What I’m Reading: Seven Years In Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

I always wanted to be Indiana Jones. The adventure, the danger, the glory…it captivated me as a child and it still finds its way into my dreams now and again.

So many books out there are adventures or tales of valor, but few of them are true stories. Seven Years In Tibet is about a man and his comrades attempting to flee from a POW camp and make it to safety within the walls of Tibet’s Forbidden City, Lhasa. The hunger, the mountains, the Yaks…Harrer details them all in a fluid nonchalance that is perfectly endearing.

A good portion of the story is the trek through the mountains and valleys, the people they meet and the comforts they wish they had while they avoid recapture and use their wit to move ever closer to the capital city. The other portion is about life in Lhasa and how the author made his way into the the presence of the living Buddha, the 14th Dalai Lama. This book takes place before the last Chinese invasion which overtook Tibet and removed the Dalai Lama from power and sent him into exile.

I love travel and hope to see many corners of the world throughout my life. With as tumultuous as the situation is in Tibet today with constant travel restrictions, the city may remain forbidden for some time to me. Thus, getting an insiders view of not only life in Lhasa but the life of the Dalai Lama and the Buddhist religion was fascinating for me to read about.

I’d recommend this memoir to anyone who wants an epic real-world adventure. It’s lacking the flowery language and flowing prose found in other author’s repertoires, as it’s written in more of a diary style, but even so it is beautiful to read. It may be years before I set my eyes on the Himalaya’s but I can still appreciate their magnificence now through Harrer’s tale. I plan to watch the movie as I’m hoping it captures the story as beautifully as my minds eye did and I’m hoping for some amazing cinematography. Brad Pitt can’t hurt the eyes either.

P.S.- If anyone can explain Butter Tea to me, I’d appreciate it. It’s intriguing yet sounds utterly gross.

You can order this book from Amazon here:

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