After more than twelve years of travel, we bring this website to a close in May 2012, and thank the hundreds of wonderful people we met on our travels throughout the world.
The last of these accounts was posted in Istanbul, Turkey, where we learned about the Whirling Dervishes. It seems a fitting way to leave things.
Please read Becky’s report about rescuing a little girl from desperate circumstances in the mountains of Nepal. Anna’s Story.
From the story: “At Sandoop's request, the local leader of the Maoist rebel group soon arrived, escorted by his teenage bodyguards. They looked like gangsters.
Maoists are self-styled, uneducated, rural rebels who, over the previous decade, had essentially held citizens of Nepal hostage and created a civil war that ultimately ended with the collapse of Nepal's centuries-old, godlike monarchy and the deaths of thousands of civilians. They had also raided communities in the mountains, and now possessed all private guns in Nepal.”
Meena: Also in Nepal, we learned about a little girl abandoned near the border of Tibet. After she was rescued and brought to Kathmandu, we agreed to support and educate her. Nothing we have said or done in these ten years of travel in many countries has exceeded the events of 2009, which began in Thailand and Laos, and ended in the mountains of Nepal. There, we agreed to support one little girl, Meena Lama, who had been in horrible circumstances in a village near Tibet. When we flew to Kathmandu to meet her, a surprise series of events ended with Becky and our friend Sandup rescuing another girl, Anna Lama, from even worse circumstances.
Today these two girls are in school and doing well. It is a highlight of our lives that we have been able to help rescue these innocent children from extremely dangerous and hopeless circumstances. They share a small home with six other children and four adults. For the first time in their lives, they are safe, protected, and receive education and medical care. Almost immediately, the two connected as “sisters.”
Of all the things we have done these past twelve years, the crown jewel is having become involved in the lives of these two children. May they live long and well.
On our last visit to south Asia, we ventured to Sikkim, in extreme NE India. This is our best picture, taken at sunrise of the world’s third highest mountain. We shot two hundred high resolution RAW photos, and two hours of high definition video there. Check out our high resolution clips on the videos page.
During our winter in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we met a number of “long neck” Burmese women at a village where the residents have previously spent long periods in refugee camps, after escaping terrible oppression in Burma.
We interviewed one of these women. Look for it on our videos.
We have long urged people throughout the world to become aware of the horrible realities of the army of Burma, which we refuse to call by the newer name Myanmar. There, native minorities are being hunted down and killed by the thousands. We met some of the survivors while living at the Kwai River Mission Hospital, which tries to save the lives of people who escape across the border in the relative safety of Thailand.
While the Burmese army generals try to assure the world of their support of human rights, their brutality in the jungles tells another story.
We have been fortunate to visit Laos several times. Our third visit to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was the best yet. Look for photos in our current logs.
Laos is one of our favorite nations in all the world.
On another recent trip we flew Nok Air from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, then took a bus to Kanchanaburi (site of the famous Bridge Over The River Kwai, and our former home). One of the highlights was a visit from a woman we met in 2000, when we were living there.
“TM” traveled across Thailand via bus to see us. We had a wonderful time with her and her nephew. The picture below was taken at Erawan National Park, west of Kanchanaburi.
We continue to plan trips back to Asia, in order to help children and the disadvantages, but we are currently traveling in Europe.
In Kathmandu, Nepal, some time ago, we were interviewed by the editor of a monthly English language magazine, Alfresco.
Editor Shyam Krishna Shrestha asked about our peripatetic lifestyle and the blind students whose education and housing we support there. It was an interesting exchange, occurring as it did in a country that continues to face significant challenges in daily life.
The text encourages people to seek their dreams, no matter the obstacles. We have come to know many Nepalis and continue to marvel at their optimism and spirit.
Together, we have been in more than seventy countries and U.S. protectorates, and of our many highlights was a brief appearance on THE TONIGHT SHOW.
Becky spoke on the air with Jay Leno (photo below) about our visit with descendants of Borneo's infamous Headhunters (she dropped the Chief’s favorite head, breaking off its jaw). See it for yourself on our videos page. The best part of the interview came when Leno asked, “Cannibals invited you to dinner -- and you WENT?” She responded, “They weren't cannibals, they were headhunters.”
We began this website to record our travels in order to someday reflect on them, and to give relatives and friends an idea where we were. We soon found that people from all walks of life were interested. We hope you too are encouraged to travel -- and to learn about our world’s diverse cultures.
Follow this link to our travel statistics and a listing of the countries, principalities, commonwealths, territories and protectorates we have visited.
Thanks for following along.
Don and Becky Hardy
Red Lodge, Montana