My whole body is tingling with anticipation, I feel like a school girl the day before a field trip. Packing on the same day of travel is never a good idea, but at least it gives you an excuse for why you are hyper and jumpy (Check the Packing Tips & Check list for this trip here).
11 hours & we’d arrive to Kathmandu! Between delays, bad inflight entertainment & sleepy heads, you can easily sense the personalities & read behind the actions of the 20 interesting group members I’m spending the upcoming 15 days with.
What Attracted me to this group in the fits place and encouraged me to participate was the sense they were real. They are not the average elitist Ammani group that you’d expect from a group going on a trip like this. Where you work, what school you’ve been to, or what car you drive are marginal things to the core interest of all: how much are you willing to enjoy yourself while you’re pushing your limits.
The group is a bunch of strangers, could not be more diverse: a medical couple in their late 50s, a 19 year old, a single mom, a cancer survivor, a soldier, a university professor, a vet, an art director, a software programmer, an accountant, a project manager (not me), a cardiologist, a communications guy, an oil guy, a computer games girl, a psychology guy… And me!
We arrive at the airport and there was an explosion of colors, sounds and smells on the spot! The city celebrating Dashain, a colorful buddhist festival that engulfed us with a different spiritual experience. Our hotel in Kathmandu was a walking distance from the Boudhanath – The Boudha Gate, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world and an important landmark… We walked, talked, took pictures, chased doves, laughed and got to know a bit more about one another.
Being in a foreign land is always an eye opener, takes you away from the familiar and gives you an opportunity to see things in a different light, sometimes things about yourself that you’ve never noticed, about others or just about life. I wondered today a lot: What new things will I see, learn and judge about myself and about others.
I looked around at the strange mix of people I’m about to spend the upcoming two weeks with and wondered, what goes on their minds, why are they on this trip, who are they?
We go out to dinner at a weird Korean food place, I have to admit that the food wasn’t bad at the end, although the smell of ill-cleaned tables was a huge turn off. The group took it in gracefully, what could’ve potentially exploded into a nagging session about bad seating, smelly tables and uncomfortable seats, turned into a joyful evening filled with laughs and who ordered the best food, or who has the weirdest looking dish.
And just like that, I knew that this was going to be a good trip, and those were going to be a group that I will enjoy my time among.
As we all headed to bed, I roomed with a great, energetic woman who is alive by all means and levels – Maha Amro. I just spent 45 minutes braiding her hair into tiny little braids like I do for Anoud, never minding our 8-hour drive tomorrow to get to Pokhara, stayed up, sipped warm tea, talked for hours, watched some play, some have argeeleh, and some watch in silence all with a buzz of anticipation and a stupid grin on our faces none of us was able to control.
I rested my head on a comfortable pillow listening to a very quite night outside and thinking of how this will pan out.
Tomorrow, I write again….