After 100 hours in Tibet, I knew it was time to leave

Source: BBC News

In time, like space, a curious mathematics often takes hold. The fewer things you have in your memory, the more space each one has to reverberate inside you. A brief trip can be like an empty room in a Japanese tea house: if there’s nothing there but a single scroll, that scroll becomes the universe. Sometimes, I’ve found, it’s only by keeping an outer journey short that you can make the inner journey that follows echo across a lifetime.

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The fewer things you have in your memory, the more space each one has to reverberate inside you

I wasn’t thinking any of this consciously when my plane from the Chinese city of Chengdu touched down on a deserted airstrip miles from Lhasa, the longtime capital of Tibet, in September 1985. The opposite: I was a kid in his 20s playing hooky from my 25th-floor office in Midtown Manhattan, where I was writing articles on world affairs for Time magazine. I’d managed to escape from my office on a six-month leave of absence, and soon after arriving in China, I’d become aware that Tibet was now open to foreigners, really for the first time ever.

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