IT GOT ME TO BHUTAN
Enlightened trekker Kasia Nowak
“In 2010, I entered the Wanderlust Photo of the Year competition and was highly commended in the landscape category. That didn’t change my life in itself – what did change was receiving a goodie bag containing the February 2011 issue. It featured a story on the newly opened Merak Sakteng Trek in the rarely visited eastern part of Bhutan. I found the cover photo of red-robed monks irresistibly enchanting, and thought the concept of Gross National Happiness utterly fascinating.
“Six months later, I booked my trip of a lifetime – traversing Bhutan from west to east, with the Merak Sakteng Trek thrown in. The tour involved plenty of highaltitude roads, trekking, local people and their horses. Seeing how people lived there changed my attitude to so many aspects of my own existence, allowing me to distinguish between what I want and what I need. When I think of myself as I was, I can hardly recognise that person. The article was entitled ‘Footpaths to Enlightenment’, which is exactly what it felt like to me.”