Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

It is possible to fall in love with a place the same way we fall in love with another human being. The texture of its landscape can make your heart race, the sound of its name send shivers. This is Ladakh to me—a love affair. And motorcycle touring in Ladakh is a powerful elixir, and one made especially potent while communing with the vast, open spaces with a Royal Enfield motorcycle strapped between my legs. This is a physical happiness that flows from nose to toes, that lifts like dancing to great music. I have travelled to Ladakh many times by road, and every time I leave I am busy laying plans for a return. The weight of its emptiness is invaluable in these harried times, and once you see the raw, engaging beauty of its people and places, you are forever bound to return. I delight in taking friends here, and invariably they recognize the intrigue, hear the drumbeat that only a few of us hear that draws us back year after year.
Though the Royal Enfield is quite capable of doing the trip in its standard avatar, I have tweaked and tuned my motorcycle over the years to tread on the varied terrain with a little more poise and purpose. Hope to post progress as Vir, Jamshed, Amber and I ride through the lesser known regions of Kinnaur and Spiti, to places that scratch that itch—Chanshal, Chitkul, Ribbar, Nako, Dhankar, Kibber, Ki, Komic, Langza—as we wend our way to Ladakh. We have nowhere to be and plenty of time to get there. Bring it on!