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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

Movement Chronicles Part 1

We are writing to you from the village of Nagathali, which is surrounded by snow-capped Himalayas to the east, north, and west. Langtang Peak, sharing a name with the National Park we are in, stands at 7,227 meters, a perfect view from our kitchen. A few days into trekking and we have found our legs, backs, and minds. We have already covered around 40 kilometers of hiking, and lost and gained thousands of meters of elevation. We have been on snow, hiked through rebuilt villages that lost buildings in the 2015 earthquakes, and seen the Big Dipper and the Milky Way in all their glory shining high above us at night.

Trekking, similar to traveling, has the ability to help us question our previously held knowledge about our bodies, our abilities, and our limits. In an evening meeting recently someone reflected: I didn’t think I could continue hiking after my legs felt tired, but I knew that I had no other option, and arriving at camp was one of the most satisfying feelings.

Like travel, hiking emphasizes learning through the movement. Listening to the body when it has a need, responding to surroundings, analyzing ways to communicate effectively, searching out moments of calm and quiet amidst a new and curious terrain of landscape and people. We have been reminded of these teachings and are slowly, slowly accepting them into our daily routines. It is a practice in mindfulness.

In a short amount of time we have been propelling ourselves forward through time by way of legs, voices, and care. Like any good hiking expedition there are painful knees, feelings of annoyance, sore throats, and conflict to work through. But growth is all about mindset, and within our movement there is the want for, and focus on, being mindful of how our capabilities truly do extend beyond our perceptions.