I leave in four days.
It’s all done: the plane ticket to Lhasa, the arrangements for my 8-day tour in Tibet, the Tibet Travel Permit, the running around, shopping, and decision-making.
Anticipating my travels through different climates and health situations, I’ve made sure to stock up on altitude sickness medicine, vitamins, pain relievers, and Imodium (for the inevitable Delhi-belly that I’ve been told I’ll get in India).
This is what an official Tibet Travel Permit for foreigners looks like.
My hiking pants and hiking shoes that I bought on ebay have arrived from the U.S.; you can’t buy such things in large American sizes here in Chengdu. I’m actually traveling light: one change of clothes, some extra T-shirts, and a hooded sweatshirt, a book to read, the necessary medications, and of course my camera. Anything else I need I’ll buy along the way. All my other baggage will be spiritual or emotional.
I’m in good shape from 10 weeks of cardio workouts on the treadmill at the gym – my legs are like iron, my endurance and energy have improved, and hopefully my heart will be in good shape for its encounter with the 12,000-foot altitude. I keep thinking that there’s something I’m forgetting, but then it hits me: I’ve been preparing for this trip my whole life.