The next morning I woke with a sense of sadness.
Today would see us out of the mountains, and back to Pokhara. Our time in this wilderness sanctuary was over. This idea was reinforced by our guides, who told us we could catch a jeep home after only a few hours walk. It felt weird to hear the words “jeep,” and consider riding in a car, when for the past ten days, we’d been on nothing but foot paths. I had kind of forgotten cars existed, up there in the steep mountains.
But modernity was beckoning.
Hot showers, different food, reliable power… Internet and an interview for my future… different things called to each of us. Our guides pushed hard for a post-trek party: live music and cheap beers at a bar called the Busy Bee in Pokhara. I had my interview scheduled that night, so I had to pass.
And besides, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect closing to our journey than our dance party last night. Anything further would just sully a clean conclusion. And I was in dire need of a clean conclusion, after the mess I’d made of things on my way here.
I still had hope.
As we trekked out of Jihnudanda, I thought about my upcoming interview. An international fitness company wanted to hire me as a digital marketing specialist, and relocate me to Austria. I didn’t speak German, but I knew I could pick it up. I didn’t really want to return to the United States, which an Israeli and an Austrian had warned me was quickly sliding towards electing a dangerous authoritarian.
But after six lonely months on the road, I also wanted my friends. I wanted my family, and I wanted to climb some rocks. I wanted Holly. As I trekked down, towards the end of my temporary eden, I found it hard to decide which set of things I wanted more.
We trekked out quickly, and before we knew it, we were walking into a port town of sorts: the end of the road, where supply jeeps stopped and unloaded their goods, for porters to carry up to the isolated mountain villages above. We had the option of trekking alongside the road for a few more hours and catching a cheap bus back to Pokhara, but everyone was in agreement: we’d pay a little more, and charter a jeep back. The diplomat’s daughter was ill with some stomach bug, and the rest of us were just ready to be ‘home.’
We stopped for a cold soda, and a light meal, then loaded up the jeep — ready to return.