The day started early today, at 4.30, since we had to catch the morning flight to Lukla which normally leaves around 6 am. Thank God I had left a couple of bars outside my big bag, I thought, since we were not going to get any breakfast until Lukla and I don’t do well when I am hungry. I met the others at the lobby and we left. There was a bus waiting for us around the corner so we had to walk a bit. It was a very special feeling to walk through Kathmandu at night, it is the only time when there is no traffic and it is really silent and dark. It had just started raining a bit and it all felt so exciting all of a sudden that I couldn’t wait to get started.
The airport in Kathmandu was pure chaos, nothing like I had seen before. No screens, no signs, no gates, like you just had to know what to do. We were rushed from one counter to the other where I assumed they weighed our bags, went through some sort of security where no one seemed to care if the metal detector was beeping like crazy as we walked through… and all of a sudden it looked like we were on a waiting room. I felt thankful and relieved of having a guide since I have no idea how could I have navigated without understanding a thing of what was being said.
The day got quite an interesting start since it seemed as the weather had gotten worse and our flight would be delayed for quite some time. As our guide was informing us of all that, a voice on the speaker announced that the weather had miraculously cleared up and that we were in fact taking off on time and that we needed to board our plane immediately. We rushed outside and got into our plane, only to be informed that we were not leaving and that we needed to get back into the building. I don’t know how many times we went back and forth but at the end we ended up leaving relatively on time. I had heard so many horror stories about this flight that I was expecting worse.
The flight itself was very short, around 30 minutes but it was enough time for me to relax and get in the right mindset. I can get a little bit stressed when I don’t know what is going on so finally we were on our way.
We flew across valleys, with luscious green forest, waterfalls everywhere and mists of clouds around the mountains. It was beautiful. Then, in the midst of all that, there they were, the Himalayas. I saw them so briefly that it just kept me wanting more.
Seeing that, I just knew that climbing big mountains was something worth dying for, worth trying. There is no fear here. Once I am far away from the norms of society I see so clearly, nothing feels impossible. There is no doubt, nothing. Everything is about growing, learning and being challenged and pushed. What kind of person will I become if I try this, this or that? That question is what keeps me curious and restless. Failing is nothing; this is really and truly about the journey.
We landed at Lukla and went straight to eat breakfast. We had 3 hours of easy downhill walking ahead, which felt so good for being the first day. On the way to Phakding I got to talk quite a bit with the others. I have never hiked before with such a big group and it is the only thing that worries me a little bit, even though everyone seems to be fantastic and interesting, I find it hard to find my inner peace and focus on my thoughts.
We arrived at Phakding right at lunchtime. The day was quite uneventful; I assume everyone was very tired, including me. We walked around the village with Caitlin and Anna and it was interesting to see how people live here, that these are real people and that this is their normal life, not just a backdrop to our experience.
After that I just laid in bed talking to Linh, my roommate, and it felt great just to be able to talk to someone about a million things without the distraction of technology. I also thought about how luxurious it was to be able to sleep on a bed and have a real toilet, compared to sleeping on a tent this feels like a 5 star hotel right now.