Part 1 – Journey, Khumbu, and Kathmandu
(Not to Sound Cliche but: At the Top of the World…Literally!)
Come with me to the beginnings of the Journey! Those of you who know me know what journey I am talking about. Let’s be honest, I haven’t shut up about it in the last 3 years. If you have ever experienced an undertaking of this magnitude, you know why I haven’t shut up about it. If you have not then let me inspire you to travel on your own and learn first hand the excitement and adventure involved in purchasing that one way ticket to a place so alien to your way of life that it might as well be on a different planet. I hold a firm belief that at least once in your life you should travel to a place where no one within a thousand miles knows your name or a single thing about you. As you meet new faces day after day you learn to leave behind the vision you have of yourself; the one that has been warped by all of the people in your life’s preconceived notions of who you are as a person. Think about it. You have best friends and you have family and I almost guarantee to you that each group experiences a very different version of who you are as a person. That is because you change yourself, ever so slightly, to be the person that they think you are. Now travel around half the world. Meet people who have none of those preconceived notions and you can invent any person you want to be around them. You can change characters like a quiver of masks. Eventually you will find a mask that you like. One that you tend to wear with these new friends more than any other. That, my friend, is the person you want to be!! It is amazing what you can learn when you leave your comfort zone.
What you are about to read is the first part of the journey I took to the foreign lands of Southern Asia. I climbed mountains, jumped from bridges, ate foreign foods, swam in foreign oceans, and walked long roads. I slept on train floors, bus roofs and at altitudes over 16,000 ft. I shared meals with many strangers and shared stories of our cultures. We played many a game of cards in many different cities and shared countless memories that will last forever.
Much of this tale will be copied from journals that I kept throughout the trip. And the other pieces will be carefully reconstructed from the less than perfect memories stored in my head. This introduction comes from the former, I hope you enjoy what is to come. I know I sure did and I cannot tell you how excited I am to share it with you.
Introduction: Of Life, Locations, Learning and Loss
(Let’s Try Not to Lose This One)
I sit right now in my room at the wonderful Potala Guest House in the very heart of Kathmandu’s tourist district of Thamel. My journey thus far has had some ups and downs (mostly ups I must say). This journal is my attempt to re-create the previous one that I traveled with up in the mountains of the Khumbu region of Nepal. I will do my utmost to re-create events leading up to today as accurately and detailed as possible. Life has an interesting way of taking us places we never thought to go; of driving us to strength we never thought we possessed; of sending us on journeys we never thought we would undertake; and most importantly, of bringing together amazing people from all over the globe to enjoy and share with us these experiences. This is the story of my current journeys through the breathtaking continent of Asia and the people and places I have met along the way. My experiences have wowed me and I will lay them here, as truthfully as I can recall, for you to enjoy with me. After a month of travel I have learned much about myself and, most importantly, I have learned how much there is that I still haven’t seen and don’t know. Life is a journey. People sometimes forget to let it take them to new, sometimes uncomfortable, exciting places. I will end this introduction with a brilliant quote from an amazingly brilliant author:
“There is only one road; it is like a great river: its springs are at every doorstep, and every path is its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'”
Even years later, I respect this quote and author so much that it has found a place on the Home page of this site.
I lament the loss of my original journal but I will do my best to re-create my adventure here. Not only so that I may read and revisit these places in the future but also so that you all can possibly be taken on that journey with me. I have said it before and I will say it again. For those who know me well, you are aware of my love for books and the journeys that a skilled author can take you on with mere words. Individual words are like strands of colored string to me. By themselves they can be beautiful and hold the briefest of meanings. Intertwine a few together to form a sentence and they become even more beautiful and useful tools, like a brightly colored rope. A good writer has the skills to take these beautiful words and weave them through the most complicated patterns. Thousands of strands with thousands of colors get woven together to create a tapestry of unrivaled beauty. The pictures they paint, with mere black ink, can stand for centuries as works of art. They can ignite the imaginations of generations and influence the passions of entire peoples. I will stress this now, to you, so as not to get your hopes up too high. I am no weaver of words, I am no spinner of tales and I am certainly not an igniter of dreams. My feeble attempts at word play will never rank among the greats. But I can promise to include, in the upcoming pages, accurate accounts from what my mind remembers of my journeys. I will always be honest, I will be humble when appropriate, and I will revel in my own amazingness when it suits my purposes. For my abysmal diction and spelling, I will apologize and remind you that my talents are very far away from the creative arts.
I believe that I have now bored you for far too long. Like me, you are now itching for a spectacular account of my journeys through the mountains of Khumbu/Sagarmatha and the scenes I saw and the wonderful people I have journeyed with. You must wait a brief moment longer tho; for I still must set the scene. How did I get from my wonderful Mission Viejo, CA home to the wonderfully desolate regions of the high Himalayas? What miraculous and amazing things did I see along the way? Who did I meet and what did they teach me? Let me first take you from sunny California, across oceans and land, to the spectacularly different setting of the valley of Kathmandu.