Part 1 – Journey, Khumbu, and Kathmandu
(Not to Sound Cliche but: At the Top of the World…Literally!)
Once again I implore you to strap in. We have done as much set-up as required, now it is time for us to take the first steps upon our journey together. For those of you just joining us, this is a continuation of the journals I kept while travelling through Southern Asia. Part one can be found here. Take a step with me into the unknown. Follow as we recreate a journey of, dare I say, epic proportions!
Chapter 1: Of Beginnings, Both New and Old
(Brief Meetings and Short Days)
It seems so long ago now but really what is a month and a couple of days in the scheme of life. I have already seen and done so much though, that it feels like an entire lifetime since I journeyed from the comfortably familiar regions of Southern California.
On October 23, 2012 I left home for what is fastly becoming the greatest journey of my young life. My Mom and Dad drove me to LAX that Tuesday afternoon, both of them full of what appeared to be trepidation, hope and wonder. Both full of well wishes, they brought me to a simple lunch in the terminal and watched as I passed from their view behind security. I believe, for me, that this was the moment when everything became real. No more was my proposed adventure a fleeting dream gently pressing on the back of my mind. At that moment, when I watched as the last two familiar faces I would see for sometime disappeared behind the wall, I was living the dream.
No job, no worries, no tethers and no telling where my feet were going to take me. Life was utterly beautiful in that moment. I was gone.
At the end of the hall lay an Airbus A380, a titan of air travel, and that plane was going to take me farther away from home and everyone that I love, then I had ever been in my life.
As I boarded I remember sending a last text message to a friend, realizing that for the next few days it would be the last contact I was going to have. That is the exact moment it all became real. That is the moment when the shear epicness of what I was doing sent a trickle of apprehension and trepidation down my spine. For the first time I realized how utterly alone I was truly going to be on the other side of the world.
I sat back in my seat on Singapore Airlines (best flight I’ve ever been on, by the way) and willed my mind to focus on the enjoyment, excitement and stunning vistas I was about to experience. That trepidation was certainly a strong emotion running through me but I believe it was far outweighed by my adrenaline, excitment, enthusiasm and, most importantly, by my sense of adventure. There is way too much beauty in this world to lock yourself at home in comfort and not see any of it.
The plane took off and I got a stunning image as we rose above the silver reflection of the Sun on the mighty Pacific. I gazed out my window as we passed over Catalina Island, standing alone and strong in the ocean of metallic reflection surrounding it. We journeyed on, rising ever higher above the clouds to reach our cruising altitude above the Earth.
The first stage of my journey was underway. Tokyo here I come! “Tokyo?” You might ask, “I thought we were going to Kathmandu? I thought we had Himalayas in our future. Mount Fuji is cool and all but I was promised Everest and the real giants.” Patience I ask of you. All in good time. LAX to Narita is but the first jump to get me to the other side of the ocean, to get me to Asia; from there we continue on until eventually we get to my current seat on the terrace at Potala Guest House.
But again I jump way too far into the future. This is a month and a Khumbu journey away from where my pen is now. Let me take you back to my comfortable, 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo.