For our Wandering Wednesday guest posts we ask a fellow travel blogger to highlight one place (city or entire country) that has been one of the most memorable for them. It can be a fond type of memorable, or “my hair caught on fire, I contracted rabies, and my luggage was stolen”- type of memorable. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re taking it all.
For today’s Wandering Wednesday, we’re featuring our good friend Brock from Backpack With Brock. Brock spent 2010 on a one-year, backpacking adventure around the globe that took him to 36 countries on 6 different continents – video blogging the entire way. He now runs his own company as an Adventure Coach, helping prospective travellers create their own trip of a lifetime.
Where to find Brock:
First things first, Why do you travel?
Simple: to learn. In my one year around the world trip I possibly learned more about culture, history and myself then every other year of my life put together. Not to mention it improved many of my essential life skills like confidence, perseverance, budgeting, organization and empathy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the adventure, the food and the people you meet but at the core of it all I love how much traveling teaches me.
What brought you to Tibet?
I wanted to get to Tibet after attending a Tibetan Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. The film I saw sparked a curiosity for the people and history of the ‘Rooftop of the World.’
What was your most memorable experience (good or bad) from your time in Tibet?
Tibet provided me so many beautiful and moving memories. My most vivid memory though is of speaking with a Tibetan in their shop in Lhasa. Tibetans are hands down the most peaceful, gentle, compassionate people I have met in the world. Seriously though, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. I left the shop with a warm, positive feeling and as I stepped out onto the street, the first thing I saw was four Chinese military guards with AK-47s standing on the street corner behind barbed wire. After all my research and studying of the situation in Tibet it was in that moment that it all made sense: I was witnessing a cultural genocide. Seeing the Chinese oppression of the Tibetans is something I will never forget.
Any advice for travelers headed to Tibet?
1. Likely the most important aspect of planning a trip to Tibet is selecting the right tour operator. Due to Chinese restrictions, travellers to most parts of Tibet must obtain a permit and be accompanied by a licensed guide. For the most authentic tour with an accurate history, aim to go with a company that is Tibetan owned and operated. Personally I would recommend SnowLion Tours. They took me through Tibet and I have absolutely no complaints about the experience they provided me. Tell them Backpack With Brock sent you.
2. Take the two day train from Beijing to help you slowly adjust to the altitude. Then go overland from Lhasa to the border of Nepal stopping at Namtso Lake and Mt Everest Base Camp along the way. It was easily the best 10 consecutive days of my own RTW trip.
3. Do not plan to visit around March as this is the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising. The borders are often closed to tourists.
How did your experiences in Tibet change you as a person and how you feel about travel?
I would say my experience in Tibet helped me understand the importance of getting to know the locals of the place you are visiting and, supporting local guides and businesses. Learning from them about their way of life provides you the foundation for understanding everything from their countries culture to it’s history. I also left with so much more personal peace and love for the world.
Okay, last question. Where are you headed next and why?
For the time being, I am staying relatively put in Toronto, my favourite city in the world as I build and grow my Adventure Coaching business. Looking into the future however, I am planning to get back to Kenya for a few months to develop some sustainable eco-tourism ideas I have.
Do you or someone you know have a memorable experience from your travels? Want to be featured on one of our Wandering Wednesday posts? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org