I have received a job offer in New York City.
I have been Googling.
- “Which is more important, career or love?”
- “Job versus woman”
- “Security or freedom?”
- “New York versus Lisbon”
The job is in my field; a startup. A British company, opening a New York branch. I’d have the opportunity to shape the culture, manage the rest of the hires. I have always wanted to live in New York. I know I can do the job. There is lots of potential upside.
There’s just the one downside: if I take the job in New York, I can’t move to Europe, and I can’t continue my whirlwind Italian romance.
After our race, Young Ankit and I struck up some conversation as we sat waiting for the rest of our group to catch up with us. Ankit was working as a porter, carrying the diplomat’s pack, but I had noticed that he seemed a little different from the rest of the porters. Younger, less beat-down. He was more wide-eyed, and certainly more social. Many of the other porters didn’t even speak English. Ankit was animated, articulate, and curious about life in countries other than his own.
It turned out, this was his first-ever trek. He was 15.
It was all still an adventure to him.
The term “base camp trek” is one of the great tricks of Nepali marketing.
For me at least, when I hear the term “Everest Base Camp,” for example, I imagine a sprawling encampment of climber’s tents: guiding companies, porters, sherpa, and people intensely discussing the weather forecast and acclimatization techniques.
Which is, of course, what goes on at Everest Base Camp.
But the Everest Base Camp trek doesn’t actually go to that spot. It stops a little bit short, at the last trekking lodges. To go further, to the actual base camp, one needs to be an actual climber.
The same is true at Annapurna. Our Base Camp trek ended short of the actual glacier — before anything got serious.
I found Linjon, Saffron, and the diplomat’s daughter in the common room, as well as Anker, Ankit, and Linjon’s guide. Our lodge was a small place, so everyone seemed to be socializing. They all greeted me enthusiastically as I came in the room, and waved me over to sit with them.
We rolled into Deurali late in the afternoon, just as a moody fog was settling into the Annapurna valley. We had finally reached the elevation at which trees stopped growing, which gave the landscape an ethereal, stony feel. With no vegetation besides small shrubs and bushes, the towering rock formations around us took on a new, more formidable dimension.