Discovering the Unexpected (Nepal)

Special Note: This is the travel story that started my blog writing journey. I wrote this piece for a world travel writing competition. The prize was a trip to my bucket list country – Patagonia and a writing scholarship. I was super excited entering the competition.

I didn’t end up winning the competition which was very tough with over 7000 entries around the world. But I believe I got something even more valuable out of it.

As part of the application, I had to write why I should win this competition. It is while writing the reasons why (in addition to the travel story) that I realized I have a real passion for writing and eventually led me to start my own blog. I guess I was drawn to the competition for a deeper purpose :).

I will go to Pantagonia one day one way or another when the time is right 🙂

P.S – I’ll be writing more blogs on my incredible Nepal trip especially  my favourite place, Mustang.

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A spontaneous trip to Nepal revealed more than just breathtaking sceneries.

It was not looking good. The Global Financial Crisis was ruthless. Jobs were being cut everywhere. I too fell victim to the crisis, losing my job and any hope of finding another.

After the initial despair, I found myself booking a trip to Nepal, a group trekking tour of the Himalayas for 6 days. I figured this would be the safest option given my fears of travelling alone.

When I reached Nepal, however, I found out I was the only one on the tour. I was dumbfounded and in a panic. All sorts of scenarios were running in my head – could I trust the guide? Would I be comfortable with him? Safe? I finally decided to take a leap of faith and go with it. This turned out be one of my best decisions.

None of the ‘worst case’ scenarios eventuated. I was taken very good care of. It was an amazing 6 days as we hiked through untouched forests, rivers, mountains and saw the breathtaking Himalayas.

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We visited isolated villages where I was blown away by the hospitality and humbleness of the locals. It was eye-opening to learn how they lived on less than $2 a day, yet remained so content with life. I visited an orphanage where the kids just seemed happy, despite having nothing. Lessons to take back home.

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As the tour ended, my guide suggested travelling to Mustang after I expressed interest in Tibet. So the next leg of my journey brought me to Mustang, one of the most remote regions in the world.

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I was absolutely gob-smacked by this place. It had the most spectacular sceneries I had ever seen. As I walked the streets, I was captivated by the sounds of Buddhist monks chanting in monasteries. The vibrations travelling to my core. There was something incredibly peaceful about this place. It was quiet and unspoiled.

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Being the only tourist there made it even more special. I will never forget riding a horse down this valley overlooking hazy, surreal landscapes and feeling pure joy.

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Looking back at my time in Nepal, I learnt some valuable life lessons and discovered things about myself which is the last thing I expected. It turned out to be not just a journey through the Himalayas but a journey of self discovery.

I learnt to let go, face my fears, trust myself and the process of life. I learnt to enjoy my own company and discover what truly makes me feel alive which is getting off the beaten path, experiencing the magnificence of nature and the unique ways of life around the world.

 

 

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