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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons


I try to have control over a great number of things in my life, often times fearing uncertainty or times of boredom. The past three months I have done less grasping for plans, and have found myself letting go to experience some incredibly raw, beautiful moments. I couldn’t anticipate most of the conversations, observations on the street, the laughter in morning check ins, or the breathtaking sunsets over our tents. I also couldn’t prepare for waking up sick, getting stressed while lost in the city, having to pee uncontrollably with a UTI, or smiling/crying at the will of the mountains looming all around my little seat on a rock. The best part of reflecting on all that’s happened, is realizing that no large positive or negative moment overshadows the rest. They all just kind of fit into one big, messy blob of memories I’ll be trying to put into words for friends and family.

The past two weeks I hiked through the Himalayas with the 16 people of my hilarious, inspiring dragons family as well as about 16 porters/kitchen crew. We started out on the Tamang Heritage Trail and then ascended to a the sparkling, sacred Gosaikunda Lake, a famous pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists. When we arrived at each camp site after long days my jaw dropped in awe that we were going to be sleeping in such beautiful places after hours of views just as wonderful. I experienced some of the most tranquil, heart wrenching, challenging moments on the trails, weaving through switch backs, mountain passes, and canopied forests. Beginning in Kathmandu at 5,000 feet, we got all the way up to 15,000 at the pass of Gosaikunda, where you could see a pillow of fog covering the valley bellow! Along with the miles of walking, I got into a routine that became lovely, dirty, and surprisingly comfortable. I definitely grew to appreciate the short lived simple, minimal lifestyle. It turns out you don’t need a hot shower, phone, or immediate access to chocolate cravings to be content. The company of super cool, interesting people works out perfectly. Also fleece pants. Here are some moments strung together that made it what it was:

Waking up next to my tent mates breathing fresh cold air out of the little opening of my mummy sleeping bag

Drinking three cups of milk chia before my shoes were laced up or teeth brushed

Walking on a ridge line high above the clouds with snowy peaks greeting me in mystery and familiarity (altitude in my eye’s favor but not my lungs)

Hungrily eating two portions of dal bhat like it’s a delicacy even though it’s been our whole diet for three months

Dipping my hands in water with sheets of ice floating around to wash dishes and then warming by the porter’s fire

Laughing my way through heated games of euchre in the tea houses or dining tent

Re-using sweaty, dirty clothes so many times they were essentially a part of me as well as keeping in two french braids for 15 days  to avoid the unavoidable fate of dread locks.

Crowding into one tent with all the girls to read the whimsical story of The Hobbit before bed.

These are the most fresh memories in my heart, but I was fortunate enough to have endless more across the country, with new families who welcomed me under their rooves and friends who taught me about their religion, culture, and home. Traveling through Nepal with a bit of flexibility and willingness to stride through new situations with grace has brought a wonderful simplicity and complex beauty into my life I couldn’t have imagined before leaving.