After a long afternoon of trekking, we finally reached our destination: the settlement of Suile.
To call Suile a “village” would be a little misleading, as it seemed to be no more than a number of farms perched on a hill, with, as far as I could tell, only a singular trekking lodge. Most people, Anker said, either stopped earlier in the day, or stretched on to the major village of Chhomrong.
After 11 hours of trekking, I was happy Anker wasn’t making us stretch on. If he’d told me stopping a few hours earlier was an option, I might have lost the will to keep on. The final steps into Suile had been pure torture. In the end though, I’m glad Anker hadn’t suggested either option, because Suile ended up being a place I will remember for the rest of my life.
What a long, strange year it’s been.
This was the most tumultuous year of my life, so far. It’s been a year defined by two things: people, and places. So I thought I’d write two posts looking back at my year: 2016 in Places, and 2016 in People.
Places is easy—it comes first. People will be harder, and I’ll have to think long and hard about what I want to share, and with whom. It may show up here, it may just be a private thing I share with those close to me. I’m not sure.
The downside with a growing audience is you do need to consider what you say a little more carefully.
As I go into 2017, I’m faced with a big choice: do I choose to keep chasing places, for another little while, or is it time to settle down and devote myself to enhancing my relationships with people?
The two goals, unfortunately, are often mutually exclusive.
Drinking tea, smoking hash and playing chess, our afternoon whiled away in the most pleasant fashion. We did nothing, worked towards nothing, and simply spent our afternoon enjoying the simple pleasures of drinks, conversation, and each other’s company. I had to agree with the Malaysian: I didn’t know what day of the week it was, but it certainly felt like a Sunday morning.
[this is an installment in an ongoing series about my travels in Nepal. The story starts here. It’ll make a good deal more sense if you start there, but feel free to make your own decisions]
Dusk fell, and a chill set in on the open-air cafe. The Spaniard had taken his leave late in the afternoon, off to enjoy a siesta. I was wearing only a t-shirt, all I had needed when I set forth that sunny morning. Now though, the cold was cutting at my bones, and my teeth were on the verge of chattering. I conceded the chess game—the hash was doing my play no favors— and bid the Malaysian adieu.
“Will you be here tomorrow?” I asked, as I settled my bill with the owner.
“Of course,” the Malaysian answered with a gracious smile. “I am here every day.”
“I’ll be back,” I promised with a pointed finger. “And I’m going to win some more games next time!”
Having finally escaped Kathmandu (and escaped is the right word), I was able to turn my attention to the only question that really mattered:
What was I doing in Nepal?
To even begin probing that question, I needed to go back to the start of this trip. I needed to go back to Holly and myself.