the Red Sea. Visit Egyptian tombs and pyramids.
Eastern Turkey and Kurdistan
Admire Byzantine Christian frescoes, Ottoman mosques, Roman mosaics, and a Syriac monastery. Visit pilgrimage sites of Abraham in Urfa and the beginning of the Christian church in Antioch. Walk the city walls and streets of Kurdistan's Diyarbakir. Sample Turkey's many culinary delicacies.
The Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia
Explore the lands of fire and oil in Azerbaijan. Hear polyphonic singing in Georgian cathedrals. Hike to ancient Armenian monasteries. Enjoy rich, hearty food in city cafes.
The Silk Road of Uzbekistan
Drive with Borat, the truck driver: "it's like that, life." Meet the locals in the Samarkand market and climb the minaret at the Registan. Pay homage to a Sufi saint in Bukhara. Walk through a Silk Road citadel frozen in time. Visit a hidden art museum and admire avant garde Soviet art. Climb a Temple of Silence, now a Muslim graveyard. Ponder over the future of the Aral Sea and the role of women in the form of the Amazon warrior
Surveying a Wildlife Preserve by Horse in the Remote Celestial Mountains
At Sarychat-Ertash National Preserve, count hundreds of Marco Polo sheep, watch a wolf pack cross a frozen landscape, look for the elusive snow leopard, and catch a band of poachers all while riding a horse named Satan.
China's Western Silk Road: Kashgar and Turpan
Visit Kashgar's Sunday Market after crossing the Khunjerab Pass. Ride a train across the Taklimakan Desert. Gaze in amazement at 4,000 year-old mummies and ancient cities.
Two Weeks in the Hunza Valley of Northern Pakistan
Enjoy Hunza's views during autumn's majestic display of color then trek high along the Batura Glacier, where winter is well underway.
The Sheer Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat: Six Days Under the Killer Mountain
Trek across glaciers, through small villages, and in abandoned summer pastures while avalanches fall from 8,000 meters above, the westernmost summit of the Himalayas.
Exploring the Hindu Kush of Pakistan
Visit the Kalash people in remote valleys, trek in Chitral Gol National Park, and mingle with Chitralis during Ramadan.
Peshawar: Truck Art and Old Town Markets
Read the Koran in Peshawar in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, meet the artists who craft Japanese Hino trucks into colorful art on wheels, and walk the old town.
Spend four nights with Sufis: visit a graveyard full of Sufis at night, dance with Sufi saints, listen to Qawwali music, and jump into a Mad Max-style Fair.
Join a Kashmir-sponsored trekking survey team to explore a potential trekking route from Kashmir over the Omasi-la Pass into Zanskar. Live on a houseboat on Nigeen Lake. Walk and float around Old Srinagar. Explore the countryside of the Vale of Kashmir.
Delhi to Ladakh with Kevin and Nate: a Trekking and Road Trip
Beginning in Delhi, Kevin, Nate, and Lloyd travel hundreds of kilometers by foot, truck, car, and bus across the Himalayas and into the Transhimalayas of Ladakh. Along the way, we visit sacred hot springs of Parvati and watch a Cham ceremony.
Heading Up the East Coast of India
My camera is broken for this leg of the journey, but on the hours of train and bus rides, I talk with dozens of Indians, visiting temples and towns on the way.
Sri Lanka, the Tear of India, Serendipity
Visit the primeval jungle of Sinharaja, stay in welcoming guesthouses, search for endemic and rare species of plants and animals. Live serendipitously, Sri Lankan style.
South India from Hampi to Kerala
Travel along the spine of the Western Ghats, meeting conservation researchers, endemic birds, elephants, and tribal guides on the way. Watch a Kathakali performance in Old Cochin. Enter a raging crowd for the intense Thrissur Pooram.
Treks, Pilgrimages, and Adventures
Yading: The Big Kora, Sichuan Province (12 days)
Kawa Karpo Inner Kora, Yunnan Province (9 days)
Great Wall of China: Jinshanling to Simitai Hike
Shaolin and Songshan
Wildlife Tracking in Baimaxueshan Nature Reserve, Yunnan Province
Jungle Trekking in Luang Nam Tha, Northern Laos (3 days)
Tubing, Kayaking, and Motorcycling in Van Vieng, Laos
Snorkling, Music, and Cruising Around on the No. 4 Boat with Funky Monkey, Vietnam
Trekking and Boating in Halong Bay, Vietnam
Kawa Karpo and Salween River Gorge Trek (12 days), Tibet
Kangri Karpo Range Trek (4 days), Tibet
Traversing into Yarling Tsampo Valley to the Tim Guru Drupuk Cave, Tibet
Mt. Kailash Kora (twice), Tibet
Lake Manasarovar Ablutions and Hiking, Tibet
Lhamo Latso Camping: Dalai Lama's Oracle Lake, Tibet
Kekexili Trek, Qinghai Province (7 days)
Mt. Everest, Advanced Base Camp and Camp 2, Tibet
Crossing Chitwan National Park on foot, Nepal (4 days)
Makalu-Barun National Park, Barun Glacier, Nepal (16 days)
Buddha Pilgrimage Sites in Northern India
Desert Camel safari, Thar Desert, Rajasthan
Shatrunjaya Hill, Jain Pilgrimage
The Backroads of Kutch, Gujarat, India
Rameshwaram Pilgrimage, Tamil Nadu
Trekking in the Pin and Parvati Valleys with Kevin and Nate (9 days)
A Survey Expedition from Kashmir to Zanskar (19 days)
Visiting the Khyber Pass, Pakistan
Camping in Chitral Gol National Park, Pakistan (5 days)
The Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat (6 days)
Batura Glacier and Hunza Valley Trek (8 days)
The Celestial Mountains, Horseback Wildlife Survey, Kyrgyzstan (12 days)
Georgian Churches and Monasteries
Armenian Churches and Monasteries
Birthplace and Home of Prophet Abraham, Turkey
First Christian Church
Festivals and Celebrations
Full Moon Festivities in Lijiang, China, May 23, 2005
Children's Day in Shangri-la, Yunnan, June 1, 2005
Zhong Qui Jie Festival, China, September 18, 2005
Nomads Returning from Summer Pastures, China, October 1, 2005
Tibetan Buddhist Rite of Passage, China, October 7, 2005
Cham Ceremony at Dongzhulin Monastery, China, October 31, 2005
Full Moon Festival in Hoi An, Vietnam, February 11, 2006
Dasain Festival, Kathmandu, Nepal, October 2, 2006
Tihar Festival, Tashigaon, Nepal, October 24, 2006
Teachings of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Boudhanath, Nepal, December 4, 2006
Teachings of the Dalai Lama, Sarnath, India, December 20, 2006
Karmapa Teachings, Bodhgaya, India, January 1, 2007
Ardh Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India, January 19, 2007
Ashura Festival, Jaipur, India, January 31, 2007
Jaisalmer Full Moon Desert Festival, February , 2007
Maha Shivaratri, Junagadh and Girnar, India, February 16, 2007
Holi Festival, Dwarka, India, February 27, 2007
Thrissur Pooram, Thrissur, India, April 29, 2007
Phyang Cham Ceremony, Phyand, Ladakh, India, July 16, 2007
800-year Drukpa Kagyu Celebration, Shey, Ladakh, India, July 20, 2007
Ramadan in Pakistan, one month beginning September 13, 2007
Eid in Pakistan, October 13-15, 2007
Palm Sunday in Jerusalem, March 16, 2008
Good Friday and Easter in Jerusalem, March 2008
Purim in Jerusalem, March 2008
Yungang Caves, Angkor Wat Temples, Cambodian Shadow Puppetry, Vietnamese Water Puppetry, Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace, Guge Kingdom and Toling Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Gyantse Kumbum, Kathmandu Valley's Temples, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal, Ranakpur Jain Temples, Ajanta, Ellora, Aurangabad Caves, and Elephanta Island, Vijayanagar (Hampi), Pollonaruwa, Sigiriya, and Dambulla in Sri Lanka, Kathakali, Keralan Murals, Tamil Nadu Temples and Chola Art, Konarak Sun Temple, Tabo Monastery, Alchi, Rizong, and Lamayaru in Ladakh, Srinagar Heritage Buildings and Mosques, Zanskar Temples, Silk Road Mosques and Medrassas, Georgian Churches and Frescoes, part I, Armenian Churches and Khatchkars, Georgian Churches and Frescoes, part II, Byzantine Frescoes, Trabzon, Roman Mosaics.
Wildlife, Ecology, and Parks
Baimaxueshan Nature Reserve, Yellow Mountains Nature Reserve, Black-necked Cranes, Yunnan Golden Monkeys, Kekexili Nature Reserve, Changtang Nature Reserve, Blue Sheep, Chiru, Tibetan Wolf, Tibetan Wild Ass, Tibetan Antelope, Tibetan Gazelle, Yading Nature Reserve, Pythons and Sunbears, Qomolangma National Park, Chitwan National Park, Asiatic Rhinoceros, Birds of Nepal, Gharial Croccodile, Makalu-Barun National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Tiger, Nilgai, Velavadar Black Buck National Park, Indian Wolves, Gir Sancturary, Asiatic Lions, Birds of Kutch, Indian Wild Ass, Indian Bison, Leopard, Birds of the Western Ghats, Lion-tailed Macaque, Western Ghats Forest Restoration, Indian Elephants, Nilgiri Tahr, Periyar National Park, Sinharaja Natural Heritage Area, Birds of Sri Lanka, Horton Plains National Park, Birds of Kashmir, Snow Leopards, Chitral Gol National Park, Himalayan Monal, Kashmiri Markhor, Himalayan Marmot, Asian Wolf, Marco Polo Sheep, Ibex.
Drukpa Anniversary Celebrations in Ladakh
See the proceedings of the celebrations as villagers, monks, and nuns perform for His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa.
Cham Ceremony at Phyang Monastery
Once a year, the Phayang monks perform a Cham ceremony, where Tibetan Buddhist deities come to life.
Ajanta, Ellora, and Elephanta Cave Art
Enter the caves of the Deccan Traprock to explore the evolution of Buddhist and Hindu art.
The Taj Mahal
Watch the changing sunlight on the Taj Mahal, arguably the world's most beautiful building.
Ardh Kumbh Mela: Parade of Saints
Watch the procession of India's holy saints and sadhus at the world's largest festival.
Gynatse Kumbum: Journey with Tibetan Deities
Journey through the Buddhist Pantheon up and around the 15th Century Gynatse Kumbum, which was spared the wrath of the Red Guards.
Yunnan Golden Monkeys: Rare Primates of the Cold Temperate Hengduan Forests
Climb a steep forest ridge to visit with one of the most endangered groups of primates in the world.
Black-necked Cranes: Sacred Birds of Napa Hai
Crawl through frozen mud to come close to rare Black-necked Cranes in their wintering grounds of Napa Hai.
The People of Kunming: "Who is China?"
The diverse city of Kunming gives insight into who the people of China really are. Sometimes words aren't needed.
Home of Gandhi and the Bhagavad Gita
Gujarat, the land of Gandhi, home of Krishna and the Jain faith, sends you into another world with Shivaratri at Girnar, Asiatic Lions, mountaintop temples, beautiful coasts, and abundant birds and nature sanctuaries.
Rajasthan: Land of Tigers, Rajput Splendor, and Deserts
Enjoy a Makhania Lassie, made of saffron, by the Jodhpur Clock Tower and climb the ramparts of the imposing Meherangarh Fort. Visit Jaisalmer during the Desert Festival and take a camel safari in the Thar Desert, sleeping under a full moon. Parade and beat bass drums in the streets of Jaipur during Ashura, an important day for Shi'a Muslims and explore the Amber Fort and Palace. Look for antelope, deer, eagles, leopards, peacocks, and the elusive tiger in India's most famous national park.
Travels with Two Buddhas
Travel with two Buddha statues on a trip to Buddha's pilgrimage sites. Meet the Dalai Lama and Karmapa in auspicious places. Attend the Kagyu Monlam, teachings, readings, and more. Sit under the sacred Bodhi tree where Buddha attained enlightenment and in the cave where he meditated. Dig in.
Autumn in Nepal
Click here for three months of strange bewildering time in Nepal, with treks to Chitwan and Makalu-Barun National Parks, Dasain Festival, and immersion in the dharma scene. Peace comes to Nepal. Trekking and the Kathmandu dharma scene are interspersed with sumptuous Snowman Cafe chocolate cake, a Nepali kung-fu movie, and a seach for Buddhas and Taras.
The North Face of Everest
A trek to Everest Advanced Base Camp and Camp Two, avoiding storms and dangerous river crossings and meeting a Spanish team attempting a deadly route up the North Face.
Travels with Sweet Innocent Killer
Sweet Innocent Killer comes to Tibet for three weeks. We backpack through one of the most remote areas in Tibet, encounter government uranium prospectors, battle harsh conditions, seek wildlife, and debate about Tibet.
Adventures in Tibet with Kevin and Nate
Kevin and Nate return to join me in Tibet as we travel to Nam-tso and explore ancient kingdoms near Tsetang.
Western Tibet: Axis Mundi
A four week adventure across the western Changtang, to the Guge Kingdom, around Mt. Kailash twice, and to Lake Manasarovar, braving intestinal worms, heat, cold, the PSB, and a urinary tract infection.
Eastern Tibet: Forests, Valleys, People, and Glaciers of Kham
A month-long pilgrimage from Kawa Karpo in Yunnan to the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa via the Do-ke La pass--trekking, hitch-hiking, living in Tibetan camps, and more--by all means necessary.
Road Trip with My Parents
Travel through Yunnan to Mt. Kawa Karpo with my parents.
Cambodia: Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh
Enter the temples of Angkor Wat before dawn under the full moon, visit the Killing Fields, and explore the new-found culture of Phnom Penh.
Laos: Road Trip from North to South
Kick back and relax in Laos. In Laos, I traveled with Lu, the Bohemian. Motorcycling, tubing, kayaking, exploring caves, and more, including broken ribs in the end.
Vietnam: Road Trip From South to North
Funky Monkey and the No. 4 Boat, relaxing with Kevin on Phu Quoc Island, the festivities of Tet, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and water puppetry--from south to north in one month.
Beijing and Eastern China: One Month in the Middle Kingdom.
Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden Palace, the Hutongs, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace...so much history and so much modern in and around Beijing. In eastern China, I visit the Shaolin Temple, the Yellow Mountains, Wutai Shan, the ancient city of Pingyao, and many large modern cities, often unknown to the outside world. Kevin, Nate, and Karen join me for part of this trip.
This travelogue began back on March 21, 2005 in Vineyard Haven, a small town on a small island off the east coast of the United States. Some would say it is a separate country. I visited my hometown and family for a while, too.
From there, I traveled above the Arctic Ocean to Hong Kong, where I visited my best friend Kevin for a few weeks. In May, 2005, I entered the Chinese mainland and soon thereafter began volunteering with the World Wildlife Federation in Tibetan areas of Yunnan Province. Having no plan and no schedule, I decided to stay for a while and agreed to work with them for one year as a contractor. Trekking in the area was mind-blowing, with major rivers flowing through 4,000 meter deep valleys topped with 6,700 meter mountains.
For two months, I left China to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. These countries in Indochina charmed me with their people, scenery, culture, food, and nature.
Part of traveling for me is about meeting the local people and other travelers such as Rado and Marta, dozens of Pakistanis, the dozens of people from the Kashmir survey trek, Abraham the Seaman, many guides that helped me in the jungles of the Western Ghats, the Nature Conservation Foundation staff, Tulku Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Helenka, Kevin, Maila, Surya, the Kailash kora gang, Sanjay, Quza the Monk, Madame Sassypants, Daniela, Techotaxidriver, Jeremy, Gomba, Tim and Cindie Travis the bikers of downtheroad.org, Xiaolin, Tashi the Monk, Lucie the Bohemian, Gazhong the nomad, Luk the boules player, Mann Kosal of Sovanna Phum, Mr. Hummie the air traffic controller from the Villa Incognito, crazy guides called Sauce and Funky Monkey, the Hue singers, Cat, Sweet Innocent Killer, and the many other people you just meet and remember for some reason or another. A big thank you to the hundreds of people who have helped me on the way: giving me rides, a place to stay, some food, some company...anything!
Another part of traveling is getting together with new and old friends and family to work and play such as Kevin who has crossed my path five times so far on this trip, my parents who visited me in Yunnan, Wendy who helped me via the electronic superhighway with a WWF project and has been supportive throughout, Sandy who visited me in Nepal, and Jonathan who came to Shangri-la to work with us on film-making.
If you're interested in knowing more about LSPs, the similarities between west coast rap and Taoism, Mr. Hummie, a Tibetan joke, hocking a luggie in China, or Grandmaster Pan, a.k.a. The Iron Fist, you've come to the right place.
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Thanks for visiting and welcome.