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Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said "I Do," and Found Bliss Paperback – April 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As engaging and magical as Bhutan itself, written with heart and insight, Married to Bhutan is a wonderful memoir and a great journey.”

Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Theif

 



“Married to Bhutan is wonderfully wise and endearing, much like the Himalayan kingdom that is its subject. Leaming’s graceful, witty prose captures the magic of Bhutan, a place where happiness is more than just a nice idea. It is a way of life. “

Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss

 



 “After reading this book, I wanted to marry Bhutan—and Linda Leaming. I was inspired by Linda’s open-hearted embrace of such a completely different culture and way of life, take lack of plumbing as just one small example. In the end, her book is about openness and love and how they are expressed in the caring actions of ordinary Bhutanese people. Linda shows us the beauty of Bhutan and expresses a tenderness toward her earthly in-laws that inspires me to open my own heart more and helps me realize that we are all bigger and more capable of love and adventure than we can imagine. “

Cyndi Lee, Founder, OM yoga

 



 “Paradise exists and you can find it within the pages of this book, which provides a delightful and charming trek through the happiest, most beautiful, and most serene place on earth, Bhutan. A must-read for all those who know that the best journey¹s take place in multiple dimensions simultaneously.”

Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret

 

About the Author

Linda Leaming is a writer whose work has appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, Mandala, Guardian UK, A Woman's Asia (Travelers' Tales), and many other publications. Eric Weiner included her in his bestseller, The Geography of Bliss. Originally from Nashville, she has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona; and she regularly speaks about Bhutan at colleges, churches, seminars, and book groups. She is married to the renowned Bhutanese thanka painter, Phurba Namgay. Find her at: www.marriedtobhutan.com and www.twitter.com/lindaleaming.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401928463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401928469
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I travel abroad the way Nancy Pearl does. I read books about far away places. Married to Bhutan transported me to one of these places for the last two days. This "must read" book is smooth butter on hot homemade bread and twice as enticing. Leaming's journey literally lifted and carried me to a far away Himalayan kingdom where I was transformed by her encounters with the beauty of the land, history, culture, and people she grew to know well and love. I visited that country with her and was taken to a place deep in my soul. The book is liberally sprinkled with "Ha" and "Aha" moments and is a seamless account of a journey of the heart. Two days with this book gave me enough to ponder for a lifetime.
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I lost myself completely in this book. Humorous, entertaining, witty, fun and insightful, Married to Bhutan makes you think about what you love and how to find yourself. Anyone who has ever entertained the idea that we are simultaneously in charge of our destiny and NOT in charge of our destiny will love this book. Self-deprecating and funny, Linda makes us appreciate both the awkwardness and the beauty of everyday events and tells a love story about life in a way that is appealing to everyone. This book makes you laugh and want to love something and someone so clearly and with such abandon that you cannot put it down. I loved reading it and started over once I had finished so as not to allow the glow of its pages to fade!!!!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The memoir Married to Bhutan is a joy to read. It's an earnest, lighthearted, colorful account of leaving the fast-paced, consumption-driven American life behind to live in one of the most isolated and beautiful spots on the planet. Bhutan is most famous because its king promotes Gross National Happiness over GDP, and because he voluntarily transitioned his country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy. Bhutan is not easy to get to. It's a tiny country between India and the Tibetan region of China, with the Himalayan Mountains to its north, west and east and thick jungles to its south.

Author Linda Leaming first visited Bhutan in 1994 as part of a trip that included many other countries. Bhutan's stunning landscapes, friendly people and sometimes difficult but overall relaxed lifestyle won her heart, so in 1997 Leaming left her job, family and friends to work as a volunteer English instructor at a small art school. It was there that she met her future husband, a Bhutanese thanka painter.

Reading Married to Bhutan is a mini-escape in itself, and it's both funny and informative. Leaming spends eight pages illustrating the leisurely manner in which things get done in Bhutan by describing how she went about purchasing handmade envelopes, Indian glue and sealing wax so she could mail a few letters. This involved many stops and much post-transaction drinking of tea with the shopkeepers. The mission ends at the post office where she could select from stamps so beautiful and unusual they are collected by people around the world. Leaming reports that the Bhutenese have printed stamps with reproductions of Japanese and European paintings, 3D stamps of the lunar landing, and stamps with Gandhi, American astronauts, Princess Diana, dragons, flowers, Buddhas, yaks and birds.
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Format: Paperback
I was a little skeptical when I received a complimentary copy of Married to Bhutan from Hay House as part of their blogger program. The book description looked interesting, but I was one of the few people who put "Eat Pray Love" down without finishing it. Even as a lover of biographies, I thought, "Does the world really need another story about a United States citizen finding a deeper meaning in life halfway around the world?" I'm happy to say I was absolutely wrong; Married to Bhutan is enchanting.

Linda Leaming honestly and compassionately builds a beautiful bridge to another culture. She relates her experiences in a self-deprecating, often funny, way, and yet always holds a sensitivity for her surroundings. Her curiosity and reverence are contagious. I normally finish books very quickly, but I made myself read slowly, in my own nod to the pace of Bhutan.

I also loved her observations about Western culture. She gracefully avoids the easy temptation of making Western life intrinsically bad and her new life in the East automatically good. Instead, her different circumstances bring perspective to her prior life. At one point she embraces her new connection to nature by stating, "To truly see something, we don't need to rely on senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing. For clear perception, we need to rely more on natural, not reasoned, impulses."

I encourage you to pick up Married to Bhutan. It is an insightful celebration of life, love and travel. Like me, you may find yourself swept away by this quietly magical book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Married to Bhutan is the best book I've read this year so far. And I stumbled upon it by accident. I was looking at Eric Raff's "No Sense of Direction" and this was one of the "customers also read" choices. Since Leaming's memoir is about following your intuition and about choices, I like the fact that it fell into my lap.

When I was about 13, my English teacher at my school in Ireland left and went to Bhutan. She came back and did a slideshow for the whole school. I just remember how happy and relaxed she seemed. There was one picture of her sitting in an outdoor bath, smiling, with a grinning young Asian man pouring water over her. All the girls laughed nervously. I never forgot how she had "followed her bliss." I can't remember if she came back to teach, or returned to Bhutan. But it was a rare glimpse of someone daring to make an unconventional choice.

To get back to Leaming's memoir. It's beautifully written. A tongue in cheek humor comes through in the first part, where Leaming describes her experiences teaching English at a school in Bhutan. Her efforts to learn Dzongkha, the Bhutanese language, are truly hilarious. I guess I wondered why she was so desperate to fit in in this foreign country. The funny thing about the book for me is that as it progressed, I really didn't take to Bhutan! I realized that I would be quite unhappy there, what with the isolation, the crazy roads, the religious conformity, not having water on a regular basis, and so on. But I never for a moment doubted Leaming's love of the country. And I found her description of her relationship with her now husband, a thanka painter at the school, quite touching. There is a picture of them together at the end that melted my heart. They look right together.
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