As we made our way up the valley towards Annapurna Base Camp, my cast of recurring characters had narrowed to no more than a dozen. I was beginning to get to know them all, as we struggled upwards, in mutual agony and awe.
[This is a chapter from my travel book. There are lots more chapters posted on the blog, but if you’d prefer to read them all at once, sign up for my e-mail newsletter and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re available in a condensed form!]
I had a ticket onwards to Nepal, via Delhi. The five hours between when my girlfriend’s plane departed for home and mine left felt interminable. Yet, sitting in a shocked stupor, it also felt as if things were moving very swiftly. Nothing made sense.
I was a human robot, less than a lost child. I could not have thought for myself or made any decision other than to continue down the path I had set for myself a few days ago: I was going to Nepal, and Holly was going home. What had seemed to make so much sense in the weeks leading up to our parting now felt all wrong.
But she was gone, and I held tightly to two tickets: HKG to DEL, and DEL to KTM. The idea to buy a ticket home didn’t even enter my mind. I was utterly incapable of independent thought. So I sat, and I waited, and I boarded the plane to Delhi.
This is essentially a book-length travel memoir which I’ll be feeding out over the course of the next year (sign up for email updates when a new chapter is posted). Working title is “In Praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness” but it’ll probably change. Everything in here is true. A few minor details may be changed in order to accommodate the fallibility of memory, protect identities, or improve narrative flow, but that’s all. It’s a pretty good story with a solid emotional core. I hope you get something out of it.
In Praise of Character in the Bleak Inhuman Loneliness
journeys in Nepal
This is one of those stories with no clear beginning, and no clean end. But it begins, best I can tell it, in a hotel room in Hong Kong. 3:30 A.M.