I have always dreamed of making a far-away journey. With a bus, a plan, a tour guide, on a marked path. I imagined walking a 100km in a week would be an extraordinary effort for a women. And then I came across Seven Years in Tibet….
I felt very small after reading the book, and the world suddenly felt so big. A bad feeling, or actually a liberating one?
It’s easy to forget that there are more than 5,000 religions in the world, that people live in all kind of societies, observing all kinds of habits and traditions. Reading Seven Years in Tibet makes you feeling small–but definitely notbad!
Harrer’s account of his long walk through Himalayas to the capital of Tibet, Lhasa-the forbidden city, is an ideal book to read if you’d like to widen your horizon–both about your own abilities, and about the world.
Forced march through the mountains
Harrer didn’t pick his route – he had to take it, escaping detention in a war-prisoners camp in India. He knew the way to freedom led through the high passes of Himalayas, many of which had never before been traversed by a foreigner before. And he also knew his equipment wasn’t sufficient, and that he and his companion might die on the road. Yet he took the risk. Why?
For a pure desire to be free, to explore, to conquer the mountains. Harrer was more than just a prisoner. He was an explorer, a mountaineer, an elite athlete. He wasn’t afraid of going into the unknown, and that’s one of the things that inspired me most about his book.
The forbidden city and young Dalai Lama
Once surviving his extraordinary journey to Lhasa, Harrer explored something else than the mountains. He mapped the life of locals, getting as close as possible, befriending Dalai Lama himself! He tried to find out what’s better and what’s worse compared to the way we live in the modern world, analyzing things rather than judging them. He remained a true explorer of both mountains and life, and definitely helped me to opening my eyes…. If you like mountains, if you want to learn something about Himalayas and Tibet, this is definitely the best book you can search for. Amazon offers it for a good price here.
What others had said
- Harrer did an excellent job of observing Tibetan life from 1944 to 1950 being careful to keep his own personal opinions/beliefs out of the way. By the time he was forced to leave because of the Chinese invasion, he was deeply attached to the people and the country.
- Don’t let the fact that Seven Years in Tibet has been made into a movie stop you from picking up a copy of Heinrich Harrer’s classic, real-life adventure. Whatever the movie’s merits, or lack thereof, by most accounts the original story–the book–remains the best-told version of an incredible journey.