All I had ever really known about Tibet growing up was that it was the highest region on Earth (averaging 16,000 feet), that its had a long history of conflict with the Chinese government and above all that they are one of the most stunning cultures in the world. Having always been fascinated by nomads, I came across a photographer who had once lived and documented there and I was quickly determined to go. Due to the growing restriction by the mainland, this ancient way of life is quickly coming to an end. I knew I needed to go soon.
After 4 days of flights and 16 hours on buses through the Tibetan plateau, we finally arrived to Taktsang Lhamo. There we met up with our two nomad guides, Tashi and Tsome. We rode on horseback for 6 hours through the valley, up into the mountains and across the grasslands. With sun-scorched faces and frozen fingers, we had finally arrived to Tsome's tent where his wife was making handmade noodle soup with sun-baked yak meat.
The tent was roughly 20x20 feet with a section reserved for the dry yak dung to fuel the cast iron stove. Other than this, the rest was sparsely populated with blankets, pots, pans, a radio and an overhead light powered by battery. We ate, played card games we could not understand, sang Tibetan songs we could not understand, laughed till we cried, took photos, videos and blew through two packs of polaroids. Late in the evening, having fully thawed from the cold, we fell asleep under a pile of blankets, sheep skin and yak wool.
After taking part in the morning routine of hauling water, yak milking and making breakfast we took again to our horses to explore the surrounding mountain range. When we finally said goodbye, we left them as friends and with promises of a return that we plan to keep.
By Eden Frangipane