“Travel is rebellion in its purest form… We follow our heart. We free ourselves of labels. We lose control willingly. We trade a role for reality. We love the unfamiliar. We trust strangers. We only own what we can carry. We search for better questions, not answers. We truly graduate. We, sometimes, never choose to come back.”
On the second morning of my stay in Far Western Nepal the eight year old girl signaled me to follow her. We ended up running up and down the little paths that connect the houses, collecting children from different houses along the way. It was hilarious and one of the best moments I have had yet, flying down the hillside with a half dozen happy children.
“When we are young, we don’t take anything too seriously. But slowly, this set of daily rituals becomes solidified, and takes us over. We like to complain, but we are reassured by the fact that each day is more or less like every other.”
6h00-6h30: Wake up! I usually write or read a bit in the mornings while the children are getting out of bed.
6h30-8h30: Homework time. Many of the children, predominately the younger ones, use this time to finish up homework, while some of the others use this time to sleep in as others draw or clean.
8h30: Breakfast, which always consists of rice and dal. Normally the dal (which is a broth with a few lentils) has chickpeas in it and occasionally pumpkin or potatoes. I then do the dishes as the
children put on their uniforms and gather their books.
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.”
Children. They are loving, curious, and just want to be happy. They certainly have life figured out better than the rest of us. While going through some of my old photos I realized that almost all of my favorites involved children, not just because the photos turned out well, but because of the emotions these little human beings invoke. Children are the most amazing people in every country, and have easily become one of my favorite parts of travel.
“The most freeing and liberating part of this whole trip is that…I rarely have any place to be other than where I am, which truly lets me live in the moment. Every single moment.”
Here is the house (the green and white one in the bottom right corner) I stayed in while in the village of Kot. Like all the houses in the area, there were no roads up and down the hillside so the only way to reach the house was on a small foot path. Throughout this region there were little clusters of five or six houses that were considered a “village,” though they also identified with the town a few kilometers away.
“Home is the place where it feels right to walk around without shoes.”
Well, they say there is a first for everything, so here is mine for the day. Last night I slept on the side of the road in one of the construction slums, a place I had never previously dreamed of staying in. These groups of lopsided shacks are literally on the road (the road is just a bit wider to accommodate), and are found throughout areas where they are doing extensive road work. Though many of these communities are composed solely of men, in these parts, they include wives and children as well.
“Be so happy than when others look at you, they become happy too.”
I spent the morning with Tibetan Buddhist monks, and the afternoon with children, the perfect recipe for a great day. The village I have been staying in is a few kilometers away from one of the most iconic monasteries in the area. I got a tour of some of the inside temples, then sat down for breakfast with a few of the monks, and had tea throughout the morning with others. Since the tea culture is so prevalent here in India, and you could never say no to a glass, I must have had at least six or eight “chai” while I was there. At the end of my visit I ended up in a prayer room just as a few monks entered to pray (at least I assume that is what they were doing). They were chanting, playing different instruments, and occasionally doing odd things such as throwing rice and dripping water into a cup. Halfway through, one monk handed me a ritz cracker, and a few minutes later, another handed me five peanuts and a chocolate. Why they did this, I will never know. It was interesting to see that they weren’t the stoic monks I tend to picture. As they prayed, they checked their watch, picked their nose, and moved around quite a lot. I guess they are only human as well!