Discovering Himalayas

discovering himalayas

“Not a journey anymore. Not an outing or an interlude. Seeing the world; Not taking a trip, not traveling with a start and a finish, but living my life. Life is movement.”
- Paul Theroux

I had left Mumbai behind, run away from Delhi, criss-crossed the alleyways of Kathmandu, got sick in Pokhara and now I was finally using my own feet to walk into and up the Annapurna mountain range. This was day 47 of my trip, and it felt super good to breathe in something else except dust and smog.

If any of you want to go trekking where you can see mountains everyday, catch a hot shower every evening, eat the best cuisine in the world, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Nepal. Well then don’t go and have Annapurna Base Camp as your destination, but if you do enjoy a cold shower every three days, dhal bhat for every meal, about 20 000 step of stairs, humid bamboo forests and Israeli tourists, well then why the hell not?

This is what somebody told me, and yes it is quite true, but is it what you have to make it? Definitely not. The path to the base camp does go through a humid forest for about 80% of the time, but it makes that 20% so much better. The feeling you have when you see the first glimpse of Dhaulagiri or Annapurna South is astonishing, the part that you can see the range from Poon Hill and then five days later your actually behind it, inside it and surrounded by it, well I can’t describe it.

And what about the food, yeah Dal Bhat at your local Nepalese restaurant can be dull, dry and basically a weak pea soup. But over there Dal Bhat equals rice, mushrooms, potato-curry, maybe a bit of meat depending if they have killed a goat lately and then that thick nice Nepali pea soup that even without all the other ingredients would taste perfect after that eight hour trek you just did.

I do have to admit that my knees were killing me because of all the stairs, but then when you are passed by a 70-year-old Sherpa who is carrying a fridge on his back, well it just makes you smile and each one can stop their wingeing and just think about how the hell is he able to carry that thing on his back. When you are carrying 10-15 kilos and the higher you go the heavier it’s getting.

Then the dilemma everybody has when they go on a trip, tourist this and tourist that. Seriously there isn’t a place in the world you won’t bump in to them, the best place to avoid tourist is your own hometown, as you won’t notice them around you there. It is true that the Himalayan trekking destinations can get crowded and it’s hard to find a peaceful spot in the teahouse during those chilly evenings. But if you have a choice between your bed, and the smoky dining hall full of people who are comparing their Gore-Tex jackets and gadgets, well then take the Nepali path.

There is always some kind card game going on with the porters and Sherpas, they might give you a strange look when you walk in and express your interest of joining them. But just lose a couple of hands and offer them a drink and you will be taken in quite easily, after that you will meet the same guys in the next village and the next for your whole trip, you will learn a bit of the Nepali language, or a song or two, you have the opportunity to refuse a Budweiser with that American or Israeli you met during the day and absolutely destroy you liver with the Nepali version of moonshine which is called rakhsi. Even if my liver did lose a inch or two on my trekking trip it was cool to be met by smiles every evening, learn about the local culture, and get into that small inside circle that no guidebook will offer.

If somebody would ask me would I go again? No question about it, I could even do all the shit again that I didn’t like, I would walk around the slums of Mumbai in ankle deep shit, get terrified when I saw my first dead body in that same particular part of town, get hassled by some five foot tall Indian who tried to grab my camera, lose all my luggage for nine days (seriously when a random rickshaw driver can notice this in Kathmandu from the state of your clothes, well it is a bit embarrassing) and still I would enjoy it again.

So as the good man St Augustine once said: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

discovering himalayas

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I’m a 27-year-old freelance writer from Finland; at the moment I’m working as a climbing instructor and trying to save up for my next trip. Which will hopefully take part soon enough. I spend my free time photographing, climbing, skating and I also try to get out and about to ski some sick lines once in a while. So if you ever want to throw a bag of money on me so I can continue doing what I love, well please don’t hesitate.