on December 20, 2012
There is a poem by Robert Frost about taking the road less traveled and how it made all the difference. To me, the trip to Nepal was my "road less traveled". So often these days tours are on buses. You see the world but you don't get to touch it or to interact with it. My recent Earthbound Expedition trip was nothing like that. There were 18 of us in the group from different parts of the world. Our trip was arranged by Earthbound Expeditions. It was for 10 days and included yoga, meditation, and 5 days of trekking in the Annapurna region (specifically, the Ghorepani Loop) and a few days in Pokhara and Kathmandu. The treks were about 6-8 hours a day (depends how fast you go), with tea stops (loved the teas!) and lunch breaks (loved the momos and dhal bhat!). You have to be pretty fit to be able to climb uphill and downhill (which was harder) all day long. You also have to be humble enough to rest, take it slow and admit that you're not in a race with anyone. If you have any kind of knee pain, be sure to bring your prescription anti-inflammatory meds. Wear thick hiking socks (I used Thorlo and SmartWool) and learn to tie your hiking boots properly so your toes don't hurt on the downhill. But most of all, you must remember to look up and around you and take photos. The tendency is to keep watching the trail since the path is uneven. If you don't stop and look you will miss the forests and the mountains. Also, look back at where you came from. It's a great feeling to see how far you've trekked.We trekked so high it sometimes felt like we were in the clouds. Snow-covered mountain peaks, terraces, blue sky, forests, waterfalls, hanging bridges, and prayer flags blowing in the wind! Although Poon Hill was definitely a highlight, the whole trip itself brought wonderful experiences every day. I shared stories with people from Singapore, Spain, China, Australia, UK, Germany, Sweden, etc. along the trails. Everyday I was greeted "Namaste" by locals carrying hay, by mothers carrying a baby on their back, or porters carrying luggage on their forehead(!). It was an unforgettable experience. Listen to Rajan's advice. I appreciated his honesty when he said to manage our expectations. The accommodations were bare (but clean) and the walls were thin. Hot showers were hard to come by (and bathrooms had no hooks for towels and such). But there was Everest beer and even good wine in some places. There was no electricity in one of the lodges (use your headlamp). Yet it was those experiences that made the trip matter (so many great stories to tell!). Besides, what is 5 days? Despite having now returned to the luxuries of a western lifestyle, I miss Nepal! I especially appreciate and thank our team of porters and guide (Shree, Debendra, Dambar, Padam, Dhan, etc.). I wish I had gotten to know each of them more. Thank you to Earthbound Expedition for giving me a chance to have this unforgettable experience (pilgrimage you could say). I look forward to visiting Nepal again in the future. And I will definitely go with Earthbound Expedition again.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009