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

Better late than never? Hopefully?

Hey everyone,

I’m sorry that I’m so late in doing this… The procrastinator in me is very strong. Please know its not out of disrespect. I just have trouble convincing myself to do things sometimes.

Anyway, my name is Michael, and I’m 19. I’m from a suburb about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. After this trip, I will be doing a semester-long art program in Ireland. I’ll be attending Washington University in St. Louis next year.

I was inspired to travel to Nepal, amongst other reasons, because of an intense fascination that was sparked when I saw story about a man named Wim Hoff, a so called “ice-man” who summited Mt. Everest in only a pair of shorts and boots in only two days. I became determined to learn how he did it. I researched online what I could and realized that the way he described his technique was similar to a martial art known as known as Iron Shirt Chi Kong, a practice that hardens the individuals skin and body, insulating them from both attacks and cold. I am accompanying you in Nepal in order to find a master to teach me the Iron Shirt so that I may too, one day, summit Everest in nothing but a pair of shorts and boots.

Just messing with you! Although Wim Hoff and the iron shirt technique are real, I’m afraid my motivation isn’t as mystical as the story above. In truth, I’m a suburban kid who thought that going to college next year sounded dreadful and wanted to find out what the world outside mine was like before being sucked back into the grind of school. I want to learn about a place by going there instead of in the class room and not as a tourist- but as a true traveler. Travelling with my family has always felt a bit like window shopping or standing at the edge of the dance floor by the proverbial punch bowl- I’d like to dive in and dance a little jig, find something authentic for once.

I love art and writing, good books, and food; currently, in preparation for the course, I’m hiking as much as I can and also binge watching Shameless for the third time in my life.

I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and to go on this adventure together. We seem like an interesting bunch.

See ya very soon,

– Michael Schlarbaum

P.S. The only picture I could find of me outdoors was of me peeing off a cliff… so enjoy