A trip to Boulder Colorado, to buy gear for hiking in Bhutan and Sikkim
After traveling the world often and for many years, we have accumulated a large amount of luggage.
We have a nice collection of backpacks and duffel bags on wheels, garment bags for city trips and hydrating packs for daily outdoor expeditions.
I have bicycle bags and cycling backpacks whic
h are smaller and designed specifically for women, and are just the right size to carry only a few provisions, a wallet, a jacket and keys.
None of our luggage is flowery, nicely coordinated or pretty, and most of it is worn and battered from overuse, but we have more than we need for every kind of trip… Or so we thought.
So….. when Samdrup, our private hiking tour organizer to Bhutan told us that he wanted us to bring our gear packed in waterproof duffel bags that have no wheels and were designed with many exterior loopholes in order to tie them comfortably to the Yaks….. We had to admit that we did not own such bags….
Samdrup emailed to us a list of gear that we need to bring with us, in order to hike in comfort in Bhutan at high altitude and in cooler weather.
The list was long and required us to buy about half the hiking department of a major outdoors store…. No, I am just joking, but even we did not own all that was on the list.
On top of this, Jimmy, our expedition organizer for our hiking trip to Sikkim, which will follow after our trip to Bhutan, added his own list of gear.
We decided that we must drive down to the huge REI (Recreational Equipment) store in Denver, in order to buy all the necessary gear.
Buying gear online is not at all the same as having a large choice of similar items in front of you, and being able to touch, see and compare how they fit and feel to you.
Since the repairs to our driveway damaged in the recent floods will not start until next week, we decided that this was a good time to drive to Denver.
We booked two nights in a nice hotel in Boulder, and it was a beautiful sunny day as we drove up and down the high mountain passes into the Denver area.
The REI store is located on the banks of a river, and many people were walking their dogs on the long boardwalk, tubing down the cool river, running, cycling or strolling to enjoy the day.
The store is heaven for gear lovers.
It has everything you could possibly want, and much more…
We spent hours and bought all the gear that we needed and some that we did not need, but just wanted, as well as clothing and irresistible gadgets.
At the cash register area, people joked with us saying that they would LOVE to come with us no matter where we were going…
The man who checked us out, shared with us snippets of his own hiking and outdoors adventures around the world, and since our shopping was so large, we spent a fair amount of time enjoying his stories about his mountain biking expedition in Mongolia, his hiking expedition to Nepal, and his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
He gave us the names of tour organizers to check when we next plan an expedition, and he gave me a lot of material to think about as well…
Like many people, I used to believe in the wrong notion that FIRST you have to secure enough finances, that will eventually ALLOW you to live the life that you truly value and want.
But here was a man who has had some adventures that would make any outdoors lover envious, and he was doing it all on a salary of a checkout employee in an REI store.
He was going on many thrilling expeditions that lasted three to six weeks, while working for an American corporation, which supposedly does not allow employees to take more than two weeks’ vacation per year…
Where there is a will – there is always a way!
We simply MUST realize that it is the WILL that will open up the way, and that we must TRUST and allow the WAY to unfold before us.
We must never believe that there is only ONE way to get things done, and to try to force and
mold the Universe into our perceived way of how to get things done.
Do you know the horrendous expression: “There is more than one way to skin a cat?”
It is true!
If you put aside the terrible imagery of skinning a cat, it is true that there are always MANY ways to get the things that you want – done.
You might imagine that a private mountain biking expedition with support vehicles and private cooks to cook your food and a crew to build your sleeping yurts, must cost a fortune, but it is not so at all….
If you believed that everything cost a fortune, you could work and save many thousands of dollars, in order to hike for three weeks in Nepal, or you could do it with a friend for only $1800 as this man was doing, to celebrate his sixtieth birthday with his buddy who is also turning sixty this year. (per person plus the cost of airfare)
They are using a company that is not so profit motivated, one that is owned by other outdoors lovers who would do it just to be there and to enjoy their lives living their dreams of outdoors expeditions, and who view any extra income as great, even if there were no big profits to be had….
But if a person is a believer in the concept that everything is very costly, and that he would lose his job if he were to suggest to his bosses that he wished to leave for a six week expedition, he would probably not be able to find those who DO offer such lovely and inexpensive adventures, and he would indeed lose his job.
The life that I envision for MYSELF as being the highest form of life that I can CURRENTLY imagine, does not involve first class tickets to Paris and staying in five star hotels while shopping for fashionable clothing, and eating in five Michelin star restaurants.
I have done all that when I was younger and valued those things.
I have dined in the best restaurants around Italy and France, while staying in luxurious places….. But all of this has gotten old and lacking in appeal at my stage in life right now.
After you have done it more than twice, this kind of travel, that others consider to be “pampering” and fabulous, has totally lost its luster and does not even seem appealing to me at all.
In fact, it feels like I am being a bit of a dummy, brainwashed by a mass delusion…. buying into the popular illusionary machine that tells me what is desirable, what is valuable, what is thrilling and what is fantastic, while none of it FEELS fabulous to me…
It feels more like an expensive pipe dream which is unsophisticated, fine for those who cannot imagine a better way to enjoy, design and dream an exciting life.
What excites me now is exactly what has always thrilled adventure seekers going to explore remote places around the world.
Most of it has nothing to do with comforts for the body, and therefore does not really require much money.
There is a deep joy that comes when you face the challenge of outdoor adventures, that require much more than physical strength, but call upon you to find an inner source of stamina, and spiritual strength….
It is the thrill of becoming one with Nature…. Of overcoming bodily limitations and moving into the ‘Zone’ of endless possibilities….
There is a thrill that comes over you when your truly realize that you are so much MORE…… That you are NOT a body…..that you are not limited by what you THINK, your body can perform…..
It happen when you realize that you do not even reside within a body….. And when challenging situations helps you meet your Spirit and experience uplifting revelations that mostly happen inside of you, while you submit yourself to the challenges of the task, and to the adventure of being on the road.
We had a lovely time in Boulder.
A city which at least NOW, shows absolutely NO signs of the recession which supposedly still grips America, despite the stock market doing so well, and technology being at an all time high….
The best restaurants were packed and required us to wait for 45 minutes to an hour for a table, and everywhere were loads of people dining and shopping.
The homeless looked well fed and a bit disinterested, which reminded me of a recent article that I read about a homeless man who was arrested for panhandling in a forbidden area.
When the social worker tried to rehabilitate him, saying that since he did not have any drug or alcohol addiction, she could easily get him a job, the homeless man confessed to her that last year he “earned” over $46,000 from begging in the streets, tax free.
He told her that Americans that go through challenging times, tend to be more compassionate towards those whom they perceive to be less fortunate… And so he and his buddies now make DOUBLE by begging in the streets, than what he could have earned if he had kept a regular job….
After our stay, we stopped at the giant Boulder Whole Foods Market, to buy some food for the week, to take home.
It was such a delight to choose from the abundance of summer vegetables and sweet tasting fruit.
I bought some superb baked artisan breads, better than many I have tasted in a long time, and I sampled many of the artisan cheeses made locally in the Boulder and Denver area, and from around the world.
Boulder is a fabulous city, with a lot of hidden and creative gems and truly lovely and cool people….and with no “surgically enhanced” people in sight…
But I am happy to be back home, with two big waterproof duffel bags that could easily be tied down to large hairy yaks, filled to the brim with high tech hiking gear.