It felt like we were in Lord of the Rings
The first night we stayed in a flower covered meadow, where horses grazed around a gently bubbling stream and snow covered mountains gleamed in the distance. Scant preparation for the day that was to follow, in which we climbed into a landscape so barren and bleak that we celebrated any sign that human life - in the form of other trekkers - had been there before us.
It felt like we were in Lord of the Rings - the perpetual mountain path, and always the Mordor-like peak of Parang-La towering ahead - so we called our pack-carrying donkeys Frodo, Sam, Smeagle and Gandalf. We became quite attached to them over the course of the week. When we finally reached the huge glacier at the top of the 18,000ft mountain pass, we were happy for our two local guides to rush the animals down the other side to get them out of the snow. We took our time ourselves, picking our steps across the fields of ice. At the end of the week, having wound our way across the flat river valley floor, we reached Tso Moriri, a deep blue lake measuring 45km around, home to nomadic herders and their horses, sheep, goats and, incredibly, yak.
All this was a far cry from running management seminars for Longsho, the Tibetan youth movement, or watching game after game to select the Tibetan national football team. But perhaps it wasn't so distant from the six-day meditation retreat I did in McLeod Ganj, where I learned to concentrate on one breath, one step, one moment at a time.
So, I'm in Leh now, medieval capital of Ladakh, and one of the most interesting, picturesque cities I've ever visited. On Thursday I fly to Kolkata, where I'll spend a few days with my brother, who's volunteering with an Indian NGO for the summer. And then a week Wednesday, 28th July, it's back to England. To all those who are around, I'm looking forward to seeing you. And to all of you, I hope you're enjoying a fantastic summer.