Kathlyn Queubin and Dan Portman
Kathlyn and Dan were PiA fellows in Chiang Rai, Thailand in 2005-2006. While not in the classroom, they spent their free time starring in The Motorcycle Diaries (Asian edition), cruising the mountainous wilds of northern Thailand on a chopper than was admired equally by small children and army border patrols. They also traveled widely, rock climbing in Chiang Mai, Krabi, and Borneo, and surfing inthe Philippines. After their teaching stint, they embarked on a 5-month pilgrimage to India , foreswearing plane flights in favor of the adventure of overland travel. Their circuitous route took the pair –by boat, train, bus, hitching, and walking -- through Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Tibet and Nepal, before ending in India. They spent three months in the Himalayas, trekking for over 50 days in Tibet, Nepal and the north Indian state of Ladakh. In the name of "fun" and adventure, they endured abysmally cold weather, altitude sickness, dust-storms, blizzards, drunken guides, leeches, and gun-toting Maoists (politely soliciting mandatory "donations" along the trail). In Ladakh they climbed the 20,000 foot peak Stok Kangri, setting (possibly?) a new altitude record for PIA. All along the way, Dan and Kathlyn met fascinating people, many of whom were on pilgrimages of their own, who understood -- despite total language barriers -- exactly what these two PiA-ers were doing, and why.