I am finally back! My apologies for the delay on my second blog post. As one might imagine, internet access in the Himalayas is pretty rare. When it was available, it was typically only strong enough for a short message or email. The Wi-Fi in the mountains normally operates off of satellite, which loses its signal when the afternoon clouds roll in around 5pm. As a result, I have been practically off the grid for the past two weeks.
What is to Come
After traveling over 100 miles across treacherous terrain, through small villages, and among the tallest mountains in the world, I have learned a great deal. Still, I have only scratched the surface of Nepal. My hope is to use the next few blog posts to recount my personal experiences and the many things I learned in the past 14 days, as well as the present happenings of my journey. Because there is a lot to share, I will try to divide it up. I want to remain brief, but I also want to share the interesting details of this journey.
A Brief Overview
For clarity, it is important that I recap the purpose and schedule of my trip. My goal is simple—to learn about the people of Nepal and environment of the Himalayas through firsthand experience. Eventually, I hope to use this information to assist in the economic, environmental, and social development of the region. My dream is to make this happen by creating a private mountaineering and travel logistics organization that uses its proceeds to bolster the communities in which its travel takes place. My time here in Nepal is serving as ground zero to learn about mountaineering, tourism, and the environment for this future purpose.
The first two weeks of my trip were spent trekking through the Khumbu region to Everest Base Camp. This involved walking from village to village deep in the Himalayas and staying in small tea houses along the way. I was able to speak to locals, learn from a guide, and gain primary knowledge about the culture of Nepal. The goal of this section of the trip was to familiarize myself with Nepal on a grass roots level, sort of an introduction to this new and foreign world.
With the Everest portion of the trip now coming to a close, I am currently heading for my second assignment—conservation work and economic development in Annapurna (a separate mountainous region in western Nepal). After five weeks of conservation work, I will cap my time in Nepal off by working at a medical hospital for two weeks in Kathmandu—the capital. This will serve as a great transition from my work in Nepal to my work back home in healthcare at HCA. Overall, my trip will have quite a bit of diversity, exposing me to both the city and the mountainside.
Here is a breakdown of my time here:
Assignment I (Cultural Immersion)
Activities: Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Dates: May 15-29 (2 Weeks)
Assignment II (Conservation & Economic Development)
Activities: Conservation/development in Annapurna
Dates: May 30-July 3 (5 Weeks)
Assignment III (Medical Work)
Activities: Working in a Kathmandu Hospital
Dates: July 5-July 16 (2 Weeks)
Where I am Now
Now that I have completed my Everest Trek, I now beginning my conservation work in Annapurna, in a small village called Ghandruk. Getting here alone was quite the transportation story. I took a 20 minute plane ride from Lukla to Ramechhap Airport, a 4 hour bus ride from Ramechhap to Kathmandu, a 7 hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a 5 hour jeep ride from Pokhara to Ghandruk, and finally hiked 30 minutes to our conservation camp. With the poor road conditions and terrible suspension of the Nepali vehicles, it was a rather uncomfortable and bumpy three days of travel. Regardless, I made it in one piece!
What I am Doing
I will be working here in Ghandruk with seven others, all from around the world (France, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and US). My time will be spent surveying and collecting data on the precious landscape and animals for the Annapurna Conservation Association Project (ACAP). The ACAP is an organization created to protect the natural landscape and promote development in local communities. I begin my work this coming Monday. Until then, I will use the time I have to recount my last two weeks in the Khumbu region for future blog posts.
More to Come
I am looking forward to sharing the many things I have learned about Nepal and my experiences thus far! Thank you for your patience given my poor internet connection. The people of Nepal have taught me a lot of things so far, and patience is one of them. Be looking for future posts on my experience trekking to Base Camp and all I learned from the villages I visited and people I spoke with. Until then!