hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these.
I can’t really explain the last three and a half months in great detail. It’s simply too long a time period for me to realistically cover, and with all the strange and bizarre moments it’s hard to remember everything exactly as it happened. what I can tell you is that the last three and a half months have been the best of my life. I know it’s a very generic-gap-year thing to say, but to say that I learned more about myself than ever before wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface.
I suppose I should start with Nepal -
Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. from the bustling hub city Kathmandu to the wild Annapurna circuit to the dusty outcrop of Takure where I spent most of my time, every single part has it’s own charm and beauty. being there is an experience like no other and I truly, truly believe that.
Where I started my journey (which very quickly turned into the majority of my journey) was a small volunteer-run camp in the rural region of Sindhupalchok. I can’t believe I can spell that purely from memory. Conscious Impact is a small, very young organization set up in the wake of the 2015 earthquake that pretty much shattered the entire region. I decided to go because I thought, more than anything, that it would make for a funny story to tell my family when I got back home - a quick ten day jaunt in the mountains volunteering with, from what I could gather from the website, a bunch of hippies. that ten days turned into two weeks, and then two months.
I never really considered communal living to be something I’d enjoy, but it turns out that the sense of family that comes with communal living is one that I adore. communal living paired with service work (something i’d never really pursued before) made for this perfect storm of complete satisfaction, and getting up every day to help rebuild a community with this second family of mine was by far the highlight of my trip. I know this sounds like the generic “wow I went to volunteer overseas and I’m alleviating my white guilt by doing so” but like, no. I looked through so, so many volunteering organizations before choosing Conscious Impact. I couldn’t find one that was as transparent and open as CI, and having been on the ground I can assure you wholeheartedly that this isn’t a VolunTourism gig. these people are not here to take money and make a profit off of a vulnerable community; the deep community roots and commitment to sticking around for over a decade highlight that fact. I can’t stress the overwhelming love I have for this place and the people in it - you taught me so much about myself, my future and my path.
post CI, I went on the Annapurna circuit, an epic multi-week long trek through the upper reaches of the Annapurna region. this is something I’d wanted to do since I was about 14, and to tick off a life goal two weeks after I turned 19 is one of the coolest things I can say I did on this trip. the circuit is diverse, wild, seriously challenging. from Besisahar at 760m above sea level, to Thorong-La Pass at 5416m, and back down to Marpha at 2650m, it was a long, difficult slog through forests, deserts, tundras and alpine ranges. and it was so, totally worth it. I met some amazing people (looking at you, Ritesh, Diego, Tiffany, Alice & Ronja), ate about 3 yaks (minimum) and weeped into my $5 milk tea at the summit.
Nepal was something else and I’m really excited to go back to see more of what it has to offer.
Indonesia was a short one month trip that let me relax and debrief. I spent most of it in Labuan Bajo, a short hop, skip and 29 hour bus ride from Bali. A small port town, it’s arguably the main hub for Komodo National Park, the only place where the titular lizard beasts are found in the world. I chilled out, started writing poetry, ate pizza and got my open water SCUBA diving certification, which was an ordeal for me, mainly because of a family death while scuba diving. It really freaked me out, and it still does, but it feels good to conquer my personal demons and push past my fear.
I also went to the Nusa islands with my homeboy Lachlan, which was the perfect way to cap off my trip. Having not seen my friends in 3 months was bizarre, and seeing him actually really helped prepare for the transition back into normal life.
And now, I’m back!
I’m still unpacking and processing certain things, but it’s good to be able to walk up the road and get Gyradikos anytime I want. The gameplan? Find a full time job, move to NZ for a month, come back for woodford festival, get to University. Start life. abandon that and go to Iceland for like 6 months.
All part of the fun.