I read To a Mountain in Tibet, your new book, last night. It’s a different sort of travel book for you – a journey to Mt Kailash in western Tibet that was inspired by deaths in your family. What did you want to achieve with this book?
That journey, in part, was a kind of secular pilgrimage after the death of my father, mother and sister. One can’t explain why someone with agnostic tendencies such as myself should go to a mountain which is holy to others outside his tradition – moreover, all of the comfort that those in mourning are offered in the Christian tradition is denied in Buddhism and Hinduism. So it’s a very irrational journey, if one thinks of it as seeking intellectual or emotional comfort. I simply wanted to walk to an object of holiness in the landscape, and it seemed to me that Kailash was holy in itself, whatever that means.
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