31st of April
It’s late, it’s been a long day at work and I’m struggling to keep my eyes open however I don’t want to go to sleep just yet, I absolutely want to record in this notebook all of my before, during and after memories of my trip to Nepal. I have a feeling that it will change many things for me; my excitement is only growing as the days go by. I’m so impatient!
I have just purchased my insurance! £72.00 (ouch!) OK, so it is very expensive for my pocket but I will play it safe, I wouldn’t like to be stranded in the Himalayas without any support and out of the many things that I may need, this is for me a paramount one. The trek involves risks here and there, I want to be protected. I think this insurance covers pretty much all the necessary stuff, specially a helicopter rescue up to 6.00 metres. Nevertheless to say, I really hope I won’t need to be rescued!
I feel exhausted today; I think I have organized in just one day a 70% of the trip! After work, I have literally spent the whole day up and down London buying massive quantities of pills for this and that, I wonder if I’m not exaggerating! I guess it’s all right to feel like this, being in the Himalayas will be an overwhelming feeling and after so much research about high mountain trekking, if something happens, I want to be as prepared as I can. I know I will not be using most of the stuff that I’ll be taking with me but it scares me shitless that I could be stranded in the middle of such mountains without the basics.
I’m not sure if I’ve being silly but organizing this trip has given a new sense to my life. Everything since I purchased my ticket to Kathmandu revolves around this trekking. It is the first thought in my mind when I wake up and also the last, it makes me smile endlessly and most of all, it makes me proud that I have taken this decision. I can’t remember the last time I felt so alive!
I cheat the scarce few quiet moments at work by researching about Nepal, I’m breathing this trekking. Some nights if I really concentrate, I can feel the mountains calling me. I’m experiencing so much thrilling feelings lately; I find it almost impossible to share them with my friends. I wonder if anyone is able to relate to my feelings right now…I like to think that someone somewhere in the world is also organizing a first trekking trip to Nepal and feels as elated as I do.
We are never alone in our dreams and hopes. I like to remember that, it sort of brings me comfort.
Good night Nepal, I shall be with you soon.
1st of May
London (flight date)
It’s the day!! I can’t believe the day has finally arrived after dreaming with it for so long.
Everything is packed; I spent until late last night with this packing making sure that everything that should be there is actually there. Soon I’ll be on my way to Heathrow, I feel excited and nervous!
Crap, my backpack is heavier that I thought! I was dreading that it would actually happened, I should have known better. I hope the weight won’t be an issue to carry it up and down the mountains. I’m psychically strong and I feel fit, I should be all right. No matter what, I’m carrying my own backpack up and down the mountain and that’s that.
I don’t know why but I feel scared now, excited and scared. I’m getting all these millions of doubts all of a sudden, I’m not even sure I’ve changed enough dollars and whether am forgetting something important or very basic. Now, this is ridiculous, I’ve spent months backpacking alone in Asia confidently before. Montse, don’t panic!
Same day -Heathrow Airport
This is it! I’m in Heathrow, I can see my Kuwait Airlines plane outside the window. Sometimes a dream comes in the shape of an airplane.
I’m in Heathrow, this is it. My Kuwait Airlines plane is right outside; I can hardly contain my excitement. One plane transfer in New Delhi and I will be on my last miles to Kathmandu.
PREPARING YOUR TREK IN NEPAL. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU (less is more as all the trekking equipment you many need can easily be purchased or rented in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lukla, Namchee Bazar, etc…)
It is important that besides taking your passport (!) Make photocopies of it and distribute them through your carry on backpack and big backpack.
Take with your two size passport pictures as you will have to do your visa paperwork at the Kathmandu airport upon landing and you’ll need one for sure (I always like to take more than one just in case)
Travel Insurance (PARAMOUNT!) Check before how many meters in altitude you’ll be trekking and make sure that you choose an insurance that has an “adventure” section that covers that altitude, a helicopter rescue and the minimum amount of days that your time in Nepal will last.
Distribute copies of your insurance among family and/or friends and carry a print out for yourself on your backpack (I personally used “World Nomads” because they cover up 6.000 metres and a helicopter rescue but do your own research and choose what it works best for you)
Change a fair amount from your currency to $ at your home country at least to cover for your trekking expenses unless you book it in advance (I paid to the agency for my trek in dollars once I arrived in Kathmandu but everything else I paid it in rupees that I exchanged once in Kathmandu, at Thamel neighbourhood where my Guest House was located)
I arrived into Kathmandu “empty handed” and the same day I landed I looked for a guide leaving for my trekking the next day (more details in the next posts)
CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE (2016)
1.00 USD = 109.16 NPR
1.00 EUR = 123.20 NPR
1.00 GBP = 158.87 NPR
*Note that I trekked in Nepal in 2013 and the prices have possibly risen slightly since then
WHAT TO PACK
Water purification tablets (see comment below)
Sunscreen (optional but useful)
Imodium tablets (IMP)
Rehydration treatment sachets (IMP)
Lip balm for dry lips
LOTS of baby wipes (you won’t shower for several days so wipes are your way to keep yourself as clean as possible given the circumstances)
A box of panty liners (only for females)
Toilet paper and/or tissue paper (you will still be able to purchase the basics on the tea houses all the up and down but remember that the more up you are the more you’ll pay for basic stuff like this)
Hard plastic bottle of water (better not coloured as when trekking is important to see how dirty the water that you will fill up from the tap is, so you can decide whether to use one or two purification tablets)
*Do never drink water from the tap in the Himalayas without putting in it a purification tablet and leaving it a short while until it gets cleaned before you drink it)
Additional info for female readers:
I used a lot of wipes during my trek to clean myself, intimately and also for the face as I did not shower for several days and in those remote tea houses with a tap, the water was so freaking cold that it hurt hence why I sometimes used also a wipe for my face instead of washing it with water.
Since it got very cold inside the Tea Houses as I making my way up I chose not to undress to sleep for several days and I used panty liners to keep my underwear clean through it.
Note pad and pen (with so many hours to kill trying to warm up near the wood stove at the tea houses in the evenings, writing will become your best friend) Do write a diary of your trekking, a valuable memory that you will treasure forever
International adaptor (always a good purchase if you travel often)