Dates: November 5th thru December 13
The mission of EXPEDITION BHUTAN was to make the first trek of modern times across Bhutan, one of the world’s most mysterious and inaccessible countries, to uncover the geographical and cultural wonders of a country whose King declares its benchmark for success to be Gross National Happiness.
Bhutan is touted as an oasis of innocence in a frenzied and competitive world—a kingdom where compassion and wisdom are the benchmark against which all things are measured. Or is it? Our expedition team of endurance athletes, journalists and entrepreneurs wanted to find out. Terri Schneider, Greg Thomas, Tony Lillios, and David Kelly immersed themselves in this curious kingdom and to share their findings with the world during and after the journey.
They traveled by foot and bicycle, from the Western slope that borders China to the Eastern slope and the border of India, through the foothills and plains of the south, the hills, and valleys of central Bhutan, and the high Himalaya of the north—485 miles and over 70,000 feet of climbing—the elevation of well over two Mt. Everests from sea to summit. They captured the diversity of Bhutanese geography and animal life while exploring this unique culture via festivals, Buddhist monasteries, and remote villages. Their travels were showcased via the Internet for the world to enjoy.
En route they uploaded pictures, reports on Discovery.com, Athleta.com and their own blog site, inspiring virtual adventurers to take a peek into a culture that is steeped in ancient spiritual traditions while embracing a 21st Century vision of equality and ecology. The team brought Bhutan back to the U.S. with multimedia presentations, slide shows, and a film. To host a presentation in your area contact Terri Schneider.
Expedition Bhutan—A First
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked country on the eastern end of the Himalayas, flanked by India to the south, west and east, and Tibet and China to the north. Its rugged landscape and cultural grandeur rival that of its famous neighbor, Nepal. But Bhutan’s rigid tourist restrictions close these treasures to most foreigners and only make it more tantalizing as a destination for adventure and spiritual seekers.
In addition to being one of the most recent nations to accept TV and Internet (1999), and install a democratic government, Bhutan is home to the highest unclimbed mountain on the planet, Gangkhar Puensum (24,840 ft.). It is a testament to Bhutan’s singular leadership that it rejected revenues from foreign climbers and instead prioritized the wishes of villagers that the mountain remain untouched. The country’s hefty $250US daily visa fee, plus requirements to have a guide at all times, has limited tourist access to this magical country. No Westerner in modern times has experienced all it offers, border to border. EXPEDITION BHUTAN was the first.