On the Road Again (with Dave)

Posted on 28th Jul 2012 by ian under Travel Tales | No Comments »

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about fellow MSer, Dave, and his Moroccan adventures.  There’s little wonder his website is ActiveMSers coz he has sure been active since diagnosis six years ago. Sometimes I question his sanity, other times I respect it. Today it is to the Himalayas and the Kingdom of Bhutan, a country steeped in history and culture and a country that is, well, steep…

Dave is the first to say that he would rather decline a challenge than to be faced with no challenge at all.  Bhutan threw up a challenge that he reluctantly declined.

One of the country’s holiest sites is Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest monastery.  It is perched above the valley floor of Paro, hanging on the side of a cliff face, and accessible only via a twisty mess of hundreds of stairs.  A challenge for someone fit and able, more than a challenge for someone with mobility issues and vertigo, thanks to MS.  Mind you, it was close to being a toss-up…

Dave looked at the rocky, uneven stairs without railings, and the precipitous drops that would take a life in the blink of a misstep. It would need a lot of concentration and careful foot placement.  Was it worth risking plunging to an early demise to visit a holy monastery? He figured odds were good he’d make it without incident, but then he recalled that odds were also good he wouldn’t end up with a crappy disease called MS.  Besides, he had a fit and lovely wife to go seek and tell, so he watched her negotiate the journey through binoculars.

From the safety of his perch, Dave saw a few other intrepid travellers pass, and the occasional one who was full of trepid (is that a word?).  One outwardly able chap from Holland turned back due to a fear of heights, reinforcing Dave’s objectively wise decision.  But when the 85yo great-grandmother struggled past… followed by a blind dude holding a friend’s backpack and using his white cane to identify each step, well…

Initially Dave felt like a bit of a wuss but then he realised that we are all different – the old lady perhaps driven by her religious faith… and the blind dude certainly wouldn’t get vertigo.  Each to their own.  It didn’t take long for Dave to be inspired by the others forging ahead despite their disabilities.  Personally, I find someone who can look on and selflessly enjoy the achievements and pleasures gained by others inspirational, too.