Connecticut College Magazine · Fall 2005

Features:

Mach Arom ´89: Rebuilding hope for Thai tsunami victims

Kathryn Bard ´68: Somewhere in Egypt

Who cares about Haiti?

Venturing into Iran: Beyond the warning

Gloria Hollister Anable ’24: Into the deep

Gaida Ozols Fuller ´74: Six months in Uganda

Sarah Trapido ´08: Going 13,000 miles on veggie oil

Yoko Shimada ´99: Fighting the war on AIDS in East Africa



Cover:
The extra mile: Journeys that make a difference

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Going the extra mile

Going the extra mile
Daryl Hawk ´79 photographed this winding mountain road on the last leg og his journey across Bhutan. Read his story below.

Last November, inspired by both James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon and Peter Mathiessen’s The Snow Leopard, I traveled to Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom hidden high in the Himalayas.

Everything that I had read indicated that I was heading to a beautiful, tranquil paradise where time still stands still — a world in which powerful nature and spirituality rule supreme.

The idea of the existence of “Shangri-la” is intriguing to the western world because many of us, whether we admit it or not, sometimes question the validity of our fast-paced, technological world and wonder whether or not it really leads to true happiness and contentment. We are fascinated with the idea that there are still places on earth that somehow seem to have escaped change.

I dreamed about going to Bhutan for seven years. After seeing a presentation at the Explorers Club in New York City, I knew that this was a country that represented all the things I longed to experience and explore. Luck was on my side when a representative from the Explorers Club told a Bhutanese tour and trek operator about my television show, the “Unconventional Traveler.” We quickly formed a barter arrangement. I agreed to film and photograph the day-to-day life of Bhutan and create a 60- minute documentary to air on both American and Bhutanese television. My work would also appear in numerous national magazines and eventually lead to a book project. In exchange, my sponsor provided me with a guide and driver who would lead me across this breathtaking country.

I was as free as the wind and was given extraordinary access to secret festivals, ancient religious ceremonies, the King’s birthday celebration, an interview with the Prime Minister and rarely seen landscapes and monasteries.
My adventure started out as a quest to traverse the country from the remote Ha Valley on the western border with Tibet to the Trumsing-la Pass at 14,000 feet on the official border in the east. However, I quickly realized that the important goal wasn’t just getting from one destination to another. It was the enlightening journey itself, with the many valuable lessons I learned along the way, that counted the most.

The world-renowned Explorers Club bestowed the honor of carrying the Explorers Club Flag with me on this expedition. The award must be voted and approved on by the Flag Committee and the Board of Directors. A flag expedition must further the cause of exploration and field science. Since 1918 the flag has been carried on hundreds of expeditions — to both poles, to the highest peaks of the greatest mountain ranges, to the depths of the ocean and even into outer space.

One of the things that I love the most about being a documentary photographer is that the camera forces you to look at life up close. With a constant smile on my face and my ever-present camera around my neck, I was able to meet the friendly Bhutanese people and experience their Buddhist culture. They all became a part of my story and documentary, and their images will live on for future generations.

I feel my camera captured the spirituality of the country, and I don’t feel conflicted about my role when photographing secret religious rites because I approach it with sensitivity. My style is to be as unobtrusive as possible while allowing all of my senses to go into overdrive. The constant visual stimulation I experience from dawn to dusk leads to the decisive moments I capture on film — images that come from both my vision and my heart.

Daryl Hawk ’79 is a member of the Explorers Club, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and host and producer of the cablevision television show “The Unconventional Traveler.” For more information view his web site at www.hawkphotography.net


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