“You won’t dare drop your summer classes that we paid for!” exclaimed my dad, shook by the thunderbolt I had just sprung at him. I had to make a choice between my career and my dream, and obviously, I chose the latter. The invitation to trot and blog about my adventures in Nepal through a government sponsorship wasn’t one that I took for granted. Little did I know, that this trip was going to be where the drift in the stream of my life would occur.
Before I could take time to process the news, I had started packing my backpack. ‘Twenty days; would I need a towel? And perhaps a thin blanket to keep me warm’ were only few of the thoughts that consumed me. In a week, I was about to be backpacking across the world from USA, to where nature’s pinnacles lay. Was it the part of the Himalayan Annapurna Circuit trek, or the accomplished travel writers all around me, that gave me this adrenalin rush? I still wonder.
All I knew was that I was the youngest darer to pounce onto this trip. Trekking through the wild for three days had so mysteriously seduced my ways. Even though I would be the last one following the hustle of ten experienced adventurers and our witty local guide, Nema, I would never quite catch up, uphill. At every rest-station, there would be these oddly cheerful bunch of strangers toward whom I felt a growing affinity.
“What would you like today? Some dal bhati and water?” Nema would ask with a warm smile, as I’d pant with dripping sweat. Night fell and intimate conversations in our shelters birthed. The two of my roommates were Heidi, a travel writer form Italy, and Marissa, a travel journalist from Cambodia. I do not know if it was the altitude sickness, the excessive dal bhati in our systems, or just the lack of choice, that helped us bond over tales of our voyages in spite of the unpleasant smell from our drenched clothes.
With stomach aches from laughs that we shared, we were set to further our journey every early dawn. Every time we crossed a village, my heart humbled from the passerby’s who bowed their heads smiling “Namaste!”. Galvanized, I would capture these fleeting moments in my camera and their essence in my journal.
I was at the airport unready to fly back home, when it hit me: Why am I thinking twice while leaving Nepal behind, when I didn’t care to think even once when I was leaving the summer classes at my university? I came back the first day of fall semester of junior year, and switched my major to my calling: Writing.
To read more about my trip to Nepal in 2017:
As always, I welcome feedback and questions, or just thoughts!
Until next blog,