Expedition Update: A Team’s Faces

The skin, bones, and essence of our trip: the faces and personalities behind the efforts. I thought it time to properly ‘introduce’ the team with some thoughts, some colour, and some quotes from our magnificent team.

Suresh the fearless in full gallop in the winds.

Suresh the fearless in full gallop in the winds.

We begin with Suresh who at his best is an absolute bear. Proud, strong, and the perfect man to delegate, he is a great point-man with a voice that comes close to a baritone. A tale teller of fabulous analogies, he is prone to moments of epic passion and explosive outbursts.

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Dharam the Gazelle

Moving with grace and smooth speed, Dharam was the equivalent of our scout, always moving on the periphery with his long strides. Seemingly unaffected by sun or thirst, Dharam has the blood of the desert movers. A gentlemen with steel in the tendons.

Karma the Great, Karma the Calm

Karma the Great, Karma the Calm

A presence relentless in his calm, that would eventually (with his calm competence) become a kind of deity and leader on our journey. Not once did his voice raise above a hush (and I tried to get it above a hush), and it was to him that we looked when there wasn’t an answer forthcoming…and an utter god in the cooking department.

Kaku the Man-Boy who could do it all

Kaku the Man-Boy who could do it all

Handsome and buzzing with a relentless energy, Kaku is the figure who would and could do it all. No task is too dismal, no distance too great, and no request too ridiculous. An understated essential who is a key to all of our momentum.

Tashi of the Calves

Tashi of the Calves

Tashi of the fiercely muscular calves and the giant smiles, was also Tashi of the smooth abilities in the mountains to lead. A leader who leads through quiet and competent action day after day, with a voice that should be doing voice-overs in animated series.

Epic Sadanand

Epic Sadanand

There could well be a small book on the lives, the loves, the words, and the character of this very special man. Stubborn to a fault, tough beyond words, and almost a thing of fables, Sadanand not only added some neurotic hysteria to the journey, he also reminded again and again of the wonderful characters to be found in the mountains.

Michael the Wool Hunter

Michael the Wool Hunter

Who else could possible deal with my own rambling, at times non-sensical queries and expeditions into the complete unknown? Relentless friend Michael, who manages to stay somehow elegant even while losing half his body weight sweating. A man who will not steer away from much that is out there and who managed to smile the big smile when hitting Parang Pass. And last but certainly not least, the man whose tireless wanderings to yield yak wool for ‘kora’ is nothing short of remarkable.

"I" of the routes

“I” of the routes

Put the hint of a mountain trail, a trade route, or simply a strand that veers into the mountains in front of me, and I’m gone…needing only a hint of a schedule and a very large quantity of tea.

 

About JeffFuchs

Bio Having lived for most of the past decade in Asia, Fuchs’ work has centered on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories with an obsessive interest in tea. His photos and stories have appeared on three continents in award-winning publications Kyoto Journal, TRVL, and Outpost Magazine, as well as The Spanish Expedition Society, The Earth, Silkroad Foundation, The China Post Newspaper, The Toronto Star, The South China Morning Post and Traveler amongst others. Various pieces of his work are part of private collections in Europe, North America and Asia and he serves as the Asian Editor at Large for Canada’s award-winning Outpost magazine. Fuchs is the Wild China Explorer of the Year for 2011 for sustainable exploration of the Himalayan Trade Routes. He recently completed a month long expedition a previously undocumented ancient nomadic salt route at 4,000 metres becoming the first westerner to travel the Tsa’lam ‘salt road’ through Qinghai. Fuchs has written on indigenous perspectives for UNESCO, and has having consulted for National Geographic. Fuchs is a member of the fabled Explorers Club, which supports sustainable exploration and research. Jeff has worked with schools and universities, giving talks on both the importance of oral traditions, tea and mountain cultures. He has spoken to the prestigious Spanish Geographic Society in Madrid on culture and trade through the Himalayas and his sold out talk at the Museum of Nature in Canada focused on the enduring importance of oral narratives and the Himalayan trade routes. His recently released book ‘The Ancient Tea Horse Road’ (Penguin-Viking Publishers) details his 8-month groundbreaking journey traveling and chronicling one of the world’s great trade routes, The Tea Horse Road. Fuchs is the first westerner to have completed the entire route stretching almost six thousand kilometers through the Himalayas a dozen cultures. He makes his home in ‘Shangrila’, northwestern Yunnan upon the eastern extension of the Himalayan range where tea and mountains abound; and where he leads expeditions the award winning ‘Tea Horse Road Journey’ with Wild China along portions of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. To keep fueled up for life Fuchs co-founded JalamTeas which keeps him deep in the green while high in the hills.
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