My first solo trip with 49 strangers.
I was always curious to know one thing about Bhutan, What different does the country do to be the happiness kingdom?What makes the people so calm and happy? Being an ardent follower of Buddhism and having done the vipassana course, I was keen on doing my first international solo trip to the happiness country- Bhutan.
My parents had their reservation about this trip, as they thought, I am wanting to do this trip because of my involvement in Buddhism and Vipassana. Little did they know, that I was inspired to go to Bhutan when I heard and read a lot of women doing the Bhutan trip and returning a more confident, comfortable and of course happy.
Before entering Bhutan, I remember the tour operator asking me, are you sure you want to want go ahead with this. There are 48 men and just one more woman along with you on this trip. That was the turning point.I was surprised myself, but I decided to go ahead with my decision anyway. It was my chance to be fearless and comfortable in my own company and I was ready to give up on it just yet.
Bhutan was everything I imagined it to be. Free flowing, serene and joyful. What I loved the most about Bhutan was its progressive thinking. How it believes that – the woman of the house should be strong for the society to be strong. I remember going to a Bhutan market to see majorly women along with their kids, running their business.
It was heart-warming to see, new moms breastfeeding their little ones. It looked so normal, while it is normal and should be, but the level of acceptance and modern thinking in Bhutan is class apart. What I admired the most about Bhutan is, even after accepting modern ways of life, it did not forget it roots. It is, even today, one of the most traditionally and culturally rich places in the world.
Coming to being one of the two women on a trip of 50 people, the rest being men. Not even for a single minute did I feel judged or conscious. The men who were with us, were extremely caring and generous. I have never felt this seen and looked after apart from my family. The other woman on the trip and I just did not get to bond enough. But the point being, I did not feel apprehensive at all. That was the whole point, right? To be so comfortable in your own skin, nothing else matters.
This was an experience in itself. To be surrounded by strangers, in your very first international trip and yet, feeling so empowered in your own company. I felt comfortable with a tinge of a ‘I don’t care what people think attitude’ in this mystical land of Bhutan.
I was amazed to see the people of Bhutan being so simple and good and pure, as if the devil in the world doesn’t exist anywhere near Bhutan. My experience in Bhutan is not just about the places we visited, what I ate and what I shopped. It was how I felt, what changed in me and how happy I felt in the entirety. I felt so full of myself, I realized, I can conquer the world with just one thing I learned here in Bhutan –
Be good, do good. It always comes back.
Story credit to : Neela Mendu