A Year Later

I never could have suspected that any one incident could have such a profound impact on me. I think above all that my Himalayan adventure has made me aware of the little things in life. I think about things as they happen; I think about the possible outcomes and repercussions. Sometimes I feel like perhaps I have sketchy karma. Not bad; just sketchy. I always seem to be close to danger or trouble, but I always slide through with just a few scratches—either physical or emotional! I possibly did something in a past life (or this life!) that was poor judgment but not malicious or harmful to others. So I am now atoning for those dubious acts.
I have categorized my recovery process in phases. The first phase was physical. Since I have always been strong and healthy, I thought that I would recover my strength and zeal instantaneously. I had conned myself into believing that I was fine. But I wasn’t. After a couple of weeks resting at home, I decided that it must be time to get some exercise. I hopped on the treadmill. About two minutes later, I hopped off. That’s when I knew that I hadn’t totally recovered physically.
Emotionally, I thought I was always fine. But small things started to bother me. My mind would often drift to Lhasa or Chengdu. I would think about the people I had met. Strangely, I missed them. I missed my yak porridge. I missed Datso and Carlton. I missed my Swiffer lady. That’s when I knew I needed to write. So I embarked on the book about my experience. It seemed cathartic for me, but I also wanted to make others aware of the possible perils of travel and the need for some kind of protection against what could happen. You don’t need to be climbing Everest for disaster to strike. You can simply be a normal tourist. I relived my story as I wrote it. It seemed to work. I needed to release all of those incredibly strange experiences that were trapped inside of me. Each day I felt a little better with the release of the information. But I still needed to share. My mission was to help just one other person. I wasn’t thinking on a grand scale: just one person!
I had completed the book and sent it to the editor just before my husband and I took off on our river cruise through Eastern Europe followed by Istanbul and central Turkey. I felt happy that I had finished; I had cleansed myself of all of the negativity that had plagued me. I deemed myself as having made a complete emotional recovery.
Our trip had been planned for some time…months before the severe ISIS threats and the mass exodus from Syria to Hungary and other countries. We arrived in Budapest at about the same time as the refugees. It was chaotic. Our tour bus could not take the planned routes in some areas due to the masses of people camped out on the roads, making passage difficult if not impossible. We made our way down the Danube. At each stop, we saw floods of refugees and heard many stories about them. There were pros and cons from the locals. Some wanted to accept and protect them and others wanted to turn them away. But luckily, we did not encounter any violence. Once we got to Turkey, the tenor changed a bit. Turkey was about to have an election and the people were nervous. While we were there, two suicide bombers killed 102 people in the capital. Luckily we were not that close, but no one was sure what might happen next. Many tourists were cutting their vacations short. We decided to stay since we only had a couple of days remaining. There is usually a lull after something major like that. Luckily, nothing more happened while we were there. But we were fully covered for not only medical evacuations but for security evacuations as well.
As time has gone on, it seems that the world has become more dangerous both at home and abroad. That will not stop me from travelling but I will always have security coverage. It seems like a costly investment to purchase something that may never be needed. But times are tenuous and for that off-chance that you might need it, it is well worth the peace of mind. After all, life is full of possibilities—both good and bad! It’s like buying a lottery ticket. You probably won’t win but you definitely won’t win if you don’t buy it.

2 thoughts on “A Year Later

  1. It is commonplace these days to invoke PTSD, with all of the implications of a psychiatric problem, for such unpleasant experiences. There is another side to the story, however. Danger, drama, the intensity of an experience, can also strengthen attachments and reminiscence.

    I was in NY shortly after 9/11 and for years afterword missed that sense of heightened awareness, melancholy and emotional response. I am reminded of a remark by the French writer and resistance fighter to the effect that with the end of the War he and his fellows re-entered the banality of ordinary life and the clarity of dangerous times. The journalist Chris Hedges wrote a memoir of his years as a war correspondent entitled War is the Event that Gives Life Meaning. Many combat soldiers reunite periodically to recall, perhaps to master, over and over, the risk, anxiety and attachments of their experience. In other words, it’s complicated.


Comments are closed.