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

Saturdays in Kathmandu

Sitting in the Zen Bistro at 11 AM on a Saturday morning is honestly a luxury. I’m drinking a lemon soda, (Sparkling water, fresh lemon, and black Himalayan salt, all mixed together, much more refreshing than you might expect…) enjoying the sun and muffled noises coming from the streets.

It feels strange to be feeling so content, not more than 30 minutes ago I was on the phone with Charis, telling her how I went to sleep feeling homesick last night, missing familiarity and comfort. When I woke up, I felt like I needed to get out of the house, breathe in a wide open space rather than staying in my two-windowed room.

When I arrived at the cafe, I felt better. I read the letters I had been saving from family and friends, and I cried, while waiters shuffled in and out through the door right next to me. I could feel my chest opening, allowing the wind to billow through, refreshing me and reassuring me that I was going to be okay, and that I’ve been so bold and strong thus far, and that I need to appreciate that and thank my body for taking me this far.

The feelings began to sink in, and I begin to feel like a real traveler. All I carry with me inside my daypack is my camera, journal, book, a map, and my burner phone.

I feel strangely fulfilled, like I’m in a movie. I just walked thirty minutes to get to this cafe, through bumpy unpaved streets, sweating through my shirt and onto the pads of my backpack. The sun is bright, the sky clear, and my feet are covered in dust, just the way they’re meant to be after walking through Kathmandu. The only thing I feel like I’m missing is the ability to call my parents and say hello, from Nepal! How are you? How is Buster? I was just calling to check in, I think about you guys when I’m out and about, on long walks, wishing you could hear my voice as I say “I’m living, mom, dad, Margeaux… It’s incredible. It’s just me and Nepal. If only you could see me, I know you would be proud.” I imagine that you’re all walking behind me, seeing the same things I am. I can hear Dad saying “I am so AMPED for you, Charlotte!!” I can see the glow in my mom’s eyes, how proud she is of me. I can see my sister’s smile and I know she’s thinking “you go, little bug, you go.”

I love and miss you guys very much. I think of you often. Thank you for giving me the courage and ability to do this and be strong when it’s easier to be weak. Thank you to the moon and back a million times. I would not be who I am today without you. I’m reminded of you, standing behind me, cheering me on, when things are tough, and I become so excited when I think about all of the incredible things I’m going to share with you in two-ish short months, that I will savor every moment of.

For now, though, I love you. Thank you.

xoxo, Charlotte, in Nepal.