I stayed on at the Lotus Guesthouse and struggled with my article for the Major American Adventure-Travel Magazine. Every time I researched some upscale mountain trek in the Nepal Himalayas or two-week scuba diving excursion off the coast of Papua New Guinea, I couldn’t help but ponder how pointless it all was. I began to e-mail my editor pointed questions about how one should define the “extremes of human experience.” How was kayaking a remote Chinese river, I asked, more notable than surviving on its shores for a lifetime? How did risking frostbite on a helicopter-supported journey to arctic Siberia constitute more of an “adventure” than risking frostbite on a winter road-crew in Upper Peninsula Michigan? Did anyone else think it was telling that bored British aristocrats — not the peoples of the Himalayas — were the ones who first deemed it important to climb Mount Everest? My editor’s replies were understandably terse.
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