Far-Flung Travels’ founder honored

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Laura Watilo Blake has won seven awards in the 2012 Society of American Travel Writers’ Central States Writing and Photography Contest, including the highest writing honor given to an active member of the chapter each year. The prize, known as the Henry & Vera Bradshaw Memorial Award, is selected from a pool of First PlaceRead more

12 hours in Calcutta: impressions from a moving vehicle

I learned almost everything I know about India from watching teams battle it out on “The Amazing Race” over the last decade. Over one 12-hour period, we seemed to experience it all — except for a head shaving. 10am: Smooth landing in Calcutta (CCU) only to find out Druk Air had not loaded half ourRead more

Tiger Tale

According to Bhutanese lore, Guru Rinpoche came to Paro flying on the back of a tigress, where he subdued the local demons and meditated in cave perched high on a cliff. It was in that improbable and impractical spot that a monastery was built. The Taktsang Lahkang, also known the Tiger’s Nest, is one ofRead more

On the path to enlightenment

At the Kurjey Lakhang, a monastery in Buthang, I am literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Well, just two rocks. If I can squeeze through the small opening between them, it means I have a purer soul than those who cannot pass. I feel like I am in an Indiana Jones filmRead more

Trekking on top of the world

The tour van I’ve called home for the last week comes to a stop and its passengers spill out, thankful to be able to stretch and breathe in the fresh mountain air. After an agressive schedule of traveling from village to village over the last few days, we looked forward to reaching new heights atRead more

The Frenzy of Bhutan’s Ura Yakchoe Festival

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Bhutan is known for its cultural festivals. The Paro Teschu, by far, is the most popular, but there are others that take place throughout the country. We timed our visit around the Ura Yakchoe festival, which can be best described as a church bazaar meets small-town fair, except everyone dresses in their finest threads. WeRead more

One adventure after another

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My morning started with Sheila singing “Happy Birthday” at 3 a.m. We were both wide awake, listening to the rain fall outside. By the morning light, we could see freshly fallen snow in the mountains outside our window and soon we’d be right in the midst of it all — or so we think. OnceRead more

The Thunder Dragon Awakens

Most visitors to Bhutan don’t venture beyond Punakha, the Divine Madman’s stronghold, but on ward we go, climbing higher and higher into the Himalayas toward the Phobjikha Valley, which Lotay of Bridge to Bhutan describes as one of his favorite places to hike. The immense valley is home to black-necked cranes that winter here. The large birdsRead more

Body and Soul

Sheila and I are giggling like school girls when we walk past a souvenir shop called Phallus Handicrafts — the exterior walls covered with phallic drawings. I am sure we aren’t the only ones who react that way. I was recently listening to an interview with actor Jason Segel about shooting a nude scene inRead more

The Bridge to Bhutan

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We have made it to the mythical land of the Thunder Dragon and all I can do is sleep. Granted, it’s been a long journey to get here, but the least we can do is appreciate our surroundings on this very auspicious national holiday, which marks the death of Zhabrung, who came from Tibet inRead more

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