edited by jae de veyra pickrell
The arrival of the group to Bhutan was marked by excitement. “There is definitely a sense of calmness and serenity the moment you set foot in Bhutan,” says model, host and fashion blogger Kim Jones. “As soon as we disembarked the plane, we were falling head over heels trying to take photos of their beautifully traditional airport. And that was just the airport!” Caroline Issa, fashion director of Tank magazine and editor of its sister website, Because, agrees: “It was a like a cleanse just by breathing in the air.”
Both Kim and Caroline describe their experiences as “magical.” Kim, in particular, found it fascinating how “deeply interwoven” traditional and modern culture are in the country, out of an effort to preserve history. “Our Bhutanese guide, wearing the traditional gho [a national dress for men in Bhutan], will excitedly mention the story of the planting of 108,000 trees to celebrate the birth of the first child of the monarchy in the same breath as a rundown of a Game of Thrones episode or the latest Adele song,” she recalls.
The details of the itinerary were kept vague and under wraps. Aside from the treks and failed attempts at archery (thanks to constant rain), the activities included DIY peace flags and souvenir shopping. “Everything was a lovely surprise,” says Caroline, who conquered her fear of heights on the trip. “I hadn’t expected the real connection to the earth and spiritual centering that was at the heart of all the people and the culture.” She also notes that while the Bhutanese eat meat—the yak burger is reportedly a must-try— their Buddhist faith doesn’t allow them to slaughter animals, which means they have to import meat from India.
“Traveling to the Himalayan mountains is incredibly humbling,” Kim says. “You develop a new sense of appreciation and understanding of nature and spirituality.”
Read the rest of the story on the November 2016 issue of Preview Magazine.