Harper's Bazaar March 2016 - Page 284

ESCAPE Bazaar SANCHITA AJJAMPUR: MYANMAR Designer Myanmar has always been a fascinating place, but until the early ’90s tourism was discouraged. For a long time, it was very difficult to enter the country. I finally managed a trip with my two daughters in 2010, and was mesmerised by its beauty and serenity. Our holiday was full of contrasts and surreal experiences—visiting pagodas nestled among stunning landscapes, spending time at an orphanage where my daughters took a class with the students, boat rides on Inle Lake, where we visited tribes dressed all in black, which evoked a rather apocalyptic mood at the time, juxtaposed by an unnerving, palpable restlessness, since our visit was shortly before the general election when Aung San Suu Kyi was still under house arrest. My most memorable experience was visiting the Vipassana Buddhist temple in Yango—the peace, quiet, and spirituality inspired me to take up meditation, which often helps me combat the effects of a rather hectic work and travel schedule. NAMRATA JOSHIPURA: TREKKING IN NEPAL The Annapurna base camp is the most spectacular vision of the Annapurna range, and you experience it with such closeness—it’s mindblowing. The day our trek finished, we were hit by an earthquake while we were still in the valley. Each trek is already a very emotionally charged experience, and then comes the earthquake. At that moment you realise how fragile life is, and how little control you have over your circumstances. I’m a long-distance runner and train to pace myself, and control the way I move, the time, distance, and speed, and that tends to become a natural habit. In a situation like this, you’re in shock at what life can throw at you. Apart from that realisation, I also developed deep bond with my trekking mates. The trek was a year ago but that connection will last for a lifetime. We became an extended family because of our shared experience—we were physically pushed to our limits during the trek, and then faced with the vulnerability of life because we were stranded, and then finally evacuated. 284 (From top) Pagodas at sunrise in Bagan, Myanmar; young Buddhist monks in Myanmar; a sunset over Mt. Machapuchare in the Annapurna Range; the Annapurna circuit, Nepal. IMAGES COURTESY ZHAN TIAN/MM GETTY; MARTIN PUDDY/MM GETTY; NORA CAROL PHOTOGRAPHY/ MM GETTY; FENG WEI PHOTOGRAPHY/MM GETTY; NAMRATA JOSHIPURA; SANCHITA AJJAMPUR Designer