Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hidden Identity

Tomorrow I leave Bangkok before the sun comes up, to start the serious part of the trip, trekking in Bhutan at altitude. One interesting aspect for me the first time I did this sort of trip two years ago was that I was way out of my league, physically just about capable of keeping up, but with no camping or outdoor skills, and so, as Blanche duBois so effectively put it, I had to depend of the kindness of others. I shared a tent with a guy from Alaska, a city dweller, who just about saved me from death and destruction at every turn, and he did it with kindness and courtesy. Others in the group also pitched in, helping me with all the skills that I never had learned before.

Part of this process was that I was forced to become the non New Yorker. We lived in a very limited world in Gotham City, and frankly I'm very good at it. We know what we need to know, and don't mind telling others that we're good at it, at living in the city. But out on the trail and in the wilderness, I have to become much more humble and ask people for help. Last time I had a daypack right out of Gilmore Girls. Now I have a real daypack, I just don't know how to use it correctly, how to get strapped in. I have new gaiters that I'm not sure if I can get on, and then there's just about everything else that I've forgotten since I did it in 2005. I want desperately to think that this is just like riding a bike, you remember as you do it, but my greatest fears are that once again I'll be the know nothing guy.

I'm always the one approaching the knot of tourists huddled over the map, asking if they need help. And I'm hoping that what goes around comes around, that the good karma that I try to share when I help those poor souls from Europe and Asia will come back to me when I look to others. Think positive thoughts just like you did for Tinkerbelle years ago when you first saw Peter Pan. I'll need all the help I can get.

This is Tuesday afternoon, and I go to Bhutan at 5AM tomorrow, and am out on the trail Friday morning, at which point I'll truly be out of contact until the following week.

Earworm-Who Are You by the Who, Only Living Boy in New York by Simon and Garfinkle

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