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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.

Blog

Chitwan, Nepal

Candace Rose Rardon

(photo courtesy of Candace Rardon)

(photo courtesy of Candace Rardon)

A man from the Chitwan Forest Resort is holding a card with my name on it when I get off the bus from Kathmandu. My back and legs are stiff from the eight-hour journey, my mind still holding onto images of the city I couldn’t wait to leave: a caramel-colored river clogged with wet clothes and garbage, children touting bottled water at the bus stand when they should’ve been in school.

I leave my backpack at the resort, rent a bicycle in town, and set out for a nearby river. On either side of me are rice paddies the color of clover; beyond them, a hazy strip of blue mountains at the horizon; and in front of me, a rutted, unpaved road. Already I can feel it coming back, “it” being that elusive centeredness of being when you’re on the move. You either have it or you don’t.

I rattle past thatched houses, goats tethered to a fence, cows lumbering home to the low din of their clinking bells. At the river a herd of water buffalo are slowly making their way from bank to bank. A few women wade across behind them, silver water jugs balanced on their heads. I leave my bike at the Lama Café, walk to where a boy and his dug-out canoe wait to ferry me to the other side.

Beneath a purple sky, I step into the boat. The boy motions for me to sit, extends his pole into the water. We push off.

Candace Rose Rardon