“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain.
I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t totally prepared for Nepal. I don’t think anyone truly is, unless you’ve been there already. This was my first trip. I jumped on a last minute invitation to Nepal to the International Travel Bloggers & Media Conference at the Himalayan Travel Mart from Impact Travel Alliance (ITA) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and literally got my flight the day before I left. This was particularly nerve wracking I’d admit. Especially since I plan travel itineraries for a living. Also, I was in Thailand in the middle of playing with elephants, getting massages every day and hanging with friends until my flight to New York.
Suddenly, bam, I get an email saying I’ve been invited to visit Nepal - I have to choose an itinerary. I’m honored to have been invited to participate in this conference and to explore Nepal for the very first time.
With less than a few days to decide and too many choices to choose from. A hike? A national park? I had no idea where was a national park offering safaris in Nepal. I had no idea that Nepal had rhinos! I’ve only associated Nepal with the Himalayas and with Buddha. I’ve always wanted to trek but my hiking shoes are in New York. I guess I could buy them in Kathmandu. Also, I didn’t feel like jumping from a plane from the airport in Chiang Rai to the airport in Bangkok and then immediately jump on another plane to Kathmandu. Should I even go? I had a lot of work to do. I needed to have fast internet. I had plans to meet friends, family, and overall just unwind after a trip in the heat of Northern Thailand. A friend was going to a detox in Phuket and asked if I wanted to join. My tired body really needed a detox right now and I knew I was in exactly the right country to do it.
Yet Nepal beckoned. Enticing me with adventure.
Most of my travel life has been quite sweet. Since I started selling luxury travel 3 years ago, I’ve been invited to see some of the most breathtaking places in the world - been on private planes, first class cabins, stayed in villas with butlers, and lots and lots of Aperol spritzes. Perfectly curated, just like the honeymoons I plan, I couldn’t help feeling like there was always something missing.
I wasn’t exactly sure what this trip to Nepal had in store for me but I could feel it was different and it scared me a little bit. I was definitely anxious with this last minute curveball thrown in my direction. That’s when on one of the pre-conference itineraries offered by PATA, Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha) caught my eye and that’s when I decided that I must go, regardless of my anxiety.
I cancelled plans with friends, postponed my flight back to the states for the second time, rushed to stuff a tiny suitcase with as many things I anticipated I would need as possible because I didn’t want to have to check in any luggage.
As I flew into Kathmandu, little did I know that I would be embarking on an adventure that I could have never anticipated.
I was about to enter a world of so many extremes - of highs and of lows, of joy and of sorrow, of comfort and discomfort, of peace and of war, feeling somewhat in control yet at the same time completely at the mercy of the universe. This was truly a spiritual adventure. This was my Nepal.
Without further ado, here are my blog posts from the trip:
If you feel compelled to do so, as I did, I encourage you to travel to Nepal, on a pilgrimage or whatever - either with me, with a group or by yourself, I want to help you do it. Let my wisdom be your guide. Reach out to me in the form below to start a conversation. I’m waiting to hear your story.