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Let Go and Live!

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Let Go and Live!

Put a little Bhutan in your life.
Linda  Leaming
Linda Leaming More by this author
Apr 05, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Bhutan’s charm is powerful. Like so many people who visit, I was already thinking of how I could get back. After two weeks in Bhutan, I traveled in southern India. I stayed at the Taj Holiday Village in Goa, a resort beside the Arabian Sea. It felt like the loneliest place on earth. The late-summer monsoons had swelled the ocean so that it was enormous and gray, like the Goan sky. Just off the coastline, a massive Liberian oil tanker, the same dreary color, had run aground and sat askew and ghostly in the water. The world outside Bhutan seemed drained of color. I had never been so in love with a place and its people as I was with Bhutan. For the first time in my life, I was pining for something.

After India, I met friends in Italy. Sitting at an outdoor café at the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, I chattered nonstop about Bhutan as my two friends drank coffee, rolled their eyes, and tried to enjoy the poetic beauty of the place. I’d even gotten my film from Bhutan developed in Italy, and I made them look at the pictures. “Don’t start with the Bhutan stuff,” they teased. “What about India? Weren’t you in India for two months? Look around you. You’re in Italy now. And you’re going to France!”

“I’m going back,” I said. “Great!” they said, and offered to stuff me in a cannon and shoot me back to the Himalayas. I couldn’t help myself. I was already carried away.

Back in the U.S., my life took on a new focus. Everything I did was calculated to get me back to Bhutan. I told everyone I met about my desire to live and work there. I made two long visits to the country in 1995 and 1996. I spent months traveling to every corner of the country, learning everything I could about the people and how they lived. The Bhutanese were nice about it. Some of them asked me why I loved the place so much.

“Here I can be kind,” I replied. And I meant it. Bhutan was teaching me things I had lost track of in the West. There was plenty of time for introspection. “Maybe you were Bhutanese in a previous life,” more than a few of them remarked, laughing. I like to think of myself as having been Bhutanese at one point. It’s the only reason I can think of for my absolute passion. Many people I’ve met over the years who have visited are taken with the place; some return for visits or to work here for a while. Some want to return, but their lives take a different turn; their loved ones, jobs, and commitments eventually take precedence, or they get other obsessions. From the first time I visited Bhutan until now, that has never happened to me. I remember thinking, Are you going to be 60 years old and still trying to get to Bhutan? And I’d answer, Yes, I’ll never stop. The desire took over everything. It was as unavoidable as hunger. I left everyone I’d ever loved, everything I knew, my home, and everything I owned. I left my job as a freelance writer and several lucrative contracts I’d had for years. Needless to say, my family, friends, and business associates were surprised. I spent my savings and eventually sold everything I had to stay in Bhutan. In 1997, I moved to Bhutan to teach English for no pay at a cultural school outside of Thimphu. Two years later, still as a volunteer, I was transferred to an art school in a suburb of Thimphu. I had found the center of the universe.

About Author
Linda  Leaming
Linda Leaming is a writer whose work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Mandala, Guardian UK, A Woman’s Asia (Travelers’ Tales), and many other publications. Eric Weiner included her in his bestseller, The Geography of Bliss. Originally from Nashv Continue reading