When I was 19 years old I was a bit lost in my life. I had just dropped out of studies I didn’t like and I had no idea what would be my next move.
I was suffocating in Bruxelles. I knew something had to change but what ?
One day I woke up with only one idea in mind : I want to go to Nepal.
Why? No idea.
What do I know about this country? Close to nothing.
Do I have money for it? No.
But do I want to go? Definitely.
At that point there is only one thing I know, I want to leave everything behind and for some reasons my guts screamed Nepal.
I started working and saving money. At some point, I had enough money for a trip of three months in Nepal. Perfect, nothing is planned, I am taking my flight ticket and I am gone.
My brain didn’t realized until the plane took off. At that moment I started crying and crying I couldn’t stop but there was so much relieved in that.
Once in that plane,I was scared of the unknown but the further I got from home, the lighter my shoulder became.
Let me take you with me through the highs and lows of my trip:
What a shock when I realized that I had landed in Katmandu. All I knew is that my first night was booked in a hostel downtown called Alobar 1000, a wonderful place where travelers comes and go between two itineraries . The place was lovely and tidy with a fantastic rooftop that offers a splendid view.
Within the first 10 minutes at the hostel, two Italian girls came to me and started to chill with me. We went in the streets of Katmandu to eat, shop, visit. I directly understood that I wouldn’t be travelling alone. I was amazed with people kindness and open-mindedness.
I spent one week in Katmandu visiting the cities every day with different people.
If you once go there I would advise you to stay there at least 5 days because there is so much to see. You shouldn’t be in a rush because it’s while visiting at a comfortable pace that you will enjoy talking to people and discovering hidden gems.
Then I left for Pokhara, the capital of the Gandaki province. What an amazing place. If you are going to Nepal you have to go there.
The city is on the shore of Phewa Lake and the Annapurna Range with three out of the ten highest peaks in the world. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu are all within 25 and 55km of the valley which makes it the perfect place to stay before and after your trek.
While chilling in the common space of the Kiwi Backpackers Hostel, a Spanish guy and a Netherlands girl came to talk to me. They instantly turned into very good friends. They were planning a trek into the Annapurna’s circuit.
This trek brought me on the track of one the most beautiful chains of mountains in the world.
I would challenge myself along great friends and push myself physically to climb 5600 m of altitude. At that time I started to trust my guts and I understood the power of saying yes and meeting people while travelling because they are the one that will shape your travel.
After this amazing journey I left for Tansen, the administrative center of Palpa District. It is located on the highway between Butwal and Pokhara, on the crest of the Mahabharat Range, overlooking the valley of the Kaligandaki River to the north.
This time, there were no internationals with me and most of the locals didn’t speak English.
I stayed there for 10 days and experienced loneliness for the first time of my life.
At some point being alone started to be difficult but it gave space for introspection.
Another highlight of my trip is when I met a couple of Nepali friends biking around Nepal. They were young, locals and fun. They offered me to joined them and another beautiful journey started.
We biked hundreds of kilometers to Lumbini, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Lumbini Province. Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha.
Lumbini has a number of older temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, and various new ones, funded by Buddhist organisations from various countries, have been completed or are still under construction.
The guys I traveled with were buddhist and while going to this absolutely gorgeous and spiritual place they shared their cultures and their beliefs with me. Going there without those locals would never have been the same. I got to understand a bit better the history behind this place. It was definitely the spiritual part of my trip and it brought a lot of love and happiness.
The only advice I can give four years after this unbelievable journey is to go for it. If you feel the need to travel, just do it and don’t over plan it because your travel will born from the unknown and opportunities.
Take the time in each place, meet people because they will definitely shape your trip.
Be open to anything and left the anxiety at home.
Those are opportunities to focus on yourself and you should take it!