Archive for Logistics

In the Land of the Thunder Dragon: A Glimpse of Bhutan

November 3, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

We've finally arrived. As we fly through the valleys and mountains on our descent into Paro, Bhutan it's clear we are in for the experience of a lifetime. The mountains, valleys, and rivers all come into view and seem to open their arms to our arrival. There is a significant sense of excitement and an emotional relevance that I've felt only a few times before in my life when I know that the journey ahead will give me an opportunity to get a glimpse of many things I haven't felt, seen, or ever experienced before.

The flight to Bhutan is easily one of the most magnificent flights anywhere. Almost immediately upon take-off you start getting views of snow-capped peaks almost level with the plane; Everest, Lhotse, the list goes on. As we descend into Bhutan through one of its many valleys surrounded by mountains a calm peace sets in. A significant change from the hectic pace and sounds of Kathmandu, Nepal. We are greeted gracefully into the Land of the Thunder Dragon. It's very clear after only a short time that the country and the people of Bhutan are special.

The first couple of days have been filled with meetings and preparation. We meet multiple times with our sponsor, The Bhutan Olympic Committee. They have been very gracious and supportive of our upcoming adventure. While meetings and preparation are our main focus before we fully start the expedition we've made one excursion into Paro to get a small initial glimpse of Bhutan. Paro is the entry point for all visitors flying into Bhutan and thus is a mixture of old and new. The new is the airport, the cell phone shops, the old is the dzongs, the monasteries, and the prayer wheels. The transition from old and new can be seen in the faces of the young and old.

Our journey is just beginning and we are realizing through our preparations and meetings that this is the first time anything of this type of magnitude has been undertaken in Bhutan. We are so gracious that we've been given this opportunity.

A couple more days of preparation and we take the next step, an unprecedented journey through the country of Bhutan. With the support of The Prince, His Royal Highness (HRH), who has taken great interest in our expedition, we begin our traverse of this great country called Bhutan.

When does the spark take hold of your heart?

October 31, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

There is a magic moment when the idea for an adventure project takes hold of you in a way that you begin to picture yourself in the dream. You begin to get your head around what it will take to make it happen and you fully commit your mind and heart and resources. For me, that moment is usually one specific instance when the idea shifts from out in the world and lodges itself deeply in my heart. I have always been curious when the commitment takes hold of other adventurers. As our team came together in Kathmandu and gathered each day for logistics meetings, I had the opportunity to ask them when the spark was ignited for each of them.

Listen in on the conversation.

This adventure became a priority for me, not only because of the incredible team, and the beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan, but because this adventure has a larger goal. The vision is to share the journey and to involve people in a conversation about the things that matter most: to the people of Bhutan, to us and to the world. Who wouldn’t want to tell this story?

– Candra Canning storyteller for Expedition Bhutan.

When does a project matter enough for you to get committed?

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Hungry and Foolish

October 8, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

Steve Jobs offered these final words of enlightenment at his commencement speech to the Stanford class of 2005—“Stay hungry and stay foolish”. Thanks for the poignant words to live (and die) by, Steve. And thanks for my gorgeous MacBook Air we’ll be using in remote Bhutan to upload satellite feeds of our journey. We’re on it.

Logistics are in place with our gracious hosts the Bhutan Olympic Committee, our 4-person Film Team is finalizing gear, TEDxThimphu is set for November 14, and we have a full contingent of guest Trekkers who will be joining us for “the inquiry” on the first leg of our journey through the northwest—including Emmy Award winning Imogen Heap. ‘The Lovely Hunger’ has been our driving force for this massive project—let the foolishness begin!

Both the Expedition Team and the Film Team will be heading out the last week in October. En route and via our 4 flight traveling extravaganza into Paro, Bhutan we’ll do a stop over in Kathmandu, Nepal for a few days. Hanging at a clubhouse sponsored by the American Alpine Club and run by The Mountain Fund—we’ll have just enough time to take in a bit of the excellent frenzy of that city and chill at the Kopan monastery, while letting all our gear catch up with us.

On November 1 in a once-a-day-weather-permitting, Druk Air flight we’ll head east along the southern edge of the Himalaya range before dropping into Bhutan—literally (it is a notorious landing). This passionate dream turned into 14 months of creation while my team of one grew to 10+ phenomenally talented people with a clear vision and driving inquiry. As Jobs can attest, being unrelentingly hungry gets results. Its refreshing to gather a bright crowd and head off to such a beautiful and remote part of the world. I couldn’t be more pleased with the possibilities of sharing our journey with you all.

Expedition Bhutan and our subsequent film is a marriage of high adventure and cultural inquiry. While the Bhutanese speakers at TEDxThimphu will be preparing and presenting on “What Matters”, we’ll take that inquiry into remote parts of Bhutan on a shared adventure with the geography and people of Bhutan. Shared with each other, with the camera, our 9 guest trekkers, and shared with you via satellite fed blog posts from the field.

In addition to last minute gear prep we are in the final stages of partnering with the companies that will be hosting our posts. We’ll get you their info prior to our departure so you can join us in Bhutan.

I’d like to toss in another thanks to James Fitzgerald, Candra Canning, Sonam Tshering and The Bhutan Olympic Committee, Yangki Tshering of Glimpses of Bhutan, Kinlei Wangchuk at Cafe Bhutan, and the hugely bright  and hungry collective of our Film and Expedition Teams. Big power comes in a small group with unrelenting tenacity and a passionate collective vision. You’ve all rocked it huge!

I’ll check back in a week with info on where we’ll be blogging while in Bhutan…

Stay tuned….


A Sprint to the….Start

September 13, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

There is a solid reason why no one has done an adventure like Expedition Bhutan. Because organizing it in total has been multi-dimensionally more arduous than the expedition itself will be! One of the reasons for the rigors in the planning process is highly admirable—the Bhutanese are very particular about how guests experience their country. One does not throw one’s backpack on, swoop into Bhutan on American Airlines and have your way with the geography at will. Each moment in Bhutan is scrutinized, planned, and overseen by the Bhutanese. This process helps keep the rif-raf out, while ensuring that each guest will have a memorable experience. For those of us to tend to like to ‘load and go’ this has been a unique process indeed.

So while we’ve continued to refine relations with the country, we’ve been moving rapidly through our own planning process right here in the US—as our departure is looming. The progress we’ve made as a collective team is nothing short of phenomenal. As a result we’ve generated an experience, we’ll be sharing with you all, that is deeply layered and that defines unique.

Our film team is in place (I’ll introduce them in total in another post), we have an almost full house of guests who will be joining us on the first leg of our journey—all intriguing and remarkable folks. We’re psyched to have Imogen Heap, who will be scoring music for our film,  joining us on our first trek as well. We are also supporting the first TEDxThimphu on November 14th, as an extension of our discussion on Happiness and part-way through our journey. Our route is (finally) approved and logistics are falling into place. Expedition Bhutan is slated for Nov. 4 – December 7th. Its ON and its HUGE!

The team is on fire, sprinting to our departure date, end of October, but I’ll be back at you soon with more intro’s and info.

Stay tuned!


You Against Yourself: Extreme Sports and the Foe

August 3, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

Team Expedition Bhutan will engage in a panel discussion at the Steinbeck Festival this Saturday, August 6th, 5:00-5:45 PM—we’d like to invite you to join us for some hearty discussion. As a tie into the Festival theme of Friend vs. Foe we’ll be perusing; when its you against yourself in extreme elements, while offering participants a trip around the world via a stunning slide show. We’ll also be sharing our vision and mission in Expedition Bhutan. The Festival is recording our discussion which will be later aired on Radio Valley in Bhutan as an introduction for our host country in November.

We’d like to hear about your relationship with this topic! Join us to share, as well as learn more about Expedition Bhutan at a prestigious and time-honored Festival.

Peruse our partner support page with options and details to support and join our Team in Bhutan. For more information on Expedition Bhutan go to and join us on Facebook.

Back at you soon!


(an excellent) Holding Pattern

June 23, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

I wanted to check in with a quick update. With the royal wedding changing up our expedition dates a bit, the president of BOC reviewing our proposed route for approval, and continued conversations with film staff, we have been in a slight holding pattern with Expedition Bhutan prep. We’ve been quite busy in our holding pattern but, holding none the less.

One of the things I am continually an excellently reminded of is that not every nations culture embodies the blind, frenetic, passionate, results driven work habits—of Americans. So it is important for us to calmly wait—especially when respecting working relationships—when what we really want is to keep driving forward at our crazy pace. An excellent reminder.

That said, we are currently:

  • Continuing to finalize our film team
  • Working on changing up our website text to more finely tune our objectives as they have evolved (very exciting stuff)
  • Continue to create partnerships with individuals and companies who are in alignment with what we are up to
  • Waiting patiently for info from our contacts in Bhutan so we can forge ahead with plans
  • Finalizing negotiations with BOC to partner with them in creating an event for them in Bhutan  in 2012

I would like to once again, thank this awesome team. What a bunch of talented, forward thinking people—I’m honored to be working with you all. We are indeed collectively creating an incredible, memorable experience and we haven’t even stepped foot in Bhutan yet!

Peruse our partner support page with options and details to support and join our Team in Bhutan. For more information on Expedition Bhutan to to and join us on Facebook.

Back at you soon!


DATE CHANGE! – Partner with Expedition Bhutan

June 8, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Government, Logistics

While in the process of finalizing our route and itinerary we’ve been informed that in mid October—at exactly the time we had planned the start of our Expedition—the King of Bhutan will wed Jetsun Pema. Due to this significant occasion and the 2-week celebration that will ensue, we have pushed our Expedition start date out to November 1.

To partner with our expedition—see info below including new start dates for joining our Team in Bhutan. For more information on Expedition Bhutan go to and join us on Facebook.


You’re invited! Support Expedition  Bhutan and  Join  our  Team  on  an  Unprecedented  Journey…

There has never been and likely will never again be, a journey like Expedition Bhutan. As we adventure on foot, mountain bike and raft, through the heart and soul of this unique country of Bhutan, we’ll reflect light on their concept of Gross National Happiness via the following questions:

  • What is it?
  • What are its implications for the people of Bhutan?
  • What, if any, are its implications for the rest of us at a time when the world so desperately seeks peace, satisfaction and Happiness?

As a small 4-person expedition team we hope to serve as stewards of Bhutan, its people, culture, and concepts. And as a launching point to our ultimate film of this project, we’re excited to start the “sharing” with a few special others like yourself.  If you not only get what we are up to, but would like to be a special part of the vision of this extra-ordinary project we hope you’ll partner with us by supporting or joining our team for a novel discovery of something much larger than ourselves.

Peruse our partner support page with options and details to support and join our Team in Bhutan. Please contact Terri at if you have any further questions on joining the expedition.


It Takes a (really cool) Small Village…

May 17, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

Like any intriguing and epic project, our cast of characters for Expedition Bhutan has changed up and grown, at once. And we’re not done expanding as of yet.

Melina Lillios will be joining on the front end of our Expedition to support the folks who will be joining our expedition as support! Thanks Melina – your expertise and help in country is invaluable.

James Fitzgerald, with Bhutan Ventures, has been working with Expedition Bhutan since before it was Expedition Bhutan. In fact he is the reason that I was able to germinate this seed of an idea to begin with! James does business in Bhutan and introduced me to the dignitaries there that we are partnering with for this project. James remains invaluable to our vision and mission.

High Gear, Cafe Bhutan and the Bhutan Olympic Committee are also partners of our project and this list is growing daily.

We’ve brought on a new team mate for the expedition—David Kelly will be joining us for this unique adventure of a lifetime. I’ve known David through all the nooks and crannies of our lives with depth enough that I’m fairly certain we knew each other in a past life :).  Its as endearing as it can be disconcerting that he often answers my questions before I speak (though this can come in handy when in a risky predicament). David is as adaptable and adventurous as he is intelligent, which makes him one of the coolest people, to do cool things, in cool places with. And as a human who is as comfortable in the silence as he is verbally pondering the between the lines intricacies of ‘why’, at high philosophical decibels, I’m psyched to be perusing the massive elevation gains and losses of Bhutan with him.

With big fits and starts we are still formulating our film team and will keep you posted on that as well as the final on our route. There is much more to share but I will be brief today with the promise of more to come.

Send your friends to our Facebook page to Like us, stay in touch on what you are up to in adventure and we’ll do the same.  I’ll be back at you soon with more details.


Resetting the Intention

April 24, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

As with any huge project we take on, its human to now and then lose sight of the initial intention of our undertaking when the details, tasks and challenges pull us in different directions. Having recently experienced challenges in organizing Expedition Bhutan, I am using Easter to remind myself of why we are doing this amazing journey in the first place (no particular correlation).

Updates (all in the past week):

Sponsor Support Options: We are quite excited to very soon offer you a stake as Sponsor Support of Expedition Bhutan with one of the perks being a trip to visit this magical country.

New Teammate: We have also acquired a new teammate in the past week. I’ll be introducing him as soon as we can get information up on our website.

Film Team Update: We have had some rich and soulful conversations with a potential film maker/director for our project. I am beyond excited about this person coming on board to offer you a unique view into a journey of a lifetime. Again, I’ll offer more info as soon as we are final on this possibility.

As an athlete I know that to grow and expand is to place ourselves in the way of challenge regularly. One of the means I’ve always coped with that difficulty is with laughter. When the course or our failed body breaks us down, touching on our humility with a strong dose of laughter offers a needed reality check.

The process and results of continued tests are what help us refine our skills—if we find a means to stay in the game. I have been continually tested as a leader of our Expedition as of late. That is so cool. Intellectually I know how to execute. Emotionally I am regularly challenged. I’ve been laughing quite a bit and as of today the results are fabulous.

One way I’ve hooked into ‘fabulousness’ is to re-check in with the foundational intention of our project. This incredible adventure was birthed from an ideal of combining adventure in a challenging and stunning landscape, with a peek into the soul of a culture—and perhaps our own. To reflect on this, we could use David Kelly's 3 part intention of:

Doing cool things in cool places with cool people.

Or, use a thought that came to mind last night:

To be the cause in inspiring others to happiness…. through a soulful adventure.

Or something like that.

In any case, the play button is reset and we are in motion moving into May preparation. I’ll be back at you soon with more details.


Obsession: Bhutan (Join us!)

April 13, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Logistics

I’ve become increasingly obsessed with Expedition Bhutan planning. The long hours of computer work, research, reading, emails and lengthy conference calls seem to feed my passion for this unique project and country. I realized while lying in bed last night negotiating too many spinning thoughts, that besides writing a book, researching and writing my thesis, and being a professional triathlete (ok I guess those are pretty big ‘besides’) – this could be the biggest project I’ve taken on to date. I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m at my best under pressure and when I immerse myself in creativity in an expansive way – trying to birth something soulful from nothing. And yet there is never nothing to start with is there? Because passion is a pretty huge ‘something’ :)

But the main theme that keeps surfacing for me on this project is the requirement of partnerships, teams and connections. I tend to fly like a lone wolf in most I do but also believe that we are interdependent beings (yes, an oxymoron). So this project requires my in depth work with others and I am challenged and enriched by that requirement.

Here’s a brief update on the more recent ‘somethings’ happening with Expedition Bhutan:

  • EXPEDITION ROUTE: After extensive research we completed our Route Option 1 (its current name) and have submitted it to our partners in Bhutan for approval. In short – this country will be awesomely challenging to meaderingly-traverse. We are asking to move through 4 major areas where non-Bhutanese aren’t allowed to go, so we are keeping our fingers crossed we’ll get approval. Once we have a route finalized (at least until we get there and need to change it up again :) we’ll detail it for you on the Bhutan map on our website so you can check it out. Thus far Route Option 1 involves LOTS of trekking and mountain biking and a little bit of rafting or kayaking (and a serious amount of elevation gain and loss).
  • YOU CAN JOIN!: Due to significant interest in our expedition we’ve decided to offer supporters of Expedition Bhutan an opportunity to travel to Bhutan and be part of our expedition for a short bit on the front end (western Bhutan). Join us! One support option will include our initial 9-day trek on the Jhomalhari route plus a few extra touring days in country – while 2 other support options involve 6-days in country trekking or touring as well as spending time with the Team on either the front end or back end of our Jhomalhari Trek. We are finalizing this info for you now! If you are interested in being on the email list to get that info first hand send me your email address – and I can send you info as soon as its up on our site (participation will be limited).
  • OUR FILM: Though our ideas and thoughts are rich on our vision of a film, we have no idea how to go about creating this in such a rare and unique venture! So we’ve been up to what any self respecting seeker would do – we’ve been talking to a lot of people and gathering info and experts. Thus far we have an award winning camera man on board and some really solid additional contacts. On many levels this expedition feels like coming full circle in my life as an extreme athlete, a thinker and a seeker. Joining physical duress and adventure in one of the ripest geographical, cultural and spiritual backdrops on the planet is rich ground indeed for some substantive sharing via film. My vision of a potential film is very clear – we are looking for the right herd of people to produce such a vision.

Note: if you have anyone in mind for film work or info on such things please contact us with your thoughts!

  • THE RACE: Our partners in Bhutan have commissioned us to create a race for them in Fall of 2012. They want to support their vision of Bhutan as a place to experience extreme sports. So we are working on that as well! Right now its looking like a 4-day running stage race (with a shortened hiking option). Details will not be forthcoming for a while but if you are interested in staying in touch with this option, send me your email address and I’ll keep you posted! (


We’d love to hear from you on the above if you have any ideas or support options. Join ourFacebook page and tell your friends. I’ll be back at you soon.