“If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans…”
365 days of homestays, high altitude cycling, and beautiful landscapes throughout Nepal.
Nepal started out with one of my most wonderful homestays yet. A poor farming family in Far Western Nepal took me in and tried to get me to stay for weeks. I ended up leaving after three days as it was overwhelming being the center of attention all of the time, though I definitely did enjoy my stay.
When I left, many of the villagers came to see me off and even those I hardly knew gave me flowers.
Cycling across the Far Western Terai was very different from the rest of Nepal as it does not receive tourism. The people live in small mud huts and rely on farming to survive. It was definitely my favorite area of Nepal.
In Pokhara Nepal I was handed a baby monkey by a tourist who was trying to rescue it from an abusive household. I quickly realized that babysitting a monkey is a lot harder than a child!
This smart cow snuck up to the fruit stall when no one was looking to steal himself a tasty lunch. Cows wander the streets as if they rule the world here as they do in India.
A paraglid instructor in Pokhara offered to take me, for free, as a sort of pay it back for all the kindness he received as he drove around the world. It’s amazing how many people have stepped in to help me out throughout this year!
I completed ten days of silent meditation (Vipassana) and during it, realized that sitting still for twelve hours a day is much harder and more painful than cycling.
After leaving the foothills for the Nepali terai I realized that it was like entering into India once again. India and Nepal have shown me just have different the people who live on the flats and the people who live in the mountains are.
Lumbini, supposedly the birthplace of Buddha, is composed of temples from around the world.
While at the home I also realized that though everyone in India is “religious,” no one seems to know why they perform their rituals as they do. People are culturally Hindu because they have grown up in a Hindu society, just as many people are culturally Christian from having grown up in a Christian society back home. In both cases I see this form of religion as harmful because people tend to blindly believe what they are told without investigating the truth for themselves, and because those people then put the emphasis on attending church or performing blind rituals instead of focusing on the lifestyle of morality, filled with unity, love, and compassion, that every prophet has called for.
I took a trip back to Far Western Nepal and headed up into the foothills where the poorest most rural villages are found. I was taken in by a family without water, electricity, or practically anything made of plastic. Like always, it was the children who showed me around.
I even walked one day, four hours each way, with all of the village children to their school.
I watched them make brown sugar one day and got to enjoy the sugary lump on a leaf.
After Kevin (my boyfriend) arrived, we began cycling up to the eastern Makalu region. Unfortunately parts of the road were under construction so we ended up having to push quite a bit through deep dust.
We always attract visitors with our tent, stove, or just because we are white, but Kevin’s fly pole definitely didn’t help.
We passed many locals, some guides and porters, and others who ran tea houses throughout the region who would stock up on supplies in villages down below and carry them days on their heads in these baskets.
Here is a storm rolling in that ended up flooding our tent.