19 October 2016. Five Days to Nepal.
My travel journal starts today.
While nursing an ear infection in a rented condo in Melbourne, my best friend’s sister texted me and asked where I plan to travel to next because the travel agency she was working for was having a promotion. A number of destinations came to mind but all paled in comparison when my wandering mind drifted to the snowy Himalayas. Like a lightbulb moment, trekking in Nepal seemed like an awesome trip after Australia.
That and Hawaii? The island chain’s lava fields and active volcanoes stopped me on my tracks. Then I remembered my friend who was, at that time, enjoying the seascapes of the Great Ocean Road. I remembered how we made a rough plan of that Hawaii trip shortly after my 30th birthday. I felt a little treacherous daydreaming about Nepal this early and thinking of forgoing Hawaii for Nepal.
Eventually, Hawaii got cancelled and Nepal was on. Also, my friend didn’t talk to me for months after I sort-of called off our trip. So, yes, I’m a bad friend.
A couple of weeks after Australia and in between chapters of Maurice Herzog’s Annapurna, I started scouting and emailing trek operators in Nepal. Originally, the plan was to see Mt Everest from afar, like, once I saw its summit, I’m good, let’s head home. But when I read about solo female travelers making it to base camp on their own or with only a guide and/or porter, I thought, maybe I could do it, too. So my Google search history went from a slew of Everest View Trek pages to being flooded with Everest Base Camp Trek sites.
A month after my awesome-but-dangerous trip was conceived, I was booking flights to Kathmandu and finalizing the trek schedule with Green Valley Nepal Treks. And, no, I didn’t book through my best friend’s sister’s travel agency.
But at the back of my mind I still had a lot of maybes and what-ifs. Maybe I was being too aggressive with my plans. What if this idea wasn’t really from God. Do I really want this? I had doubts. Huge ones. And so I prayed, waited on God and trusted that if this wasn’t His will for me then, knowing Him, not a fraction of my travel plans would become a reality.
One by one, though at turtle pace, plans started to take shape but the road to Everest Base Camp wasn’t without bumps. No, it was more of road blocks.
When my Dad got sick and passed away in June, I thought it was the end of my trip as well. I wasn’t only broke, I was crushed. I had a bad case of insomnia, numerous anxiety attacks and my training for the trek was mediocre at best. I mean, how could I still prepare for this big trip when I didn’t even know how to put myself back together?
I was, once again, broken.
I doubted my decision, regretted it at times. And I prepared myself for the worst—Nepal might get cancelled.