Andrew Stranovsky Photography | A Kingdom of Happiness
Copper Mountain, ColoradoCopper Mountain, Colorado

A Kingdom of Happiness

November 05, 2016

Tiger's Nest MonastaryTiger's Nest MonastaryTaktsang Palphug Monastery, also known as the Tiger's Nest Monastary, is worth the hike up into the mountains.

Bhutanese MusiciansBhutanese MusiciansDancers and musicians stopped by the Khangkhu Resort for a practice session before the festival the next day.

Paro ValleyParo ValleyA view of Paro Valley in Bhutan

Where to begin...

I’ve been back home for a few weeks now, and I’m still somewhat in shock over what I was able to experience during my recent trip.  Aside from the the far-off location I was able to visit, sights I was able to see and photograph, and culture I was given a tour of, I am having difficulty trying to figure out how to tell people how special this trip was for me.  Any time I try to talk to someone about the trip, I just end up giving up because what’s the point….I don’t think I can ever convey in words or pictures how this trip was for me.

I love travel and I love to take pictures.  More so the act of traveling to get the pictures I would say.  I don’t know.  Maybe the travel photography experience?  Decided I would pick a destination I hadn’t been to yet and really focus on photography.

I’ve traveled alone to new places many times.  Traveled with friends and family to other places as well.  Why not try something different this time?  I scrolled through my list of photography website bookmarks that I frequent, and finally started clicking on the destination workshops links.  Tagging along with professional photographers and a group of strangers who share common interests in photography and travel (and hopefully food and sarcasm)?  I could do something like that, I told myself, despite my social retardation.

What better way to experience something like that than doing a tour in Bhutan?  For some reason as I was navigating through the various options and destinations, the place just caught my eye.  Knew nothing about it, or even where it was, but the one or two photos I saw of the temples looked like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and “the land of happiness” description sounded exactly the kind of destination I needed to visit at this point in my life.  Finally got up the nerve to send in my deposit payment, and from there it was just eager anticipation every day, waiting for more info on the tour itinerary and flight information.  I will admit, I was a little freaked out about the welcome kit...summer and winter clothing, headlamps, camera gear….not really overwhelming per se, but more so the fact that this list was telling me this trip was going to happen.

The only other thing I bought for myself for this trip was a set of field notes journals.  I figured I’d be traveling on a once in a lifetime trip, and I was determined to disconnect and not bring a laptop, so why not write down everything that came to mind during the trip.  I’m glad I did.  As I’m slowly going through pictures and writing up some of my experiences, I realize I’m doing it more to relive and remember the experience rather than to pass along an unfortunately redacted trip report due to poor writing.  But reliving the experience is definitely worth it as I’m stuck back in New Jersey at work, so I might as well try….

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