Part 1 – Journey, Khumbu, and Kathmandu
(Not to Sound Cliche but: At the Top of the World…Literally!)
It has been a long minute since we last shared in our adventures. I apologize. Life gets busy as we all know too well. If you are just joining us welcome. You can find the previous installment of this journey here. I welcome you now back to landscapes of far off lands.
Chapter 1: Of Beginnings, Both New and Old
(Brief Meetings and Short Days)
Upon boarding the aircraft I was seated next to a delightful Nepali woman who lived in the States but was visiting family outside of the Kathmandu Valley. I forget now where she was from in America and to my own shame I forget her name too, but again I remember that my impressions were nothing but good. She was a wealth of wisdom, Nepali knowledge and I think, for me at the time, the most important source to calm my stricken nerves. She was a life-giving well of encouragement.
At this point, with this new world so close at hand, the trepidation and anxiety were reaching an all time high.
What was I doing?
Was I prepared to go to a foreign land so far away from my home and all my family and friends?
Why did my stubborn self insist on jumping into the deep end by submerging myself in such a different culture than my own?
Questioned coursed through my mind and at some point I remember knowing that I made a mistake, I should have journeyed somewhere more comfortable. Somewhere like Europe, where at least our roots and values stem from similar histories.
Don’t get me wrong, I was so excited and happy that I could barely contain my energy but some of these bleaker thoughts were definitely flitting around in my mind.
This wonderful Nepali woman, bless her heart, recognized the anxiety of a first-time solo traveler. She knew I was headed to great adventure and knew I needed the push.
This was it, arrival was imminent. This moment was planned and researcher and, oh my god, was it waited for.
We crossed over the Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh. The landscape of Eastern India flew below us until we crossed into the low lands of southern Nepal. Out the window I caught my first glimpse. That was one of the many moments that will be forever cemented into my mind as life changing.
The Himalayan mountain range stretched out before me to be lost in the distance. These were my first views of that most legendary of mountain ranges.
White topped peaks seemed to sprout out of the brilliant green foothills to court the blue skies above them. A wave of enthusiasm and encouragement coursed through my veins. Adrenaline sent my heart racing. There, laid before my eyes, was the most impressive mountain range I have ever seen in my life. And somewhere, deep in the mountain valleys, somewhere high up its snowy slopes was my destination and my adventure.
We started our decent into the foothills to the valley of Kathmandu. After a seemingly flawless landing at Tribhuva International Airport, we disembarked directly onto the tarmac and were shuttled to the immigration station at the main terminal. I exchanged some USD into Nepalese Rupees (just enough for a cab into the city cause the airport prices for Rupees are straight extortion), bought some passport photos, stepped in line and, with nary a hitch, received my 30 day Nepalese Visa.
I smiled, for at last I had arrived!