21st of September

Memories From the Indian Himalayas

After a month in the south of India, in blazing heat and moisture I was in need of an escape. And the best place for me to escape that I know of is the Himalayas. Until recently I had never given it any thought that the Himalayas also spans India – but it turns out it does. So I decided to travel 3500 kilomters north and visit Kashmir – more specifically Ladakh.

I fly into the capital of Ladakh – Leh, at an altitude of 3524 meters. Flying in from Delhi I gain more than 3200 meters of altitude in an about an hour, first time I have tried such a massive altitude gain. But the body seems to manage fine. I spend most of the day doing what I know needs to be done for the body to adjust – resting! I just sit and read my book, and drink massive amounts of tea. I did a bit of rough calculations, and during my first day in Ladakh I consume more than 8 liters of liquid. The climate is extremely dry in Ladakh, so this giant body needs all the hydration it can get its hands on.

Originally my plan was to rest all of the first day due to the altitude gain, but after a while my itchy feet kicked in, so I decide to push the body further and gain a few hundred meter going up the hill checking out Leh castle. From here I view the sunset, and feel a sense of adventure and trill that I have not felt since last year when I climbed Imjse Tse in Nepal. For the first time during this trip I feel “home” somehow. There is just something about the high altitude, the cold fresh air, the simplicity of this life that makes me feel at ease. I smile to myself and take it all in.

After a few days of acclimatisation I travel into the mountains with my guide and spend a little less than a week hiking in this region of the Himalays. Having been sick for a week before going to Ladakh I was a bit worried how my body would take it, but the fresh mountain air seemed to have a healing effect. And all the healthy mountain food was very nourising indeed.

The feel of Ladakh is very different from what I have experienced so far in my other Himalayan adventures in Nepal. Firstly the air is much drier, and the altitude hits harder. Secondly the landscape is just completely different. Very stark – it is like an high altitude dessert. I hardly see any vegetation, just rocks and sand. I quickly realise that it makes no sense to take photographs when there is no clouds in the sky. The photographs simply will be too flat to look at.

We travel light, carrying no sleeping bags – just sleeping at local houses. Some of the bigger cities it almost feels like a hostel experience, but the deeper we get into the mountains the more “local” it gets. Sometimes I just sleep in someones kitchen. A very authentic Ladakhi experience indeed – loved it!

In terms of people, Ladakh feels like nothing I have experienced before in India. The values of people here are simply different. It is all about survival. Some very nice, soft, hardworking people, reminding me in many ways of the Nepalis, but with different facial features. I think there is some similarities between mountain people around the world – this life seem to promote some similar values.

After returning to Leh, the first thing I do is to get myself a hot shower. The next thing I do is to book an oneway ticket for Nepal the next day. There was no way that I could return to the non-Himalyan India after this experience. I need the soft, gentle, kind Nepalis around me. So I head off to Kathmandu to rest, meet friends, do some business, some yoga, and eat some great food. So long India for now!

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Categories:  India Nepal Photography
7th of December

You Cannot Hide From Who You Are


I haven’t really posted here for a while – to be honest I have been too caught up in
climbing, and after returning to Kathmandu, hanging out with friends and walking the streets photographing for my little book project “Colors of Kathmandu”

Today I leave Nepal, after almost 40 wonderful days here. There are so many impressions from this trip to Nepal – I hope I will manage to materialize them soon, and share them here!

All I can say for now is that this has been an amazing trip. I prepared for this adventure for a year. I managed to loose 15kgs of body weight finally getting under 100kg as part of the preparations. First time I visited Nepal in 2009 I was 128kg heavy, next time (in 2011) 115kg. Now I am slightly less than 100kg. I think it is safe to say that the quest for the mountains has been good for my health!

Summiting Imjse Tse, 6189m was an amazing experience. Preparing for something for that long, and making the dream become a reality was nothing short of amazing. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and it motivates me and gives me the confidence to prepare for further adventures (next trip to Nepal is already in the making).

When I left for this trip, some part of me was struggling coming to terms with my way of life – maybe it is time to settle down, maybe it is time to live a “normal” life?

I think if it is one thing I have learned from this trip, it is you cannot hide from who you are. There is a reason that I keep coming back to this part of the world.
There is a reason that I keep hitting the streets with my camera. There is a reason that I keep seeking out adventure. It is simply just who I am.

I have realized that when I do what I love, I put out a lot of positive energy, and “good stuff” just happens in return. New opportunities arises. I meet new like-minded people. New projects appear. A fellow nomad and photographer friend Flemming Bo Jensen – who also is a great writer, wrote something on his blog a while back, that I can really relate to. As he said – “I am not running away from something – I am running towards to something”! The last few years has been filled with me running towards my dreams.

I left England after living there for 4 amazing years – even though I was enjoying it immensely there. But I had dreamed for long to try to work for my dream company Miracle A/S in Denmark. After having fulfilled that dream – having a great time, learning a lot, working with some amazing people, I quit my job to pursue my dream of traveling the world, for an undefined period. It was an amazing journey! It ended up with me returning to Denmark to start my own company, which was a new adventure indeed. At the same time the preparation started for Imjse Tse.

Now having fulfilled the dream of Imjse Tse, I realize that stopping with pursuing my dreams, and settling into a life that society calls “normal” would be silly.
I don’t see the point of trying to be something that I am not, and trying to want something that most people want. I realize that living a different lifestyle, is not always a dance on roses – but life will always be a bumpy ride no matter how you live it. I think the best we can do is to go for what we want, and own up to the consequences. And I have never been more ready to do that, than I am right now.

Of course I realize that doing crazy and sometimes dangerous things worries the people that I care about. And for that I am truly sorry – and I appreciate their effort to try and understand me. And thereby on a finishing note – thank you for all the support from my friends and family – it means the world to me!

So long Nepal, and thank you for all the daal bhat. Hope to see you again come May!

19th of September

Earthquake in Nepal – I am OK

Last night a massive earthquake hit nepal, and Bangladesh. I don’t have access to a very fast internet connection or a lot of information from here, so you guys probally know more from the news than I do.
I know that there has been casulties in the bigger cities, some bridges here in the himalyas has collapsed and the pass up to everest has been temoporarily closed.

It was a scary feeling having a whole mountain shake underneeth you, and last night I slept in my clothes – I think everyone did – ready to run out of something happened again.
Anyhow just wanted to let you know that I am safe and healthy.

This is really a reminder of how tiny we are compared to nature. Please guys do what you love to do, and spend the time with the ones you love – you never know how much time you have left on this planet.

Hope you are all well.

Internet is very lousy in this part so not sure If I will have the possibility to post further updates.

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Categories:  Nepal Travel
18th of July

What Really Matters

During the past few months I have been getting ready for the rather big lifestyle change ahead of me. As part of the preparations one of the major issues have been deciding what to do with my stuff.
Originally I wanted to clear out stuff that I didn’t need any longer and put the rest in storage. But once this process started, I began thinking about what it really was that I wanted to achieve with this change in my life.

I’ve experienced 30 summers so far in my life. I’ve travel to a lot of interesting places. I’ve lived abroad for almost 4 years. I’ve been married – I’ve been divorced. Had the privilege of being able to study at university (it is free here in Denmark – actually you get paid around 700€ a month by the government to study here!!). Many experiences – some good, some bad, some sad, some happy – all contributing to making me who I am today. And I find it the more I experience the more I realize what really matters to me. What makes me happy is experiences. Relationships with people. Eating great food. Climbing mountains. Doing crazy things.
Material goods are not of great importance for me to be happy. The only few things that I really feel that I need is a laptop, my camera, a photo printer and an internet connection. All the other stuff to me is just luxuries. Oh yeah and a bed and some warm dry clothes might also go on the list of essentials 🙂

Therefore I decided to part way with pretty much most of my belongings, cutting down to only possessing a few boxes that will be stored with friends and family. Furniture, electronics – gone. I sold these. Clothes, various household stuff – gone – donated it to charity. Lots of various crap – gone – I fed the container with this. Left are just a few physical memories (postcards, photographs, etc), my favorite books and nothing much else.

Throughout my whole life I have been conditioned by society that in order to be successful you need to get a good education, have a career, make money, build a home, settle down with a family, and once you retire you can enjoy the good life. I know that things are not really this black and white, but often I get the feeling that this is what my culture and society expects of me. A fair amount of times I have been wondering – what does it mean that I only have a few boxes to my name and a couple of coins on my bank account at the age of 30? But I have to say it is at this point in my life that I feel the most free. I am of good health, I have great people in my life and rather importantly I am full of hopes and dreams. And I am doing what makes me happy.

As the departure date gets closer it is not my things that I think about. It is people – the people that I will miss back home in Denmark. The people that I will meet on the road. Of the experiences to come.
Things are and will always just be things…

“There is something perverse about more than enough. When we have more, it is never enough. It is always somewhere out there, just out of reach. The more we acquire, the more elusive enough becomes.”
– Unknown

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Categories:  Thoughts Travel