If it’s possible to call wanderlust a hobby, that would be it -- travel, culture, meeting people from different backgrounds.
On a more sedentary note, I’m a fan of science fiction literature and movies, super heroes, and 80’s music of questionable quality. But mostly, my greatest hobby and interest is in spending time with my family.
It’s hard to believe almost a year has gone by since I returned to Nepal with many wonderful memories already in hand. While I have some amazing images and places in my mind – sunset in Boudhanath, the open expanses of Mustang, the warm, humid embrace of the air over paddy fields in the Terai – the best memories all involve people.
Speaking with hard-working farmers in the fields, with young Nepal is dreaming big dreams and doing big things, and with those you encounter on the hiking trail.
I’m always drawn to places of cultural/historic/religious significance, because I think it’s one of the best ways to understand a culture, a people, and place.
I can be usually found wandering around the historic Durbar Marg, experiencing the courtyards and backroads in the middle of Patan, or scaling to the top of Bhaktapur’s Nyatapola temple.
Most importantly, I always have my camera nearby. But a book, a map, and some good hiking boots are also essentials.
Long ago, I also got into the habit of carrying along my own pillowcase for a touch of consistency.
Undoubtedly, I don’t get to travel enough, and I have a long Nepal bucket list. Usually about once a month, I have the chance to get outside the Kathmandu Valley, and have travelled from east to west, north to south.
But still, I’ll never be able to see enough of Nepal given the short few years I’ll live here. Always a reason to come back that way!
I have met so many interesting people since arriving here, but I’ve been most struck by a number of women I’ve met, because they are doing both ordinary and extraordinary things.
A young woman in rural Nepalgunj, who at the age of 25 is leading in her community by sharing agricultural and health innovations was certainly one of the most impressive.
I’ve seen a lot of beauty from Simikot to Bhadrapur, and so many places in-between.
I was particularly struck by the peace, tranquility, and environment during a visit to Mukhtinath. So much of the best of Nepal all found in one special place.
And maybe share what you are looking forward to do there, from the travelling aspect. I’m most looking forward to seeing those places I haven’t yet seen, and to spend more time on the trekking trail.
I haven’t yet had the chance to travel to the Far West, to visit Gorkha, or see the Janaki Mandir in Janakpur. And about a thousand other experiences still to come.
It’s too challenging to pick just one, so I’ll try a theme. I’ve always enjoyed experiencing the jatras, festivals, and celebrations that mark significant occasions.
Seeing the Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur, for example, or the Macchendranath chariot, or the Nawa Durga, or the Tiji festival in Lo Manthang – these have often been the most meaningful, insightful, and best experiences I can imagine.
An important constant among those is the warmth, openness, and friendliness which non-Nepalis feel when observing these key event
Trekking in Nepal has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life, and always looking for the opportunity to head out on the trail.
The best accompaniment for that experience is nature’s soundtrack – the rustling of leaves in the wind, the silence of great open spaces, and the rythms of rural and village life.
The best souvenirs by far are actually intangible, formless ones. Memories of a view, recollections of meeting or speaking with people, the collective experience of encountering a new culture, history, people.
Far better than any tangible item.
To be prepared for the warm hospitality and fascinating culture of the Nepali people – and to come back again. And again.
Visit 2020 is a great initiative to expand Nepal’s tourism reach more broadly. I’ve noted that for Americans, at least, it’s often the mountains and scenery that brings international visitors to Nepal for the first time, but it’s the people, culture, and history that brings them back over and over again.
Looking for solutions to confront environment-related challenges – air quality standards, investments in clean energy, and a focus on engaging local communities – all very much a plus for growing tourism.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Favorite country visited?
Favorite Nepali destination?
Favorite Nepali food?
Favorite type of music?
A mountain person or a beach person?
Summer vacations or winter vacations?
Do you prefer travelling solo or as part of a group?
Must pack items for a trip?