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We like to think of Peterman’s Eye as an old fashioned interactive community newspaper (if there is such a thing) focused on travel and curiosities. Talk with us about today’s post. Tell us about the places you’ve been. Or take a trip using J. Peterman’s exclusive travel services (coming soon). Read more...

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In 1967, Francis Chichester did what nobody else had done.

He did it at age 65.

It took him 226 days to do it; he sailed 29,600 actual miles; he did it on a modest sailboat called the Gypsy Moth IV. 

Even built the boat he did it on.

At the end of the voyage, with millions watching on television, a reporter asked him, "Why do you do it?"

He paused; he wasn't an especially eloquent man.

His answer was simple, not especially quotable, but wonderful nonetheless:

"Because it intensifies life."

He did something that not one of history's famous and "daring" adventurers could do.

He did it alone.

For that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for becoming the first person to sail single-handed around the world and the fastest circumnavigator by the clipper ship route between Europe and the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

This was no piece of cake. 

Many ships and sailors were lost in impossible weather along the route, particularly at Cape Horn, which the clippers had to round on their return to Europe.

But somehow, Chichester persevered.

When asked about his scariest day, he said, "When his gin had run out."

I recently read with pleasure there are plans to preserve Gipsy Moth IV, as a working national maritime monument.  

Most of us will not do (I'm out of the picture) anything near what Chichester did, but we all have our ways to "intensify" things.

Sedentary activities are perfectly fine.

Culinary experiences work as well.

J. Peterman


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55 Members’ Opinions
August 16, 2011 12:27 AM
48481 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 idahoproducer said...

I lived in Monterey, California as a young person and graduated from high school at Pacific Grove.
My dad had been a sailor and I learned to sail on a small 8 foot sailing pram called an El Toro. I graduated to a 28 ft. Herschoff wooden sailboat and traded that for a Santana 22 ft. fiberglass faster boat. (should have kept the Herschoff)
After two years of college I talked my dad into letting me sell the Santana and got a Cal 40, another fiberglass boat.
For some reason which escapes me now, I made the decision to just leave the Monterey harbor and go to Hawaii. My sailboat had self steering and roller reefing so I knew I could solo my way there. I had taken celestial navigation and knew how to use a sextant. I also knew my father would kill me but just had to go.
I, over the course of two weeks, got the food on board and had a storm sail made, just in case.
At midnight on a full moon, I slipped out of the harbor and headed down towards Moro bay.
Won't bore you with all the details but did get to Hawaii. Just took longer than I had planned as I got caught in a storm and wasn't able to take my mainsail down fast enough and broke the aluminum mast. Had to jerry rig it and was so exhausted when I got to Hawaii.
My father was waiting and took my boat away and never let me sail it again. I really lost my love of sailing after the 44 days at sea. To this day I don't know any other reason I did that other than I had read Chichester's book and Dana's Two Years Before the Mast and got inspired. I can assure you Mr. P., that won't happen again!

August 16, 2011 12:33 AM
48481 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 idahoproducer said...

Forgot the reason I began to post this. The news of what I had done got round the sailing clubs and the cruisers all knew. When Chichester came to Monterey, he got hold of my dad and I and I got to meet him. When he asked me why I left without telling anyone I remember being scared with my father standing there and glaring at me. I meekly said, "I was just stupid." What I wanted to say was, "I needed to do something on my own and get away from my father." My dad took him out to dinner and I was not included.

August 16, 2011 1:22 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 lotlot said...

Yesterday’s topic: Those who would go on strike.

Today’s topic: Those who would strike out on their own.

And why would Francis Chichester do that?

“Because it intensifies life.”

Inspiration for us all.

He was honest about it, too. What scared him? Running out of gin.

Scare me.

I know a man who was bedridden.

Happened to him a few years ago after a lifetime of what some would consider adventuresome activity.

Looked like he would never get out of that bed.

Then he had a thought:

If he could figure a way to get out of that bed, at least he could sit in a wheelchair.

He – with the help of some others – devised a way. He slipped down a board and into the wheelchair. Difficult, but he did it.

It felt good just to sit in the bedroom.

Later, he wheeled out of the door and sat for a while on the front porch.

That felt good, too.

As he built up strength in his arms, he progressed to the point of rolling himself out to the front sidewalk.

Then a short distance down the sidewalk.

Eventually, he went to the end of the block.

He met neighbors. Met their dogs.

Began to notice what he had not noticed in a good while – birds, trees, flowers.

Some street improvements were being made, so he rolled a little farther down the street to watch the work being done.

He got acquainted with some of the workers.

Interesting people, those workers.

Unlike Francis Chichester, he hasn’t gone around the world alone.

Or, hasn’t he?

Most days, he maneuvers himself down the board and into the wheelchair and out the door and down the sidewalk as far as he has arm strength to go.

Away from that which had confined him.

And into a rediscovered world.

A world he knew was out there but a world he hadn’t been able to reach for ‘o such a long, long time.

Surely for him – with each push of the wheels – he intensifies life, sets sail into a larger world.

Surely for him – if there are any fears – they are not discernible.

I speak to him each Friday and with each inspiring conversation I hear abundant evidence that he is expanding his world. Just now, he mentions that he is exploring the possibility of getting a motorized scooter.

In the mind’s eye, I envision the way that will increasingly open up his world, the way that will intensify his life.

Who knows, maybe in time he will cross the street and go into other parts of his neighborhood.

Farther and farther away from the bed that encumbered him.


Away, to sail anew.

And into an even more rediscovered, intensifying world.

And surely with any fears discarded in the calming oceans of promising possibilities.

August 16, 2011 3:02 AM
8251 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Kentucky Curmudgeon said...

How do I follow the previous post's...? By asking of course...

August 16, 2011 3:40 AM
8251 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Kentucky Curmudgeon said...

Just got back from taking 'The A Train' with Glen Miller...a fine journey if it was only five minutes. Now I can retire for the day and sleep like a log...

August 16, 2011 5:36 AM
Myself 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Spring Fragrance said...

Absolutely love your story lotlot 1.22!
 I think some wise person in this village told me middle age starts at 65 :)My dad retired at 55, went to art school and then backpacked around Europe with his art friends visiting all the museums. IdahoP, that was very brave of you! I think the problem with these "challenges" is when it involves a very young person. I remember when 16 year old Aussie schoolgirl Jessica Watson set out to sail around the world, there were alot of concerns when she ran into trouble. She eventually did complete it in May 2010, by then firing alot younger children to copy her. I think there is some narcissism involved in some of them/the parents. The maddest thing I probably did was climbing Mt Kinabalu, SE Asia's highest mountain in Sabah (Borneo) when I was 3 months pregnant. Its about 13, 450 ft . I hadn't planned on getting pregnant and the trip was already planned with another girl

August 16, 2011 6:12 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Awww~ Dear to my heart! My son, even when he could read for himself still liked me to tuck him up in bed and read aloud to him. A great pleasure for me as well as him. One of the memorable books, a chapter per night was the story of Gypsy Moth and Francis Chichester's adventures. Not a literary masterpiece, but a thrilling tale for a young boy. We put a map of the world on the wall and marked his progress every night. In his not-so-spare time, he is part owner and the Navigator of a serious yacht. Me, I sometimes amuse visiting kids by making origami boats and floating them in my garden pond. I don't do physical adventures. Taking the trash to the garbage wheelie-bins is quite enough.

more on the honor roll
August 16, 2011 7:55 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Julia Masi said...

Since my job often takes me out of my comfort zone, I do physical adventures either.  Last week I had a volunteer who moved to NYC from the southwest.  She is well traveled and has an interesting job that involves travel.  She told the kids that her advice to people on the road is "travel the world or at least spend some time in New York City."  Since we have every culture and language, sort of like the grittier version of Disney's Ebcot, I don't embark on travel adventures too often.   

August 16, 2011 8:02 AM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

He went to Paris lookin for answers to questions that bothered him so.

IP-you found the greatest friend you'll ever

ll-as Michael Franks would was there all along on the inside. Each soul has its song.

August 16, 2011 8:38 AM
Atticus_1 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Bert said...

Good morning, Spring Fragrance, Hazel, Julia! I remember clearly how fondly & admiringly my parents described the courage and elan of Charles Lindberg, flying solo to Paris from the United States. It was a boost to a country desperate for heroes in tough times. I wish we had more contemporary men & women willing to risk it all to go for the brass ring. National service would be the extra ingredient in the equation, since government service (not counting military service) has such a tarnished reputation, in large part thanks to the narcissistic & selfish individuals who now seek the spotlight. There was a time when government service was not only honorable but expected of those positioned to make the commitment, usually at great personal expense. The founding fathers never had nor expected paychecks or perks for drafting America's Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. When we don't promote an understanding of our history, we foster the creation of antagonistic partisan individuals, who are out of step with the best interests of ordinary people. Real sacrifices are ahead of us, where are the "real" leaders? A rhetorical question, but a necessary one.....

August 16, 2011 8:47 AM
Atticus_1 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Bert said...

My parents spoke with great admiration of Charles Lindberg, who flew from America to Paris solo, right when the country was desperate for hope, for good news, for heroes & heroism. Perhaps we need a new generation of men & women who reach for the brass ring, and who remind us that we are capable of virtually whatever we have the resolve to accomplish. Tough times will be with us for the foreseeable future, regardless of who wins the next presidential election. It seems that, since we are all in the lifeboat together, perhaps we should seek nonpartisan unselfish goals, and start syncronized rowing......

August 16, 2011 8:56 AM
28561 First-com lindamarie said...

lotlot - wow! "Courage does not always roar..." Bravery and initiative have many faces.

August 16, 2011 9:06 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Julia Masi said...

Bert= You're right.  People need to be more invested in building up the USA.  Public service is important and those willing to take the time to defend the country or volunteer to be ambassadors or mediators are a special type of hero. 

August 16, 2011 9:33 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...

The thing that makes most heroes is that they didn't set out to be a hero.  They just stepped up and did the job.  As John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." That's what makes heroes of the most unlikely.   Heroes leave their comfort zone not to prove to the world, but to prove to themself and to be able to live with their conscience.  

August 16, 2011 9:34 AM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

I think of the courage it took for our ancestors to come to the "New World".  Even though the old one was unbearable, to brave that kind of travel and take a chance such as that must have been incredible.  Now, I'd like to be able to speak to at least one of them about this tavel, why exactly they undertook it and what their hope were when they got here.  I know about the "streets paved in gold", though what they found was a lot less, but how was it to leave family and everything familiar? How to cope with the bitter disappointment that met them?  Even their names were taken by an official and changed to something more, well, let's say, easier, to pronounce or in some cases, just whim.  Frightened, not knowing the language, feeling there was no one to turn to for help.  I'm so sorry I didn't ask about this in my selfish youth. 
And yet, we, my brother and I, were raised with fear of the unknown; doubtless a way to keep us safe without too much effort, I know, but hard to overcome at this age. 
The big leaps, the ones that aren't publicized, are those that people take every day.  The shy person who finally gets their nerve up to speak, putting oneself out here in this public forum....not herculean tasks, granted, but terribly difficult for some.

August 16, 2011 9:38 AM
Beth_1209 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 EADutton said...

Courage is mostly the byproduct of necessity.  Courage, more often than not, goes unnoticed and unrewarded.   No grandstanding,  No fanfare.  No knighthood.  No Medal of Honor.  No one watching....only God.  That is true courage!

August 16, 2011 10:34 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

CAROL beautifully put.

August 16, 2011 11:04 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Mooseloop said...

Sir Francis did it his way, as IdahoP. seems to have done....each of us needs to have that feeling at some time....Here's Sinatra's tribute to "Doing It Your Way."...
It could be taking a job you were advised not to take, moving to a place unknown, or marryng someone your parents hated. If you have one or a few memories of "Doing it Your way..." then you have  sense of self respect. I have a few of those memories and am still proud of those decisions....I bet we all have a few if we choose to ID them.

August 16, 2011 11:08 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Mooseloop said...

While in the Sinatra vein...."Around the World..." to stay in today's theme:
Somehow, his voice soothes,  reminisces, and appeals to the youth I was....

August 16, 2011 11:24 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

or being the one who tastes the milk to see if its good....sorry! CMU couldn't help it.  I see many small acts of heroism all the time but have no 5 miles barefoot in the snow to save the broken leg on the misdirected robin red breast story to share EXCEPT I had a semi famous Great Uncle named Ed Musick. 
He was the Chief Pilot at Pan American World airlines and flew the China Clipper across the Pacific Ocean pioneering mail routes.  Ultimately he flew over 200 million miles over oceans and then he was lost dumping fuel over Pago Pago (do we all know it is pronounced 'Pango Pango"?).  In 1939 I believe, so even as advanced in years as I am I did not know Uncle Ed.  But his legend was reverred in the family and he appeared on a postage stamp a decade or so back. 
In New Zealand there is a place called Musick Point named after him.
All bragging aside, while we should surely honor our flamboyant heroes, let us not neglect the every day heroes.  People step out of their comfort zones all the time and I think we have lost the habit of positive reinforcement .  Thank you Villagers for the pieces of your brains and hearts that you share with the rest of us--and thank you Mr. P. for yet again another salmagundian topic.  Haven't been able to swing it culinarily although I do get a number of Food 911 calls.  (Just add caviar)

August 16, 2011 12:05 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Julia Masi said...

Carol- Nice post.  True heroes are egoless. 

August 16, 2011 12:08 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Julia Masi said...

It still takes courage to come to the "New World".  I work with immigrants and some of the ways they left there homeland is mindboggling.  People often risk their lives to come here.

August 16, 2011 12:27 PM
5981 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Rhyselle said...

I spent yesterday home sick in bed, and being miserable and bored out of my mind.  So, I had the kids move the scanner/printer into my bedroom.  I hooked up my netbook to it, and started going through my mother's photo albums to digitally preserve the pictures she'd taken and been given over the years.

As I looked at photos I'd never seen before, of her and her siblings (she was one of 14 kids) growing up during the latter years of the Great Depression, during WWII and the more prosperous years after the war, it occurred to me that while on the surface, her life looked like any other young girl's was expected to be in the 40s and 50s, she lived with intensity.
She learned how to paint, made handicrafts to decorate our home, did beautiful needlework, and cooked the best, most flavorsome meals I've ever enjoyed, spicing them with with love.  She was the first person I ever heard of who decorated the house for Easter and Independence Day as lavishly as she decorated for Christmas.  She read, and wrote (although she never shared that with anyone else to my knowledge), taught herself how to decorate birthday and wedding cakes, learned how to panel a room and install electrical outlets, and do plumbing repairs by herself after she and my father split up when I was 13.  By the time she died at age 59, she had gone from being teased as a child for having a "black thumb" to creating a gorgeous 2-acre yard filled with lovely perennial and annual beds, irises and roses.
Until the last years of her life, her personal travels were the occasional trip to the seashore with her parents and siblings, and then after she married, it was the back and forth between our home in Ohio and Grandma's house in Maryland.  But she was always open to new experiences, and she's the reason that, for a good chunk of my childhood, I was the despair of the librarian at school and at the public library because I kept asking for travel books on places I would likely never see with my own eyes that they deemed "too old" for me.  She encouraged me to see the people of different lands as not exotic strangers, but as potential friends; which years later made my settling in to life in London, and to life in Bahrain, much easier. 
She had always wanted to go see the Swiss Alps, and to go to Alaska to see the glaciers and the Skagway stairs that the Klondike gold miners took to follow their own dreams.  She never did get to Europe, even when I lived there; but after my stepfather died, she did finally pursue that trip to Alaska.  I haven't yet had the chance to read the journal she kept during that trip, but one day I'll read it and, hopefully, discover more about what the fulfillment of that dream meant to her.
I really, really miss her.

August 16, 2011 12:57 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

Rhyselle- That is so sweet. Stopped off for lunch at Old Town Spaghetti in Jackson, a real **** little jewel in Jackson, TN and I was reminded of fate, karma, serendipity and all that mystical stuff for being sick a "bad" thing led you to the pics a "good" thing and the topic inspired you to share a "great" thing. I am a spiritual man because of "such" things.

August 16, 2011 1:09 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

Not much time… quick scan. I f it has already been said that the real heroes are those who can stay positive when the sky is falling or they are being told that it is, then, good for whoever said that and for the stiff upper-lippers as well.

Just wondering: if a name that looks like Glue-sester is pronouced Gloster and one that looks like Lye-sester is pronounced Lester, what does Chicester sound like and why?

August 16, 2011 1:10 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Rusty said...

You hit the nail on the head, Carol.  The quiet hero is the true hero. 
Rhyselle, I have found that the missing of someone is a testimony to how much beauty they have brought into your life.
I grew up in the center of a love affair.  My parents eloped, kept the marriage a secret for almost a year till they had saved enough money to strike out on their own, and then told the families.  All this because my father's father had forbiden my father to see my mother.  She was the child of immigrents.  It was not until I was born five years later that my grandfather accepted the marriage.  Yes, to me, as Mooseloop mentioned, they had a lot of courtage.

August 16, 2011 1:56 PM
First-comHr-1 Lady J said...

My Mother will tell you I come from a long line of Gypsies. We are a motley family of Scotch-Irish with enough German thrown in to make sure haggis isn't on the menue, but every female seems to have the wandering bug wired into her thoughts.

My Grandmother was the second youngest of her family, born in 1904 on a farm in west Texas, she grew up chopping cotten next to her four brothers and two older sisters (the youngest sister, the Baby, didn' have to do such work). By the time the Great Depression was over she had three children and was on her third husband. My Mother's Father died when she was three in 1938, my Granmother supportrd her children by becoming a tailor and growing a vegetable garden to rival Eden. When the ship yards opened in Portland, Oregon, she and husband number three packed up the kids and her sewing machine and moved west. They ended up in Handord, Washington working on the Manhattan Project. Shortly after she turned fifty, husband number three had a stoke. She was lucky in one respect, he was a member of the Pipefitters Union that and Social Securiity kept them from starving as she nursed him until his passing eleven years latter. And then she was off. First the trips were just back to west Texas, then to the east coast to watch the leaves change just before she had a stroke that curtailed her adventures she visited Hawaii. She dreamed of coming to stay with me in Europe, but her Doctor wouldn't let her fly.

My Mother took her Mother's wandering gene and mutated it ten times over. First it was road trips with her girlfriends, then she branched out to cruises (she won't fly). She came to Europe too early for the birth of her third granddaughter, she was three day in the middle of the Atlantic headed home on the QEII instead. She has since done a world tour, with a second one being planned, sailed around South American through a hurricane to see the March of the Penguins and Antarctica.

I have been to Canada, Mexico, Africa, Europe, South and Central America, the Carribean, and forty-six of the fifty states. I have to admit that much of my travel has not been seeking an adventure but rather going where my Government sent me. Only a few times have I like my foremothers set off on my own. I'm young yet and expect grand adventures ahead.

The bug has been passed on, my daughter has been to Canada, Mexico ,Europe and across the USA.

I believe travel opens ourselves to the world. Like the gentleman intent on leaving his bed, as we explore the world around us we grow and often share our expanding world with others. I believe we intensify our lives by being open to all that is around us. My west Texan Grandmother expanded her world dramatically not only because of how long she lived (92 years) by with all the things she saw and did in those many years. My Mother is still expanding her world. I look at what the world offers my daughter and am excited. Carpe deim.

August 16, 2011 2:15 PM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

Chef Deb - "or tasting the milk to see if it's good" - that's what my youngest daughter's older sibs thought was the reason she was born.

August 16, 2011 2:40 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

I was a brave seven years old the first (and only) time I ran away from home.  I got as far as the far side of the back gate.  I sat there until dark.  I would have stayed longer if my father hadn't come looking for me.  Dark is good for a seven year old, right?

August 16, 2011 3:29 PM
48481 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 idahoproducer said...

I don't think of anyone who takes the initiative to do something for themselves as a hero. What I did was probably more a very selfish act and I would guess my dad would have something even more derogatory to say about my actions to sail to Hawaii. I think Chichester did it for himself too.
In my mind, the real heros, folks that should be Knighted, honored and treated with utmost respect is the father and mother that gives up any remote chance of doing things I got to do, and instead, brings a child into this world with the sole purpose of being good parents and raising their children to be happy, contributing adults. Heros are the teachers who do, with patience, what I couldn't even attempt in my best moments - teach and guide these children. The soldiers who ,rather than people like me - living their life in selfish pursuits, decides to try and protect the country, it's people and are willing to go to battle, (no matter how much I hate war, I do know for our way of living, it will take occasional wars), for our country.
I think we all know who the real heros are. I only wish those in power did and supported these real heros, at least as much as they support the corporations that benefit because these beings take the higher road and sacrifice the life they could have had.
The one thing I though about the most while I was out in the ocean with a broken mast was Miss Tepper, my english teacher in high school. She always had the best advice about staying calm and thinking through things. She died alone, in a small house, with no one attending her funeral but one person. I didn't know where she had gone to when she left Monterey but I did cry my eyes out when I found out she had passed. I still do when I think of her.

August 16, 2011 3:38 PM
1474 10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photoHr-1 comfortable1 said...

I've long been fascinated by the really high mountains. High school and college in Colorado initially fueled the interest, but a trip to the Tetons, Yellowstone and Banff/Lake Louise several summers ago really rekindled the love. Now I knew I had to see Mt. Everest with my own eyes, without an airplane window between me and her. Small detail that I was a 60 year old overweight Krispy Kreme loving coach potato who's major physical activity was bidding one spade at bridge or changing the channel on her remote control. I was also just rejoining the real world after having lost my husband of 28 years in an airplane crash a few years ago. In a nutshell, I was a total mess with a heavy heart.

After two years sitting of in my house, waiting to magically feel better about my personal tragedy (but secretly knowing full well that it would take me kicking my own butt), I finally took just a bit of control, lost 75 pounds (goodbye Krispy Kremes, hello Greek yogurt) and I reconnected with adventure -- I swam with dolphins in Acapulco, rode a camel in Morocco, petted llama at Machu Picchu and zip-lined in Belize.

Then came that trip to the Rockies. While in Banff, I happened to meet an tour group who were coincidentally staying at our hotel. A casual chat with one happy camper gave me the resolve to try a short, domestic US trip with them to see if I'd like their program style. But I never seem to do things the normal way. Instead, the resulting 17 day (!) program to Nepal (!) with a personal 11 day extension (!) in Nepal and to Bhutan seemed absolutely the right thing to do. Crazy.

I called, I booked, I paid. Then I crossed the do-or-die threshold by telling friends and family what I was going to do, so now I actually had to go through with it.

Two of my initial journal entries --
".....March 29 -- We are finally here! Beautiful weather, although very hazy. The mountains are all hiding. We're exhausted. We have no idea if its 3am or 3pm or if it's Tuesday or August......Impressions of Kathmandu so far - chaotic, welcoming, poor, friendly, noisy, aromatic with incenses, non-existent traffic lanes, cows in the street. Off to unpack and drink bottled water.

.....April 1 -- Exhausted, exhilarated, everything hurts...but a joyous heart at the personal accomplishment yesterday. It was our "shakedown" trek - 8 miles uphill from 4800' to 7000' in 90 degree heat and took from 11am to 430pm, including the 30 minutes break for lunchbox sandwiches. There were times I thought I was gonna die, but the pleasure at finishing was tremendous. Tomorrow we fly to 9000' and begin 5 days of trekking in Kagbeni.

......So far - abject poverty, an incomprehensibly difficult day to day existence, tons of garbage everywhere, dead (and living) rats, a very large military presence carrying very large guns, more small cars and motorcycles and trucks and honking than you can imagine, so much smog that you can't breathe and your eyes itch....but I have yet to meet any Nepali who wasn't gracious, gentle, kind, calm and smiling."

For 17 days I thoroughly enjoyed western Nepal with the most interesting and interested group of world travelers, ages 65 - 82, who climbed everything, ate everything and took part in everything to the hilt! We enjoyed informative instructors and guides, wonderfully cozy lodges, and absolutely delicious food.

When the group left to return home, I was suddenly on my climb up to where I could see Mt Everest, with my own eyes, without an airplane window between me and her. I woke up at 4am that first morning alone, grabbed my bag, and met up with my guide, Chitra. The domestic airport in KTM was swamped with all sorts of folks waiting on that infamous Lukla flight - serious summiters with serious gear, intrepid trekkers with heavy high topped mountain boots and lightweight walking poles, and me, in jeans and tennis shoes with my bogus North Face duffel bag. Geez.

The flight was much easier than I had expected, we had a cup of tea, and we were off. I cannot come up with the right words to explain my joy at being on THAT trail, the one that every south face summiter walks. It almost made me feel as one with them --- for about the first 20 minutes (which was all downhill!). Chitra and I fell into a fairly steady pace, chatting every now and then, me mostly constantly worrying about those dreaded steps, from the Hilary Bridge to Namche, that I'd have to face the next day. I kept my head down and kept worrying. I made it to Monju in seven hours, had some of the best chicken soup in the world and fell into bed, still worrying about what tomorrow would bring.

I woke up worried. As we trudged along toward the Hilary Bridge, I'd keep asking Chitra to describe the next part of the trail. "Is it uphill or flat?" "Oh, it's pretty flat, Jane", would be his reply, just as I saw a steep hill in front of me. There must be a big difference between his definition of flat and my definition of flat! And there was - if the trail starts and finishes at approximately the same altitude, the Nepali call it a flat trail. The fact that you climb a steep 1,000' and then descend a steep 1,500' and then climb another impossible 500' (not my American definition of flat) has absolutely no bearing!

We finally reached the Hillary Bridge and Chitra helped me hang a Prayer Flag along this incredible span. I loved the fact that it was really high up in the mountains, high above the river and that the tradition is that prayer flags are never taken down. This was the best place in the world to say Rest In Peace to Bob - he'll always be flying high!

We finally began those infamous steps. This part of the trail's reputation is well earned. I'd climb 40 paces and stop, climb 25 steps and sit, climb 10 paces and wonder how in the world I'd ever make it to Namche. Chitra was more than patient and more than encouraging. He'd quietly stop ahead of me, turn around to see me struggling, and would, in the most uplifiting tone imaginable, say "You can do it, Jane."

The final hours of this part of the trail stretched on, but thanks to Chitra's constant encouragement, my mood began to lift. Even though the trail continued up, up, always up, there were portions that were indeed (American) flat, and some parts, albeit very short parts, were even downhill. At this point in the climb, I was so tired, so exhausted, so consumed by the task of climbing, but it dawned on me that I didn't even have the energy to worry about the what if's or tomorrows any more - all I could do was be actively engaged in what I was doing that very minute. I was actually living in the now! What an emotional change of direction! With Chitra's steady, quiet assistance, those five intense hours on the trail that day served to wonderfully, positively and permanently change me. Even after being home for many weeks, I'm different, my mood and outlook have been raised forever!

Never give up; no matter what is going on around you, never give up (The Dalai Lama) - I met my personal goal of reaching Namche Bazaar, I spoke with many, surprisingly humble, Everest summiters, I enjoyed the most amazingly warm camaraderie of other similarly minding nature lovers who were just as appreciative as I was of the incredible personal sacrifice it takes to reach 29,000', I saw Mt. Everest with my own eyes, without an airplane window between me and her, and I absolutely loved every minute of the overwhelming emotion, incredible exhaustion and life-altering personal change that this adventure brought me.

Go! Try! Never give up! You can do it!

August 16, 2011 3:58 PM
48481 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 idahoproducer said...

comfortable 1, Awesome account. Thank you!

August 16, 2011 4:13 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

Comfy Uno-Great story- as a hillbilly Sherpa from the foothills of the Great Smokies I defer to the Cherokee “An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, ‘A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, guilt, resentment, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, inferiority, pride, lies, and superiority. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on within you and every other person too.’ May the best wolf win!

August 16, 2011 4:17 PM
1474 10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photoHr-1 comfortable1 said...

Thanks for the kind words, Idaho and Tommy!  'preciate cha (as they say here in the South)!

August 16, 2011 4:24 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

Tommy ~ Someone told a similar story (I thought I read it here)...when the grandchild asked the elder which wolf would win, he replied...the one that you feed the most.

August 16, 2011 4:36 PM
Bisa-avatar 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 JaxZ said...

What a fantastic day for family stories! I'm honored to hear them and pray they'll be written down so they'll live on. We will always need them.

Paolos, Tommy, I've also heard that ending; "The one you feed the most".

I've never met a hero who considered themselves any such thing.

August 16, 2011 4:38 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

P- proves 2 things- it's a great tale and I have no original material.

August 16, 2011 4:47 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Each and every step i take is a challenge and adventure for me. I am so grateful for each one.

August 16, 2011 4:47 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...


August 16, 2011 4:50 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...

comfortable1--Wow!!  Just wow!!

August 16, 2011 4:52 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 George Hall said...

I often wonder what the common thread that brought this group together is. Surely its more than Peterman's Catalog not that's a bad beginning. I just know it is the best visit inside the minds of some really smart, thinking, gentle people...the best I've ever seen in one place. I feel indebted to you all for your sharing. 

August 16, 2011 4:57 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

I'm calling a 'wild cat' strike so i ain't go nuttin' else to say 'till all of my demands have been met.....I've got a list somewhere...on the back of a napkin.....i hope i didn't throw it away....well anyroads; mums the word. Not a peep out of me 'till this is all resolved. Yep, I've zipped it up, just call me the quite man.

Now where's that darn list....... I'll know it when i see it 'cos of all the red sauce on it.

Never mind........

August 16, 2011 5:02 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

comfortable one~ Thanks, your tale lifted my spirits.

August 16, 2011 5:54 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

Tommy ~ Some are born to feed the wolf, others are
born to be the wolf...I think.

August 16, 2011 6:07 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Comfortable one..... You got 'true grit and lots of heart. Be well.

August 16, 2011 6:37 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...

Rusty--I'm sorry I missed your kudos and comments earlier in a quick scan...  thanks and what a wonderful gift your parents passed on to you...tenacity to stay true to your heart.

August 16, 2011 7:00 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Duvet time in Wales. Nos Da lovely people.

August 16, 2011 7:18 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

RHYSELLE........................that was just d*mn beautiful and heartbreaking; I don't know why, but it touched something inside me. Crying like some baby....................maybe I need to finish my evening tea & go water my parched trees.........................anyway, thank you.....................

August 16, 2011 8:30 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Julia Masi said...

Ryshelle- I love what you wrote about your moter.  Please print it out and save somewhere for your chikdren and future  grandchildren. 

August 16, 2011 8:49 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

P- I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's. Then I realized I was looking in a mirror. Awwwwoooo!

August 16, 2011 8:54 PM
48481 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 idahoproducer said...

A few have asked me in messages how my husband's reunion went. Hopefully, none will be offended that I respond here. I did go with Mike and decided to make a small mini documentary of it. It was...rather...different. It began on Friday night with a signing in at the local Elks club. No one was there so we had to wait in the 95 degree heat and finally one person showed up. It was the son of the person that was supposed to show up. I guess what I thought would be a small town high school reunion turned out to be even smaller and revealed a lot of "secrets" about the students. (I guess it's easier to speak of them if they aren't there)
Will post a link to the mini doc when I am finished editing it tomorrow or next day. Will try to make it discreet and amusing. Love to the whole village. Have a (has been) star coming over tonight for a recording session. A big folk singer from the past who I fear may want the star treatment we aren't equipped to provide. Always a glitch with the glamour!

August 16, 2011 9:04 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

IP- I sip a couple of Longboard Lagers under the stars in perfect weather in the Southland at a sidewalk cafe, the revealing of a good story soothes the Faulkner in me. After yesterday a folk singer sighting would be only fitting.

August 16, 2011 9:18 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Carol said...

Idahop--looking forward to the mini-doc

August 16, 2011 9:40 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

This is not typical behavio...
Texas Teen 'Vampire' Bites Stranger, Says
He 'Needed to Feed'


August 16, 2011 9:43 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

behavio is french or italian or transylvanian for awwwwoooo.

Honor Roll

Awww~ Dear to my heart! My son, even when he could read for himself still liked me to tuck him up...

-hazel leese

Aug. 16, 2011 6:12 AM

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