Bikes, Buddhas and Bangles

When we were presented with the idea to ride bikes in the Mustang region of Nepal, it felt bold, intimidating and demanding of a kind of bravery.  Every part of us said "yes!"  There was no question that it would be a "trip of a lifetime." 

The how's, what's, where's and why's came racing in immediately, but despite their very realistic concerns and arguments against the trip, we knew that, of course, we were going.

New food, new sounds, new language, new culture. 

There was too much to miss, too much "what if," and when possible, the ability to say YES is more compelling than saying no. The desire to explore and move through space, the curiosity to see a new place, and the opportunity to dive deep into a history we had to be in to grasp.  OK!

Fast forward a number of months and we were on top of one of our first descents.  A loosely directional goat path heading down a steep field of fist sized rocks.  Another opportunity for bravery.  

In an instant, it was made clear that it was bold to fly around the world to ride bikes on some very challenging terrain in an exceptionally remote and hard to get to place.  

Two words that feel appropriate for ABD Culture.  Brave and Bold.  

We rode past goat-herders that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere before we dropped into the next valley to find that their village sat there, rarely visited.

They were curious about us, and we were privileged to be there.

We toured ancient monasteries and drank tea brewed for us by monks.

Most of the monasteries had a "no camera" rule to protect against looters and monastery raiders.  There are irreplaceable items and paintings that tell stories from a depth of history hard to comprehend.  Because of that rule, Alix carried her sketchbook, which they were fine with.  She used it to remember certain motifs and ideas, shapes and stories.  Things that danced with her design sense and appealed to her curiosity.  We were left with some literal, but mostly very abstract and personal interpretations of concepts we barely understood.  


These new designs are inspired by that trip.  A deep dive into the terrain of Himalaya, where we breathed in the air, dust and spices; scraped our bodies on the rocks, sand and cactus, and kinked our necks to peer up at the massive peaks surrounding us.  

The experience can hardly be summed up in a few paragraphs, but it begins to tell a story.  Something that we look forward to building on.

written by Hans von Briesen

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