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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

An Ode to Nepal

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

I came to Nepal looking to learn and to expand my horizons of what “learning” means outside of the classroom. I decided to take a gap year because I felt like I lost myself and my passions and ambitions when I struggled depressed for a few years of high school. Once I found my way back to feeling happy again, I still felt like I was far from myself and the things that make me excited about life. Finishing up high school felt like a chore and I knew that I needed the space and time to find the spark inside of me.

This fall I went on a 50 Day Outward Bound course where I learned just how much I can endure and how capable and competent I am. I set off on this course this spring because I wanted to feel excited about life outside of school and feel adventurous again. I wanted for once to feel fully present with where I am and not judge myself. I wanted to engage and not hold myself back. On this trip I have done exactly all of those things, which makes me so happy and proud, but I’ve also found so many more things which I wasn’t necessarily looking for. I’ve found true friendships and a family out of our group of 15 people. I learned that I like being challenged and stimulated by my surroundings because that is where the most growth comes from. Trekking for two weeks in the Himalayas. Staying in home stay families when I didn’t speak the language. Navigating the hustling and bustling streets and alleyways of Patan. Calling guest speakers and planning weeks as a leader. Eating with my hands. 10 hour bus rides through the hills and valleys of Nepal and so much more. I’ve spent the past three months living with the unfamiliar which now feels familiar to me. I’m comfortable being uncomfortable because everything feels manageable when IĀ  have patience and an understanding that everything will be okay.

Today is my last full day in Nepal and I could not be more grateful for my time here. I’ve truly had the time of my life here and I’ve never felt happier and more sure of my ability to take on whatever comes my way in life. I’m so thankful for all the wonderful people on this trip, my instructors, my home stay families, my ISP mentor, our language teachers, and so many more people who have made an impact on my time here. As the trip comes to a close and I feel sad to leave this amazing place, I’m excited to keep seeking out the unfamiliar and the vast adventure that is life.

Thank you Him B for all the laughter and love these past three months. Thank you mountains. Thank you aunties and warm cups of chiya. Thank you Nepal for all the amazing memories I’ll look back on forever.

Lots of love,

Hope šŸ™‚