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Riding The Himalayas: A Sacred Journey Home

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

It’s the place where my soul returns to its source.

A bell dangling in front of the Himalayas
image credit: Pritish Bhanushali on Unsplash

I feel an overwhelming sense of longing when the silent sound of the Himalayas chimes me home. Back to the rocky maze of enormous ridges miraculously created by the clash of two giant continents over a period of time, we fail to grasp.


In my mind, I begin to ride along its gushing rivers that slit the rugged land into many uneven halves. Dream of deserted roads zigzagging up into dizzying snow-peaked heights. Spend a moment on top of its most elevated passes underneath the awning of a zillion prayer flags joyfully flapping in the wind.

Where time and space are of different dimensions. Where no one roams except for those who seek the solitude that reverberates from the ancient, jagged slopes.

What’s out there in between this immense mountain range, I fail to describe.

It’s a beautiful tickle of knowing I am riding home


To a lost Shangri La in between the vastness of a pristine craggy world. To those secluded valleys held by gigantic walls of rock and stone. In between, as if accidentally dropped from heaven, tiny villages. Where headstrong people owe their existence to the inhospitality of the barren land they treat so well.


High above, staring into the rocks, sits a monastery that outlasts most creatures' presence. Where monks devote their lives to creating a healthier, fairer, and more peaceful world.

a Buddhist monastery sitting on atop of a rock face in Spiti Valley India
Dhankar Gompa/Spiti where the skies are the limits (image credit: Bryan Pannell)

Amidst the Himalayas’ bizarre tranquility, the chaos of our fast-paced world is nothing more than a fading memory overshadowed by the serene beauty that envelops its beholder.

Where mindfulness, care, and compassion for the life and death of all its beings count the most. Where nature is more robust than the human will. And where nothing is ever permanent except for eternity expanding across the towering peaks into the vastness of an endless sky.


The Himalayas ground me when nothing else does


That’s when I am on my sacred bike. The one I learned to trust, though the roads I am traveling aren’t for the faint at heart. But I seek these risky routes because I know that’s where my answer unfolds. The arduous path up is the one I have chosen. I could have stayed in the valley below. With the others. With the limited view. In the safety of eternally same mornings.

Moodh in Pin Valley/Spiti is safely tucked away somewhere in the Himalayas (image credit: Bryan Pannell)

Being in the Himalayas helps me gain distance from the desire to desire and blame a world that is becoming increasingly unwell and cold.

“The mountains were so wild and so stark and so very beautiful that I wanted to cry. I breathed in another wonderful moment to keep safe in my heart.” ― Jane Wilson-Howarth, Snowfed Waters

I must return once more to this holy land of mighty peaks

The Himalayas have an innumerable number of faces. And just as many peaks and valleys. And soon, I will sail along the shoulders of this gigantic earthly masterpiece crafted by Mother Nature over zillions of years one more time. On trails once restricted to mules and caravans. Which people have meticulously chiseled into rock faces, risking life and sanity.

I am in awe and deep respect for the people whose homeland I will be entering again. I have joy in my heart, knowing my soul returns to its source.

What transpires next is a mere scribble in the holy book of life’s uncertainty. But I can hardly wait to flip to its next page. Knowing that I am protected and cared for, that the Himalayas will always welcome me with open arms, the way they love me, too.

 

Thank you for sharing a precious moment with me in the lofty heights of the Himalayas. It’s one of my favorite places on this planet, along with New Zealand. And I am deeply humbled to be calling both destinations home.

Much love, always — Kerstin


Keen on discovering Spiti Valley with us on a self-managed motorbike tour in 2024? Get in touch!




On a personal note: We have recently created a Ko-fi page. Not to ask you for a coffee but to support Tanzanian women riders and a worthy cause. If that’s something you’re interested in, please take a look at what we’re up to.

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