Traveller stories: Why we all need to spend time in Nepal

Friendly Nepalese faces | Kelvin Law
Friendly Nepalese faces | Kelvin Law

There is something thrillingly unnerving about strapping on your hiking boots and walking out the door to head to a totally foreign country to take on one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. It was the adrenaline behind that thought that drove my split-second decision to make the Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar trek my honeymoon. Best decision ever.

As an experienced long-distance walker and outdoor lover, I was fascinated by the “what ifs” and the “what the” that would come with planning a trek to Everest Base Camp. What I put a lot less research into, but what endeared me most, was the country and people of Nepal. It is a place that has left me feeling like I gave it my all – yet I fight the urge to return immediately as there is so much more to see and do.

Granted, my three-week journey through Kathmandu and the trek to the foot of Mount Everest was a mere fragment of what this magnificent country and its astounding geographical and social diversity has to offer, but irrespective, I was definitely rewarded and drew a lot from the little time I was there.

Kathmandu; an energetic, dusty, noisy, driven enigma left my new husband and I spellbound. We grew addicted to the buzz of life as we strolled the streets, getting lost in back lanes, dodging traffic to cross main roads and seeking solace from it all when we needed to recharge in one of the many great places to find carbs and a cold beer (we were making the most of our pre-trek bulking!). I had exhausted my quota of street-dog photos before we had even left the city.

The unrelenting bustle of Kathmandu is a striking reminder of the scale of one small life in a city that works more than it plays.

While the potential to overwhelm is looming, the relatability to a community with a never-ending thirst for improvement led me to reflect on my own drive. A drive that has led me to the depths of exhaustion and illness, a drive that forced me into years of rejuvenation and reinvention, a drive that is now subdued by a conscious understanding of the meaning of life for me – to enjoy, to wonder and to live in gratitude.

The sleepy villages dotted throughout Sagarmatha National Park could not have been further from our metropolitan experience.

Friendly teahouse staff; crisp, clean air; the gentle swaying of branches in the Himalayan breeze and the dotting of Rhododendrons as they came into bloom, which accentuated days spent in the wilderness.

Gravel, cobblestone, rock, sand, grass, ice underfoot and the ever-present rhythm of small rapids model the scenery as we weave our way across great rivers again and again while making our way up the valleys.

There is nothing that can replace the restorative nature of time spent in the wilderness with good people, good food, a dose of camping and a friendly battle with Mother Nature herself.

To walk alongside towering peaks and frozen waterfalls whilst keeping an ear out for the next hint of Zokyu or donkey bells – subtle and soothing in sound, yet a minor thrill to make way when on the mountainside of the track. To describe how satisfied I was in every moment would be impossible.

I came to Nepal to test my ability to surrender to the entirety of another environment, to forget the many things that I am at home and the many things that occupy my thoughts; wife, sister, daughter, state manager, cancer survivor, athlete. These things seem to engulf our daily mindset unless we pay great mind to construct our thoughts.

I was amazed at how easily the vastness of this great country swept my thoughts away, endearing me with the mystery of what lay behind every hill, peak, temple and building and engulfing every molecule of my body – demanding my presence in the here and now.

My experience of Nepal was a perfectly timed reminder that just as in travel, in life we will never see, taste, touch or smell everything we yearn to experience.

The wandering souls of us adventurous people will always want to immerse ourselves more but, for now, I am satiated just enough to resist the urge to buy an international flight. Just for now.

Words by Sally Dobromilsky

Inspired? View our range of Nepal treks >

nepal, himalayas, everest base camp, trekking, adventure travel

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