Thursday, December 15

Walking the Gobi

Walking the Gobi: A 1,600 Mile-trek Across a Desert of Hope and DespairWalking the Gobi: A 1,600 Mile-trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair by Helen Thayer

So far I am trying to figure out why anyone would want to walk through a desert.  Barren.  Void.  Empty.  Sandy.  So far I am enjoying the book but as a tourist and a walker I just don't think I would ever make this a life goal as the author has.  I shall keep reading to open my eyes to her perspective.

"The absence of outside distractions caused us to immerse ourselves fully in our environment, which meant that we were ready to respond instantly to any emergency that might rise.  Rather than reading books at night, we used the time to sleep." p. 116

Now that I have read the book I can say that I still don't want to walk to through any desert but I do respect Thayer and her partner Bill as this was an amazing book to read.  The physical challenges, the mind games the desert plays on them, the hospitality of the Mongolians, the craziness of the Chinese border patrol, the idea that one keeps walking and walking and walking even when one's mouth is full of sandy grit.  Incredible story from amazing people!

A poem Thayer left behind in a desert in the centre of a cairn:

Although the harshness of the desert sometimes climbs beyond human endurance, a deep feeling of tranquility floods our senses as we allow ourselves to become part of the earth, wind, sand and dust that surrounds us.  We can never conquer the elements; we can only experience them as a visitor, knowing that after we have passed, the desert will continue its ways both gentle and violent long after we are gone.  It takes time to understand the special freedom that comes when we join hands with Mother Nature and follow her lead.  The increasing weariness and outward struggle is made easier when we are at peace with our surroundings and at one with our Creator.  (p. 179)

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