In June of 2013, I headed solo over to Kathmandu, Nepal. For my first solo trip, I was a little nervous but after the first night there, I fell in love. Here is why.
Sweet, Sweet Chaos
Being an introvert, I love love love to blend in. Cars and motorbikes dart by with loud beeps. Traffic builds up and jerks by in a jigsawed fashion. Shops line the streets with their colorful merchandise on display. Life in Kathmandu just whizzes past, leaving you seemingly unnoticed. I love it.
The Smell of the City at Lunch and Dinner Time
I rarely had to look at my watch while I was in Kathmandu. I always knew when it was mealtime because the smell of the city changed from car fuel to curry.
Sitting on the roof of my host home, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of peace. I realized that this peace was from the simplicity of the life I was living in Nepal. My biggest worry was if I had enough bottled water to brush my teeth in the morning. Something about just taking away all the extra clutter in our lives brings about the peacefulness that is simplicity.
The People I Met
I met so many incredible people in Nepal. From my fellow volunteers and volunteer coordinators, to my host family and the kiddos at the orphanage. It was incredible how quickly I made friends, despite my extreme introversion in every day life.
My Volunteer Buddy
>Expanding on that, I couldn’t have had the amazing journey I had without my volunteer buddy. Paired up simply because we were staying the shortest amount of time, we had a blast together. I’ve never had “no pants time” with someone so quickly 😉
The Hot Tea/Coffee Thing Every Morning
Every morning before we left for the orphanage, my Nepali Sister would hand us a mug. The mug was filled with a liquid so hot, even just barely sipping it led to a burnt tongue. But the flavor. To this day I don’t know whether this beverage was coffee or tea, but it had such an incredible flavor that I looked forward to every morning. Burnt throat: worth it.
There was so much beauty in Nepal. I left for the country with the intention that I didn’t want to be one of those tourists stuck behind a lens. But I just could not get enough photographs. I wanted to capture everything I saw so I would never forget how beautiful it all was.
The Prevalence of Religion
Nepal is primarily a Hindu country, with some Buddhist influence, and there’s no questioning that. Everywhere you turn there’s a temple or shrine or some sort of religious symbol. I loved seeing how people were so devout to their religion that it was naturally part of their every day life. Imagine if America were tolerant enough for people to live this way too…
I could listen to the Nepali language forever. There was just something so foreign and unrecognizable about it that it was simply musical. I surprisingly picked up on the key phrases quickly too, which was a nice bonus. Nice job, brain.
Everything was just so different. In Australia, I learned that what is different is not necessarily wrong or bad. I’m so glad my mind was already conditioned to think this way, because almost nothing is familiar in Nepal. It’s a fantastic foreign fantasyland and I loved it.
The Lesson I Learned
Before going to Nepal, I had a strong feeling that I was going to learn something very important while I was there. Turns out I did. My big lesson was trust. I have a hard time letting go of control in my life and in Nepal, I had control over basically nothing. I learned to let go and just trust others. What do you know, everything worked out fine and I was a lot less stressed than I would have been.