We made our way back the same way we had arrived. As we traveled back through red panda territory. I was excited for another chance to spot them.
I looked in trees. I looked in holes in the ground. I looked in the bamboo groves.
We finally reached the end of our journey, and I never did see a red panda. My friends asked me if I was disappointed and I realized that funny enough, I wasn't!
Having spent several days walking through red panda territory, I had learned so much about the environment from which they came. I saw the bamboo groves they go to eat, I heard the same sounds that they hear, I smelled the same smells that they smell.
For a short time, I shared a place on Earth with the red panda. Furthermore, I had learned that red pandas are truly elusive creatures which is all the more reason to want to try to protect them. It's very difficult for conservationists to know the exact number of red pandas that remain in the wild because they too have a hard time finding them!
Now that I've returned to San Francisco and had a chance to think back on my trip, I realize that my quest to find a red panda had created really vivid memories in my mind. My senses were on high alert as I walked through the forest and valleys. I don't think I would have taken the time to stop and enjoy the scenery as much if it hadn't been for my desire to get a glimpse of a red panda.
Thanks for reading this post! I hope that you are inspired to go out there into the world and look for whatever it is you would like to see. Just remember, whether you find exactly what you're looking for or not isn't the point, the experience of living life to the fullest and in the moment is the real key to happiness.
If you want to help conserve red pandas, please visit the Red Panda Network's website. They are a non-profit dedicated to conserving the red panda and its territory. They also organize a few trips to Nepal each year if you too would like to try to see red pandas in the wild.