Starting the Journey to Ithaca

Boat on the Beach in Gokarna, India

In the past six months I have lived in four countries and called more than twenty-six places home. I've traveled more than twenty-five thousand miles using cars, buses, jeeps, trains, airplanes, rickshaws, taxis, motorcycles, and my own two feet.

I've gotten lost walking at night in Bombay. I've watched thousands of giant bats descend on the great city of Udaipur. I've walked through clouds, surrounded by fields of corn and I've climbed ten-thousand feet into the Himalayan mountains, covered in sweat, sand, and sunburns.

Sitting down to write a summary of the most incredible six months of my life, I found myself faced with the task of telling a story of epic proportions, one that felt on par with the Lord of the Rings and The Odyssey. I considered limiting it to the story of my inner journey, but then I realized that was even more grand than the physical one.

As I reminisced and pondered what to write, my journey reminded me of these words by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, written almost exactly one-hundred years ago: Continue reading

Losing Focus in the Himalayan Mountains

View of the Himalayan Mountains

I had only been in the small village of Hile for two nights and yet I felt myself getting emotional about leaving. Was it because we had stayed an extra day to help the owner repaint the exterior of her guesthouse? Or was it because the owner was so nice that she made it feel a lot like home? Was this what being homesick was supposed to feel like?

We had trekked from one village to another for five days, climbing more than 2000m (6000ft) to a height of over 3200m (9600ft). My 22kg (50lb) backpack became heavier with each step and on day two I questioned my ability to make the rest of the trip. On the fourth day, we descended down seemingly endless stone stairs for almost eight hours.

I was traveling with my new friend and trekking guide, Tashi Sherpa, along with his 21 year old cousin who had climbed Mt. Everest four times and reached the summit twice. Tashi, who is an incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful guide, recently started his own trekking agency. If you're looking for a trekking guide in Nepal, I highly recommend you contact him.

This six day excursion ended up being more important than I had imagined. It reminded me how easy it is to lose focus of what matters and it allowed me to see a side of Nepal much different from what I observed while visiting the schools in Kahule and Bhalche a few weeks ago. Continue reading