Trekking Lessons and Friends

Dear Readers,
Today I am writing to you from Phakding, Nepal. Wifi has been scarce along my trek; so much has happened since my last post from Kathmandu. I am now dwelling in my last bits of familiarity as my American friends will soon leave. Trekking has become quite a teacher to me this far. I have begun to live by the sun; closing my eyes just after it sets and waking as it rises. I have begun to approach a peace that I had distanced myself from in these prior months.

This journey has brought some wonderful people into my life. I would like to share with you some insight into what I have learned while introducing you to some of my new friends.

Here I am, pictured with one of our trekking guides Sangi Sherpa. She has become such a sweet friend to me. When I met her, she was shy as she speaks no English and found herself in a group of Americans. She has helped me explore the theme of language thus far, showing me the amazing capability of a shared language as we can communicate in the Nepali language together. Growing up with an American experience, I have been able to find English speakers most anywhere I find myself in. I wonder what difficulty it must be to not have this luxury.

Trekking has made me aware of some very simple things. I have learned that I must look at what is right in front of me, I must stay present, in order to continue. Remaining in my present surroundings, looking to my future every so often, staying aware of what I may fear but not dwelling in my fear. It’s okay to go slow. Every day is different. Some days will be better than others; I’ve learned to take them as they come. I’ve also learned that I will become stronger each day as I hike. Beginning is hard, but slowly continuing builds strength.

This guy, Nima, showed me the beauty in smiling, the strength in laughing. It is common for Nepali people not to smile in posed pictures; however, he had a smile that radiated each of us even during the hardest parts of our hiking. My friend Sangi and Nima’s daughter Kamu–another young trekking guide with us–have shown me the importance of helping each other without expectations. Sangi holds my hand to help me down steep rocks. I give her cough drops when I discovered she has a sore throat. We paint each other’s nails- red with white dots. It’s a friendship operating from a place of mutual care rather than gain. It’s beautiful.
My breath has connected me to myself during this trek. I breathe in and I feel peace; I breathe out and am left with calm. Feelings of negativity have inevitably arisen during my time here; my breath keeps me level. Our lead trekking guide, Dendi Sherpa, often reminds us to take a rest, to move at our our pace, to move slowly. His words will resonate with me throughout and after this trek as well.
We spent three days in Dendi’s hometown village of Hill, helping with some reconstruction efforts due to the April earthquake. It was incredible to feel the joy these people had just to have us in their community.

These three pictures are only a small sampling of the many people who invited us into their homes to drink tea. Spending time with a village that was affected by the earthquake grounded me again into my desires to research, my desires to understand the displaced. Dreams I will soon be fulfilling. I have so much more to share with you; I will be sure to share again when possible.

As for now, thank you for reading.