'I’m too smart to be sitting at home, she said, only half joking. She aced her studies, but life had different plans for her. Back in the early 90s, much like in India, women in Bhutan too were expected to marry early, as per the wishes of their parents. That didn’t stop her from becoming an entrepreneur though - refurbishing her 80-year-old house and opening it up to travellers seeking a taste of Bhutan on the remote, rural countryside in the Bumthang district. As a passionate and forward-thinking farmer, she was chosen among a handful to travel to Austria and learn from organic farmers across the country! When she returned, they even helped her build an oven to practice bread making - the only one of its kind in all of Bhutan.
As she whipped up an incredible farm-to-table feast with khulee (sort of pancakes made from locally grown buckwheat), home-grown broccoli and cabbage, potatoes cooked Bhutanese style, pumpkin soup and ema datsi (chilli and cheese) without datsi 🙈, she said her guru, under who she studies Buddhism, is vegan too! He travelled to India and shared some heartbreaking photos of the slaughterhouses where Bhutan’s meat comes from - and that convinced her to turn vegetarian a few months ago.
In her cosy kitchen, after some of the most delicious meals we’ve had so far in Bhutan, we drank homemade ara - a fermented (and pretty potent) local rice brew - and chatted about everything from life in Bumthang and her adventures in Austria to the protected forests of Bhutan and the travellers she’s hosted over the years. Hanging out with her over a couple of days, as she went about her chores and everyday life, I couldn’t help but think that so many of us accept ourselves as the victims of our circumstances. But life is short, and no matter the cards we’re dealt, we have a choice to play the hand differently.
And you, have you met any inspiring souls on your travels lately?' By @shivya