Yak Butter Blues

Author(s): Brandon Wilson

Travel Narratives

A true tale of one couple's courage, love, faith and resolve to trek an ancient pilgrim's trail 1000-kilometers across Tibet. This story of human endurance looks at the valiant struggle of the Tibetan culture to survive - and at the humanity connecting us all.


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2005 Independent Publisher "IPPY" Award. Also selected as a "Highlighted Title" by Independent Publisher, honoring books for exhibiting superior levels of creativity, originality, high standards of design and superior production quality.

"Wilson observes the impact of the Chinese occupation on the daily lives of Tibetans, which distinguishes his book from Heinrich Harrer's classic Seven Years in Tibet, which took place before the invasion of China and the fleeing of the Dalai Lama. Recommended for adventure travel and Tibetan culture collections." ~ Library Journal "A moving and emotional testimony, and a travelogue that is the next most vivid experience to hiking upon the trail oneself." ~ Midwest Book Review "Any doubts I had about reading Yak Butter Blues melted away like yak butter under a hot sun as I came under the spell of Brandon Wilson's lively and vivid prose. He is a fine writer, perceptive, funny, and has a great way with words, making the book a whooping good read--an outstanding production." ~ Royal Robbins, world-renowned mountaineer and adventure kayaker "...A true pilgrimage, one that plumbs the heart of troubled Tibet..." ~ Honolulu Advertiser (Gannett) "...A high-altitude tale of synchronicity, divine providence, begging monks, trigger-happy Chinese soldiers and dehydration." ~ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "...An awesome (in that old sense of the word) tale...Brave believing people on both sides of this trek...and a tale that deserves the telling." ~ Marilis Hornidge, The Courier-Gazette (Maine) "Told with humour and insight, you experience life at true Tibetan pace: so close, you almost smell the yak butter." ~ Michael Buckley, author of Heartlands-Travels in the Tibetan World "...Vivid and engaging." ~ Honolulu Star-Bulletin "A wonderful and wild read...Brandon Wilson treats the distant worlds of Tibet as places that exist not only in the mathematics of geography, but also in the terra incognita of our imaginations. His writing is charged, alive, and a little threatening. Yak Butter Blues flickers insistently like a flashbulb afterimage in the mind long after the book is tucked away..." ~ Richard Bangs, adventurer, author, and producer of Richard Bangs Adventures "Are you ready for a walk? Because it's doubtful after reading "Yak Butter Blues" you'll be able to sit still." ~ Dan Austin, director of True Fans "Their journey across Tibet serves as a beacon of light for a repressed people held captive within their own country." ~ Jeff Alt, author of A Walk for Sunshine "A remarkable account of bravery and determination. Time and again Wilson shows us that hardships can become blessings." ~ Jean Aspen, author of Arctic Daughter: a wilderness journey and Arctic Son: fulfilling the dream "...An enthralling, remarkable trek of fortitude, substance, love and beauty." ~ Jeri Lynn Crippen, Lovin' Life News (Arizona) "...A mesmerizing read. This remarkable tale of one of the first trekkers' survival while "traveling deliberately," one-step-at-a-time, on an incredible odyssey across the vast and lonely country will fill readers with awe and respect." ~ Reiko Matsumoto, Travel Writer Marketletter "...A soaring travel diary. It places the reader in the thick of the action every bit as well as Marco Polo transported Italians to China and, as it seems to me, better than Lowell Thomas led readers in the dust of Lawrence of Arabia... Not one reader in a million will ever make the trek, but I don't think any reader - regardless of age or physical ability - will ever read this book without dreaming of the whole trip." (5 out of 5 shakas) ~ Joseph W. Bean, Book Reviewer, Maui Weekly (Hawaii) "Worth a read by any adventure or travel-trekking novel enthusiast." ~ J. Sinclair Oal, Backpacking Light "Edge of your seat" stuff. I could taste the bitterness of the "Yak Butter." What a wonderful experience." ~ John Sebastian, host, WABJ's Morning Show (Michigan) "If you've traveled independently through Tibet, Brandon Wilson's Yak Butter Blues will bring back memories...this lively memoir is sure to provide a yak-scented whiff of nostalgia." ~ Hannah Nordhaus, Kangri News (International Mountain Explorer's Connection) "In a world where everything seems out of our control, it is a rare occurrence to read about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Brandon Wilson, in his "Yak Butter Blues" gives us such a book. More like you and me instead of a Livingston or Mallory, Brandon and his wife Cheryl have an idea to walk the ancient pilgrimage route from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and they just do it. "Impossible!" say the Chinese officials, but the simple act of stepping one foot in front of the other is a force more powerful than instant travel in this era of bullet trains and supersonic jets. As a fellow adventurer, my future dreams come from seeds planted by reading about others travels. The wonder about Brandon's book is that he doesn't embellish the highs or ignore the lows. You experience the whole trek, the cold, the hunger, the fear but also the joy, the happiness, the accomplishment of having completed something 'impossible'. Read this book over and over to learn how perseverance in the face of hardship can give us both joy and hope along the road to our futures." ~ Jim Damico (wanderingtheworld.com) "Brandon Wilson is masterful in describing the hardships and trials of his 650-mile journey across Tibet. He's equally adept at describing this harsh yet wondrous, high landscape known as the "roof of the world." Wilson is at his best, however, when he talks about the enchanting warmth of the Tibetan people who, as he and his wife crossed on foot, took them into their homes and shared their culture. Hardly a holiday sightseeing safari, Wilson calls his trek a "walking meditation" in which the couple sees through the dust storms and freezing winds to learn the good will and kindness that has survived generations of oppression. In this strange paradise, Wilson finds commonality with the Tibetans, yet mourns the continuing disappearance of their culture, noting that soon little will remain of it but their ancient yak butter tea. Fortunately, so will his book." (5 stars) ~ Andrew F. O'Hara, author of The Swan: Tales Of The Sacramento Valley "Inspiring, Engaging, Compassionate! Brandon Wilson's Yak Butter Blues caught my attention from the first page and kept me engaged throughout. The story and writing had heart, adventure, devotion, and truth. When the book was over, I felt like I had trekked with the author and his wife and was sorry it had come to an end. I appreciated the skillful weaving of description of the land, interactions with the people, historical information, personal doubts, and triumphs. This book is a treasure to the Tibetan people and to the rest of the world. It gives us a true glimpse of Tibet and captures a beautiful land and culture that may not be around in years to come. Well done!" (5 stars) ~ Naomi C. Rose, award-winning author of Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas

BRANDON WILSON is an award-winning author and photographer, internationally published adventure writer, explorer and expert light trekker. A voracious explorer of over ninety countries, he's particularly passionate about inspiring others with the possibility of discovery through long distance trekking. Trekking across Tibet opened his eyes to the deep satisfaction of traveling 'one-step- at-a-time'. By slowing down, he believes we absorb the hidden magic in the world. We travel outside-while traveling within. Besides crossing Tibet, the author has twice hiked the famed Camino de Santiago across Spain, the St. Olav's Way across Norway, and he was the first American to complete the 9th century, 1150-mile Via Francigena trail from England to Rome. He also enjoys wandering long-distance GR trails across Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Tuscany, the Pyrenees, Dolomites and Alps. These physical, mental and spiritual journeys help fuel his irrepressible wanderlust. His first book, Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith won an Independent Publisher IPPY Award in 2005 and his latest book, Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa, premiered in November 2005. Wilson's photography has received awards from National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazines. The author is a member of The Explorers Club and Artists Without Frontiers. He is an ardent supporter of Tibetan rights.

Regional Map Tibet Route Map Introduction Chapter I Never Say Impossible Chapter II A Hundred Yak Butter Lamps Chapter III So Long, Shangri-La Chapter IV If Wishes Were Horses... Chapter V A Crooked Little Finger Chapter VI The Road Less Taken Chapter VII Showdown in Shigatse Chapter VIII Village Of Fear Chapter IX Passes And Passages Chapter X Keeping the Faith Chapter XI Zen Answers Chapter XII In Quest of Mount Everest Chapter XIII A Simple Act of Defiance Chapter XIV Words Of Hope Chapter XV The Snowy Road to Hell Chapter XVI A Bridge to Freedom Chapter XVII "Ghoda! Ghoda! Ghoda!" Chapter XVIII Flags Of Solidarity Epilogue Afterword To Become Involved Suggested Reading About the Author

General Fields

  • : 9780977053667
  • : pilgta
  • : pilgta
  • : November 2005
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Brandon Wilson
  • : Paperback
  • : 2nd Revised edition
  • : 915.150159
  • : 256
  • : 27 photos and maps