Onwards and Upwards
21 January 2013
When you spend a lot of time in one area you gain a sense of attachment towards the people and place, which you are surrounded by. Everything becomes familiar, the customs and the schedules in which you and others work to. You start to even picture yourself living there, if you aren’t already. I recently spent the best part of a month and a one week living in one spot, in a town called Pokhara, a major destination for all travellers coming to Nepal. I stayed with ex Lonely Planet author and resident of Nepal for the past 40 years, Stan Armington along with all the friends and family of the people that helped keep the four-story home in good condition, it was an absolute pleasure.
Living in a residence with such a rich and vibrant history had its perks and this past month is one that will be ingrained into my memory for many years to come. It was actually the first time in the past 8 and a half months where I have stayed in one spot for a significant period of time, everywhere else was a non-stop get up and go lifestyle, which came with the whole concept of travel. It was rare that I ever spent more than 4 days in one area or town.
When you’re constantly on the go, your body starts to wear out and craves for a little down-time and a break, much like when you are working you look forward to your holidays so you can come back refreshed and ready for the new challenges ahead. Well in a particular way travel is similar to working, but only if you travel for travels sake and not travel for a holiday.
I really didn’t do much this past month, minus another hike into the Himalayas and confront bone chilling minus 27 degree Celsius temperatures and go motor biking into the countryside and particular viewpoints. But it was a refreshing change to what I had been doing for the past 8 and half months, moving. I simply enjoyed the simpler things in life. Sitting in the sun, looking at the Annapurna Himalaya range from the balcony while doing research and reading, lots of reading. I actually felt “at home” I begun to feel like I found somewhere where I could settle in, it was that temporary feeling of being settled that I found comforting, but in the back of my mind I knew it was only just that, temporary.
Although a part of me disagreed the time came to leave the place I had slowly but surely grown very fond of. I had to continue the adventure and journey onwards and begin a long trip overland towards the border of Nepal and India. I had packed up all my things in my room and put it all back into the confined pockets of my backpack and all of a sudden my room felt bare and it really sunk in that I was departing the next morning. I woke up to a beautiful clear sky, with fresh snow after a storm on the mountains in front of me and I thought to my self “I am going to miss this place”. Sitting down with the Nepali’s that I had become rather close with for my last breakfast was in a way sad! I said my goodbyes and got moving towards the bus stop and had one last look at everything before things started to move past my eyes faster than I could process them. I couldn’t explain in words how grateful I am to the people that looked after me and treated me like their family, it was really something that I will cherish and remember.
My first stop was Kathmandu to organise my Indian visa, which I already know is going to be a long, slow and tedious process simply because, well it’s India…anyone that knows India or has been there will understand me when I say things aren’t efficient to say the least. From here I will make my way to the hill stations of Hile and Ilam in Eastern Nepal, which involves days of local bus rides on what will probably be some bumpy terrain.
The past month and half of laying low has really refreshed and geared me up for the next part of the journey. I am feeling energised again, similar to what I felt when I first left Australia. I look forward to the linguistic, bureaucratic and energy draining challenges that lay in front of me in the very near and distant future. And it really makes me wonder…when in the next 365 days will I get the chance to relax again? Who knows, but until then I have some serious ground to cover.