After a few months of getting things done (read as selling furniture, getting rid of things you don’t want, quitting job, etc ) and several goodbye parties from my wonderful friends in Vancouver, I embarked on the first part of my trip. Making a short stop in England, I made my way to Kathmandu at the end of March where I would begin the volunteer orientation before my placement.
Having lived in a few countries during my childhood, moving to Vancouver and having family spread out around the world, I have been lucky enough to have had a great amount of opportunities to travel. But I have to confess that by the time I reached the guest house in Kathmandu, I felt overwhelmed. The size of the decision I had made, to leave the comforts of my decent paying job and nice apartment in Vancouver, seemed that much bigger at that moment when I was by myself in a country far away from everyone I knew. Being the person I am, after a short cry (I’m a crier!), I made myself set the mind back to “adventure mode” and went exploring a bit of Kathmandu.
During the next few days, and after I was sent to my placement in Pokhara, things got easier emotionally as I meet people and became settled into what would be my routine for the two months I volunteered.
The volunteering experience was challenging and rewarding. I grew to love the kids and Auntie at the home where I was working, and felt like I was part of their little family for the time I was there. Staying with a host family and living outside of the main tourist street (although reachable by walking 20-30 min) of Pokhara, allowed me to experience and love Nepal in a different way than had I only gone trekking or backpacking.
During my time off and on the third month, I managed to do two treks (with breathtaking views), a visit to Chitwan National Park where I got to ride Elephants and see Rhinos, a 11 day Yoga/meditation retreat, sightseeing and a rock climbing course around Kathmandu.
I met a lot of people during all that time, some of which I keep in touch with and some who I don’t, but they all made an impact in my life one way or the other, and they definitely all made my time in Nepal the great experience it was. It was at the climbing course in my last few days in the country, that I met the person that would give me the last little push I needed to keep traveling in Asia (thanks dude!).
And this is how the idea of traveling and climbing in Thailand got into my head. Which marks the second part of the trip and a post to come!