Wow! One year and 111 chapters later, I’m done with this project!! What a ride. Thanks everyone for coming along with me on this journey. I’ve appreciated each and every reader more than you can know. I’ll drop some more in-depth thoughts about the process and what’s next for me next week, but for now, just enjoy the closing chapter of this story.
And if you’re new here, I guess you can read the whole story now, start to finish, right here.
I awoke early on my final day in Nepal.
Some animal instinct warned me of impending change.
Sunlight was streaming onto my pallet-like bed in my room at the Annapurna Guesthouse. Dust shimmered in the sunbeam, leading the air an ethereal solidity. It looked like I could reach across the room and pluck the sunbeam straight out of the sky. It was a strangely beautiful sight.
Dust was inescapable in this city. Already, after only two days back in Kathmandu, my cough had come back. It would linger with me long after I returned home, a half-welcome reminder the damages wandering could inflict on a person.
If you’re a frequent traveler, chances are you may have heard about the benefits of flying standby. If you’re not a frequent traveler, you may be wondering: what is flying standby, and what are the benefits of flying standby?
I’ve been in Bocas Del Toro for a few weeks now, and I’m absolutely in love with the houses. This is my first time spending visiting a caribbean island — and I have to say: there’s definitely a unique flavor here! I think it comes across well in photos — and you may be surprised by what you see. Click on thru to check out some of my favorite photos from this laid-back Panamanian archipelago:
I bussed back to Kathmandu.
I returned to the Annapurna Guesthouse, which was just as empty. The owner had kept my sneakers for me. When I asked, he smiled from behind the reception desk, opened a low drawer, and handed them to me, wrapped up in a blue plastic bag.
I would be a little sad to be leaving my blue ‘North Face’ hiking boots here in Kathmandu. We had some memories now, they and I. But, since I had worked so hard to negotiate a rental deal on them here in Kathmandu, I thought I should at least return the boots and reclaim my $30. That money could buy souvenirs for everyone back home.
I swapped the boots for my sneakers and struck back out into the maze-like streets of Thamel.
I had written two sentences of directions on the back of my rental receipt, but these proved to be woefully inadequate. I wandered the streets of Thamel for two hours, looking for the shop from which I had rented the boots. All the trekking outfitters looked the same, and none of them would admit to renting me a pair of hiking boots. Once, I was pretty sure I had found the correct shop, but the woman I had made the agreement with wasn’t there. The young Nepali men minding the shop said no, absolutely not, they didn’t rent boots.
That was as close as I got.
Linjon and I descended down the other side of the mountain from the Stupa. We had been told there was a waterfall to see, and truth was, really, we were both too cheap to pay for the water taxi back to Lakeside.
We walked for a long time, talking all the while. We saw the falls, saw a cave, and touched a more local side of Pokhara. By the time we returned to Lakeside, hours later, we were both sun-stricken and exhausted. But, in some way, we knew each well.
Travel friendships can be like that, sometimes.