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Maheta Ram. One of perhaps five remaining fully tatooed Ramnamis _COPYRIGHT_UntamedBorders 2015

Autumn 2015 
Newsletter

In this issue:

  • A note from James
  • Recent trips
  • Trek with us in 2016
  • Adventure Travel Show, London 2016

A note from James Willcox, Founder


Why travel? For adventure, new experiences, fun? OK, but why pick a certain place to visit? I find this harder to answer. Maybe it's an image, a story or simply an idea of a place. I try not to think too hard about this as the reasons to travel somewhere you've never been will always be ephemeral.

A case in point when I visited India recently. I had been meaning to visit Chhattisgarh for nearly 8 years, after hearing from a passing traveller about a small sect of the untouchable Dalit cast that tattooed their whole bodies with the word Ram. “Ram, Ram, Ram. Everywhere, the whole body, eyelids, ears, even, you know, down below.”

That was an image I could never forget. So this summer I headed to Chhattisgarh to see what remained of what I had since learnt was the Ramnami community. 3 hours drive from the capital Raipur on a muggy day late in the monsoon season I drove into a small village where I knew one man from the community lived. Whilst the Ramnami community is quite large, they are spread out and only 5 members still have the full body tattoos.

As we rolled up to a small wooden house, working in the small paddy field opposite was Meheta Ram. Every inch of his body covered with the word Ram, in homage to Lord Rama. Happy to chat he said “I died when I was twenty years old”. He was reborn with that first tattoo and became Meheta Ram.

Meheta Ram told me that each human body has 30 million pores. Every second of every day, each pore calls out the name Ram. That even if we do not know it, we can hear Ram calling. He said he could prove it, that his body was calling out Ram and that I could hear it and his evidence was standing in front of him. Me. I had heard Ram calling me for many years and here I was. It was hard to argue.

So, added to the long list of reasons of why we travel is the voice of various gods calling to us from across the world.
 
All the best for the rest of 2015.
 
James
Copyright_MarathonofAfghanistan

Recent Untamed Borders trips


2015 has been an interesting year for Untamed Borders! Check out our latest news or our Facebook page for more info. A few highlights:

Marathon of Afghanistan. This was simply a great success! For details of the race and what played out check out this short video or read these Guardian articles, one by the race winner, another about a female Afghani marathon runner.  This Daily Mail article also captures the story with some great photos.
 
If you're keen to join us in 2016, get in touch. If you can't wait until next Autumn to compete in Bamian join us on our Afghan Ski Challenge trip 

Horn of Africa. We recently guided a trip to the inhospitable Danakil Depression. Home to the hottest inhabited place on the planet, temperatures reached 47C! Our guest visited one of the few permanently active lava lakes in the world at Erta Ale and spent time with the Afar tribes people. We will be returning on our Horn of Africa trip in March 2016 

Russian Caucasus. A curiosity-filled private trip to the North Caucasus and the little visited republic of South Ossetia took place in July.

Trek with Untamed Borders in 2016

A full list of our fixed date trips for 2016 can be found on our website.
Some highlights: 
Throneroom of the Mountain Gods photo_copyright Untamed Borders

The throne room of the Mountain Gods

This trek to K2 Base Camp and Concordia in Northern Pakistan includes walking the entire length of the 62km Baltoro Glacier leading into the most glaciated high mountain terrain on the planet. 7 of the world's 25 highest peaks rise above you. The trek to Concordia is a once in a lifetime experience and is glacier trekking at its best.
Afghanistan photo_copyright Untamed Borders

New trek -- Traverse from Ladakh to Kashmir

In September 2016 Untamed Borders will be running the 1st commercial trekking expedition since the 1990’s to traverse from Ladakh into the Kashmiri Himalayas. On this pioneering trek we will scale high Himalayan mountain passes, visit holy Hindu shrines and enjoy downtime in the culturally rich regional capitals of Leh and Srinigar. 
Ski Afghanistan photo_copyright Untamed Borders

New trek -- Heavenly Tajikistan

in August 2016 we will be Trekking the Pamir Mountains, one of the least known and least visited yet spectacular mountain ranges there are. Along the way we will stay in the homes of Pamiri natives, camp near centuries old caravanserais and explore the shores of shimmering blue alpine lakes. To complete the traverse the team scale a mountain pass that’s taller than Mont Blanc.

Join us at the Adventure Travel Show 2016  

Meet us at the Adventure travel show in Olympia in London on 23rd & 24th January 2016. Get your tickets to The Adventure Travel Show 2016 for only £4 when booking in advance! Just quote ‘UNTAMED’ when booking tickets online or when calling 0871 230 7159. 
 
If any of the above trips sound tempting or you'd like to have a chat with one of the Untamed Borders team please get in touch.

If you do not feel like getting in touch but want to get a further feel of what Untamed Borders has to offer then check out this short SBS Australia documentary about travel to unusual destinations. It features a previous Untamed Borders guest, as well as James from Untamed Borders.
 

The Untamed Borders Team
November 2015

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