Namaste fellow Dragons,
Time is flying by to draw us closer to the adventure that awaits us in Nepal. We hope that just like the Instructor team, your excitement is also growing more and more every passing day. Your mind is probably abuzz with tons of questions and we are sure that packing for the course is definitely one of them. In addition to the detailed packing list and instructions in your Course Preparation Manual Pg 32-36 (please take the time to reference this if you haven’t already–you got a hard copy in your welcome box, and it’s also available as a PDF on your MyDragons account) we instructors would like to give you a few pointers to make your packing process easier.
Each of you will also get a phone call from one of the instructors a few weeks before the trip, as an important part of our pre-course process to get to know you better and also answer any questions that you may have about the course and packing. Please do cooperate with us in setting up the appointment. If you wish to have your questions answered earlier, our beloved Yak board is a great place to ask questions. Chances are that any questions that you have, other participants might have them too ! 🙂
Overall, LESS IS MORE! It is very important that you can fit all of your belongings into one backpack and that you can carry it on your own. Good travelers are very diligent in making sure that their journeys are packed with lots more experiences and less stuff. Having said that, please do bring enough to keep yourself clean and comfortable. Keep in mind you may also want extra room in your backpack so you can fill it with mementos for your friends and family back home.
Notes on Weather/Gear/Clothing
Our trip will take place during monsoon season in Nepal. This means the hills will be lush and green and we will likely witness some stunning downpours. Temperatures will be warm most of the time (70-90 F) and we hope for plenty of sun, but it is likely to rain for at least a few hours most days, which can bring with it a chill.
Make sure you bring the following GEAR to keep you dry:
Backpack rain cover – Make sure this fits properly around your backpack.
Large plastic trash bag – To line the INSIDE of your pack and keep your belongings dry.
Sleeping bag liner – Either silk or synthetic. These are great as they keep your sleeping bag clean and are often used alone in Nepal’s hot summer temperatures.
Rain gear – A good rain jacket or poncho. A packable umbrella is also useful. We will be doing a short trek, so you don’t need top-notch and pricey rain gear, but you do want to stay dry and comfortable.
It is best to bring CLOTHING that is light and quick-dry (so denim jeans are not that practical!!), light layers to help warm you up or cool you down as the weather changes, and nothing that you don’t want getting muddy! There will be opportunities to hand-wash your laundry, but you’ll be happiest with clothing that doesn’t easily show dirt. Your clothing should also be culturally-appropriate, so please do not bring tight pants/leggings, low-cut shirts, or shirts that show your shoulders. We are going into a more conservative culture than many of you are used to. In order to immerse ourselves in the society and make good relationships with the community, we do our best to adhere to local standards of dress. We will address culturally appropriate dress and behavior in great depth throughout our program, but a very basic way to show our respect for the local culture is to dress modestly.
As for SHOES, a lightweight hiking boot/shoe that you would be comfortable hiking in or walking through the streets of Himalayan villages will do just fine. There is no need for a heavy-duty hiking boot as our trek will be short and in a warm and possibly wet climate. We also recommend a pair of sandals for daily use that your feet will be comfy in. Regardless of which shoes you choose to bring, make sure you break them in ahead of time to avoid blisters!
Medicines & Health
As we are sure you are aware, staying healthy in Nepal will require more vigilance than in the US, so we would like to provide you with some thoughts on staying healthy this summer. We will be discussing these issues in much more depth when we are all together, but there are a few preventative medicines/supplements you may want to consider bringing with you to give your system a boost and to reduce the chances of getting sick. These are only suggestions – none of these are essential. Here are a few ideas:
Echinacea or Airborne to fight off colds
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) – acts like a natural antibiotic (nutribiotic)
Activated Charcoal – acts to absorb bacteria and toxins in the intestines
There is no need to bring OTC medications as the jnstructor team carries a hefty and well-stocked medical kit on course. However, please make sure you bring enough of any prescription medications you need for the entire trip.
Other than briefly travelling through on the way to our village stay, none of the program will take place in malarial areas. We ourselves will not be taking any malaria prophylaxis but defer to you to discuss with your travel doctor on what is best for you. For additional information here is a link to advice on malaria from the most reputable clinic in Nepal. http://ciwec-clinic.com/health-information/malaria-advice-for-travelers-to-nepal/ There will be mosquitoes at this time of year though, so INSECT REPELLENT can be useful. We have found that the natural kind, with citronella, is effective and not so harsh on your skin or the environment as the chemical kinds.
In terms of keeping your hands clean, you may be tempted to bring some antibacterial hand gel with you. You are welcome to do so, but bear in mind that using this is not an adequate alternative to washing your hands! Instead, a travel bar of soap is a useful thing to pack in your day bag.
Other personal Items
– A headlamp (plus one extra set of batteries) to help you navigate during dark.
– 4 Passport Photos – You will need 2 passport photos for immigration and 2 more for tourist passes in some locations
-2 Water Bottles – ideally one can hold hot water or tea as we’ll be drinking that a lot in the village. We want to be well stocked with 2 liters of drinkable water with us.
– Journal – one you will love writing in! Journaling is not only highly encouraged but we deliberately set aside time for journaling during the course.
– A good book – we recommend paper books over an e-reader. Not only will it not break or lose battery, but you can swap it with other members of the group.
– Travel games/Cards/Instruments – bring anything to add some fun!
– Photos of home/family/friends – past students have brought small albums to share with homestay families and new Nepali friends. Pictures are wonderful conversation starters
– Sun hat or visor – Along with your sunglasses, this is essential protection from the intense sun of the Himalayas.
We know that was a lot of information we just threw at you, but it’s our hope that it will make packing a piece of cake for you. And again, please let your instructors know if you have any questions.
Also, a note about your Yak Board! This board belongs to us, and we hope to cultivate some lively discussion here. This starts NOW! Please do check the Yak board regularly for new information. Please take the time to introduce yourself – who you are, what you are most excited about, and what you hope to get out of this course. Also, as you make your preparations, please direct any questions about packing or final logistics here and one of the instructors will get back to you as soon as we can.
Shanti, Saurabh and Nick