I may not be the worst blogger ever, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the running. If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for a post…hmmm, that didn’t turn out well for you, did it?
The last few weeks have gone by in a blur, which is pretty well how the last two weeks in Turkey went by before I left for home. I’m still working on drawings from this summer’s archaeological season and sundry other tasks, but in the six weeks since I’ve been home something big and wonderful has been edging ever closer and distracting me – and now it’s here. Tomorrow, I embark on fulfilling a dream.
Tomorrow I leave for a month in Nepal.
I know. It’s not as though I haven’t traveled before. Or that I’ve never gone anywhere exotic: Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, Scandinavia, Greece, Turkey. What is it about this trip that has me nearly incoherent ? (Ask my daughter – I’ve hardly been able to string a sentence together today.)
This is what occurred to me as I fluttered about with last minute errands, blathering to sales people and babbling to friends: anywhere else I’ve gone has been no more than two years in the planning, but I’ve been anticipating this trip for nearly FORTY YEARS!
It started wa-a-ay back in my early twenties when a friend did her medical placement at a remote hospital in Nepal. Looking at photos of the Himalayas for the first time, I said to myself, “ I am going there to see those mountains one day.” Later another friend trained at the same hospital – more photos. In my early thirties, friends went off to live and work in Nepal for several years: more photos and more stories and each one fed the dream and galvanized my determination to get there myself one day. Friends went trekking in Nepal. and my husband worked with someone who regularly travelled to Nepal. Into my forties, a friend’s mother went trekking in Nepal – twice – which kept the dream alive because, well, she did it in her sixties so I wasn’t out of time…then. Now sixty is getting awfully close.
And finally, three years ago, very dear friends returned from a nine day trek in Nepal and announced their intention to assemble a group of friends interested in completing the entire Annapurna Circuit. I signed up immediately! Seven of us have been discussing and refining details via conference call for over a year now and tomorrow I will meet the entire group for the first time – three friends and three soon-to-be friends. The adventure begins. At last.
We’ll start out with a few days in Kathmandu (I get shivers just typing that!) and fly to Pokhara to start a 21 day trek circling the Annapurna massif. I’ve been hiking regularly since January to prepare, but honestly – how do you get ready for the Himalayas by walking in Ontario? Still, people of all ages and fitness levels do this trek and I’m as ready as I can be – so here goes!
Forgive me if, after nearly forty years of anticipation, I have decided not to carry along any communication technology – no phone, no laptop. I want to be totally present and in the moment – Nepal is, after all, a mostly Buddhist country – and I’m sure the environment will be conducive to mindful reflection. I’ll do the old-fashioned thing and keep a journal; optimistically, I am also packing along a sketchbook – and camera of course. I promise to share stories and adventures – but don’t hold your breath, okay? I’ll be back at the end of November. With pictures. Be warned – you might end up planning an adventure of your own!
Stay tuned. And wish me luck!