Kombi’s in Adelaide. The Ethical Road Trip

The Kombi Crew have not been able to use the sliding door of our Kombi for a week now. We have been climbing through the front door. Its been a little awkward, specially now that there are 3 of us living in the van. However we are approaching a major city and a local VW shop believes he may have the parts to repair the hinge.

South Australia and Adelaide has completely blown we me away, the city centre has some amazing buildings and is right next to the lush green rolling hills.

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Playing with shining things

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Reeds at Sunset

On The Ethical Road Trip, we are supporting Headspace  and the work that they do in Youth Mental Health. You can support headspace by simply sharing this post or by donating via our Everyday hero page.

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Arriving at Uluru: Sunset.

After a long hot drive up the Stuart Hwy in the “Red Centre” of Australia we arrive at possibly Australia’s most remarkable and most recognisable natural tourist attractions and significant aboriginal spiritual landmark Uluru. As we approach this huge monolith, I quickly understand why this is such a sort after tourist destination. Uluru stands tall, almost watching over the dessert and its people. There is just something about this rock, I look forward to tomorrow when I get to explore this place.

The Ethical Road Trip

Our Kombi Family for the next 10 days

You can help us support headspace by donating via our Everyday Hero Page of simply by sharing this post.

If you are having a tough time check out the headspace website. 

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport. If you have liked this post please LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. You can also follow Tattered Passport on, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and BEME. I love hearing about your adventures so please write them in the comments below.

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane

Customising My Kombi.

Well our huge road trip is closing in fast, and I still have plenty to do to prepare the Kombi for the adventure. Today I make some new door skins, wire in some new music, paint the cupboards and even strap down the spare tyre.

Thank you for watching Tattered Passport, I hope you have enjoyed the short video. I would love to have you Follow Tattered Passport, simply click on the “Follow” button at the bottom of your screen. Please feel free to share this post with your family and friends.  You can also follow Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Magic Mushroom Dealers and Mountain Biking: Nepal. Daily Vlog: 49

I grab the mountain bike from my hostel “The Hotel Cherry Garden” and head for the hills on an adventure in search of the Friendship Stupa. Along the way I get completely lost in the farming land of Pokhara, get hassled out by a Magic Mushroom Dealer, almost die riding up the 1100m high mountain, barely escape from a out of control motor bike, dodge lightning and crazy Nepalese bus drivers and then have diner with the manager of Hotel The Cherry Garden. Oh he also makes me the most incredible coffee I have ever had. Hand ground organic coffee, Hemp Filtered and poured down a sandalwood stick, It was epic.

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement.

I leave the chaos that is Kathmandu, jump on a plane and head to the most incredible place, Pokhara. I had heard about a very special settlement just a 30min drive from the town centre so we decided to grab a cab and head out see what it was all about.

Tattered Passport Pokhara

A gift from the Dalai Lama

We arrive at the Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement and were greeted by a beautiful gateway and a very unique script written on it. Through out my time in Tibet we had not seen any reference to his holiness the Dalai Lama. This left a huge gap through out Tibet, as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism the Dalai Lama is held in the highest of regard, however it is illegal to even talk about him in Tibet. So it was so beautiful to see his name right there in big letters, inviting you into the settlement. “Given by his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama”, I new instantly this was a special place.

Tattered Passport, Pokhara

Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement

Tattered Passport, Pokhara

om mani padme hum

I dropped a “tashi Delek” and was instantly welcomed with open arms into their settlement. We were shown around by a beautiful Tibetan lady. Then I was invited into the Butter Lamp, prayer room and shown how to pray. This was a magical moment for me, I was able to give something back to these beautiful people, I purchased a butter lamp, said a prayer and was blessed.

Tattered Passport, Pokhara

Prayers and Butter Lamps

There are estimated 13000 Tibetan People living in exile in Nepal according to the The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). I am unsure of the number at this settlement. The people living at the settlement are kind of stuck between to worlds, it is very difficult for them. I do not pretend to understand how it all works for them, but from what I gather is that they are not allowed to work in Nepal. The only way that they can earn money is by selling some souvenirs. They have a small gift shop which sells hand made crafts, and as you walk out from the settlement you pass through a make shift market. Here you will find some amazing jewellery I am a big fan of beaded bracelets and necklaces and I was in heaven here. They are all hand made and you purchase them from the person who made them. In attempt to spread my money around I tried my hardest to by something small from all the stalls. 

https://youtu.be/7XB8nN0pR7g

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport. If you have liked this post please Like, Share and Follow. Simple click on the follow button at the bottom of your screen. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Have you visited Pokhara, Nepal? What did you think about the Tibetan refugee settlement?

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Inside Tibet: The Friendship Highway. Daily Vlog: 45

We continue our journey along the interestingly named Friendship Highway which is a 800 kilometre Highway stretching from the Capital of Tibet, Lhasa to the Tibetan (Chinese)/ Nepalese Border at the China-Nepal Friendship Bridge between Zhangmu and Kodari.

https://instagram.com/p/0wVqAhA5rp/?taken-by=tatteredpassport

https://instagram.com/p/0wVtsyg5rv/?taken-by=tatteredpassport

Being on the Friendship Highway made me think. On this journey through Tibet I have made some life long friends, I have shared some incredible moments with these fellow travellers, I have left my family and friends back home and around the world to follow my dream and see Tibet for myself. I have rode the roller-coaster of emotions and have learnt so much about myself. Is that was this Friendship Highway was designed to do? Make you contemplate life, or is it Propaganda? A way for the Chinese Government to gloss over how they are treating the Tibetans, in an attempt to make it all seem ok?

Tattered Passport Tibet

Friendship Highway

As we approached the border I was lost with in my own thoughts. Soon I would be able to Skype home and speak to my wife, soon I would be free from the restraints that China has locked Tibet down with, soon I will be in Nepal, but am I ready for that? Am I ready to leave Tibet?

I soon realise that there is a fairly good chance that I will not return to Tibet. This could be my last time that I see this country, a country that has had such an impact on me, so much that I cant even place words in any form that would describe it. So what do I do?

https://instagram.com/p/0wVyYYA5r2/?taken-by=tatteredpassport

Our bus reaches the end of the road, we can go no further, I can see the bridge, I can see the customs gates and all the Chinese Military holding some serious fire power. I am instructed to put away the camera, even though I would really like to show you the border I comply, these machine guns and the tension is a little intense. Our guide is stopped as we walk up to the gate and not allowed to go any further. We all say our good-byes and hope that our guide is safe.

As we crossed the Friendship Bridge I look down and see a line of bricks, symbolising the border. On the Tibetan side a Chinese Officer stands still, machine gun in hand, ready for action, a last reminder of Tibet, on the Nepalese side an officer leans against the handrail, smiling, welcoming us back into Nepal. I stop for a moment, still in Tibet, one last moment in this country. I quickly get told to move on by the machine gun holding officer, and into Nepal I enter.

https://youtu.be/AXL5C4aWmF0

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Inside Tibet: The Tibetan Holy Mother Speaks To Me.

I wake to the sound of Yaks mooing, and prayer bells ringing, I wake to the smell of fresh snow and the Yak dung fire mixed with the smell of juniper incense drifting from the near by Rongbuk Monastery, its a uniquely Tibetan smell. I wander outside, the air is thin and the sky is so blue. I stand still in awe of Chomolungma I stand still for I am in the presence of the Holy Mother.

Tattered Passport, Tibet

Holy Mother.

I struggle to find words to describe this morning, the beauty I see before me, high mountains, covered in snow, glistening in the early morning sun, a few yaks are awake early, you can hear their bells ringing as they wander around the field. My head starts to fill with many emotions. I feel the pain of every Tibetan that I have met. I feel love towards these beautifully peaceful people and an unhealthy anger. I fight the anger off, anger is not something I want to dwell inside me. I feel peace and a feeling something like being trapped. I am confused but with a sense of clarity. I open my eyes and I see Chomolungma, I am grounded again. I return to the lodge, unable to understand what just happened.

Sun rise over The Holy Mother

Sun rise over The Holy Mother

https://youtu.be/B0ircTEsXUM

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Inside Tibet: The Holy Mother, Daily Vlog: 43

I listen to the sounds of the himalayas, the Yaks mooing, the bells ringing from the near by Rongbuk Monastery, a dog barking in the distance, this is Tibet, this is Chomolungma “Holy Mother” this is Mt Everest.

Tattered Passport

Chomolungma “Holy Mother” Mt Everest

Three weeks ago I was in  Gorak Shep, Nepal at the summit of Kala-Patthar standing at 5545m watching the sun rise over Mt Everest. Today I watch the sun shining over Mt Everest in Tibet.

The valley was covered in a deep layer of freshly laid snow, sparkling in the sun light, it was so beautiful, it was as if some kind of higher being had designed the perfect landscape for us to see. Carefully placing every snow flake, every Yak, every prayer flag and every ring of the prayer bells. I find myself quite in amongst the grand valley, the Holy Mother standing tall, looking over Tibet. I wonder what the “Holy Mother” thinks about what is going on in Tibet, how does the conflict make her feel? How does this grand mountain, the centre of many adventurers challenges, feel about the destruction and death through out Tibet?

https://youtu.be/Nwrd7iHBTDY

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Inside Tibet: Inside The Destruction. Daily Vlog: 42

I see more cameras today, I see more guards today, I see more heart ache today, I quickly understand why. We are at the Tashilhunpo Monastery, a historic and culturally important monastery in Tibet’s second largest city, Shigatse. Tashilhunpo monastery is the traditional seat of the second highest ranked tulku lineage in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the Panchen Lama.

The monastery has endured a hard life, in 1791 the Gorkha Kingdom invaded Tibet and

Tattered Passport, Tibet

Cameras at the Tashilhunpo Monastery

captured Shigatse, but most recently it has been in the centre of the conflict between China and Tibet.  During China’s invasion of Tibet, two thirds of the buildings were destroyed, the hardest hit were the residences of the 4000 monks. The monastery itself was not extensively damaged, possibly because it was the seat of the Panchen Lama, who remained in Chinese controlled territory.

In 1966 the red guards  led a crowd to the monastery to break statues, burn scriptures and open the stupas. Inside the Stupas were the relics of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas, the crowd threw most of the relics into the river, some were saved by the locals. In 1985 the 10th Panchen Lama Choekyi Gyaltsen began construction of a new Stupa to house them in honour of his predecessors. In 1989 just six days before he died the stupa was consecrated. It was as if he was saying now he could rest.

https://youtu.be/VnU9JQ08mkY

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Inside Tibet: Your invite inside a Tibetan Home. Daily Vlog: 41

As we wander along the streets of the old town of Gyatse, spinning prayer wheels, dodging cows and laughing at the puppies that were playing in the street we were invited inside a local Tibetan house. This was a huge honour, to see inside this Tibetan house was a sneak peak into real Tibetan Culture.

Tattered Passport Tibet

The Cow guarding the house

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Tibetan Puppies

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Inside a Tibetan House, Drying Meat

We enter the old traditional home through the ground floor, traditionally this is where the family house their animals. This family still keep their cow here, we had to pass the very large and grumpy cow, I don’t think she was very happy to have us in her home. The room looked like it has been heavily used for many years. The timber was weathered, you could see right through the ceiling up to the floor above. We walk up the rickety stair case to the first floor. The stair case opened to this beautiful first floor court yard, it was colourful with painted murals, prayer flags hanging amongst prayer wheels. The family had meat drying, hanging from hooks scattered amongst old farming equipment. Everything looked old, really loved and used. We entered a room, dedicated to the Panchen-Lama, of cause this would be for the Dalai Lama, if it were legal. The Chinese government force the Tibetan People to worship the Panchan_Lama, a Chinese appointed Lama who lives in Beijing and is not Tibetan. He was not found the traditional way, the way that all Panchan-Lama have been discovered through out Tibetan Buddhism.

Tattered Passport, Tibet

Tibetan House and drying meat

Tattered Passport, Tibet

Inside a Tibetan House

I left, thanking the beautiful Tibetan lady not only for the invite into her home, but an insight into how these peaceful people are still living in their home, their home country that is getting strategically destroyed by China.

https://youtu.be/ZJMofwmOpXs

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.