Reminds me of that old Greek — ahem, excuse me, Hellenic — proverb, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
And your comment about Bhutan reminds me of an episode of the travel show An Idiot Abroad (which I highly recommend), where Karl goes to meet the chief of the tribe who originally invented bungee jumping.
“He’s the happiest man in our tribe,” the translator tells Karl. “So we made him our chief.”
Well there you go.
Mongolia is definitely on my list of destinations. It’s actually moving up my list, because it’s been strongly recommended to me by three people over the past few weeks. Tajikistan intrigues me too, and so does Uzbekistan. Iran wouldn’t let me in (American passport and all) but I’m hoping that may change someday. I’d love to see Isfahan and Tabriz, because I’ve studied the miniature paintings, and the Shahnameh absolutely captivated me. Rumi writes beautiful things, too, though I’m not as well-read in his work as I should be. And then there’s Persepolis and Pasargadae, of course. So many places to see…