Five days ago my good friend Brian and I left our guesthouse the Buddha Garden in Kathmandu and headed to the international airport to travel to the other side of the world. Thirty hours later we arrived safely back in NYC having concluded a trip of a lifetime! I felt greatly privileged to have had the opportunity to go and experience such a magical place.
While I don’t want BYOL to become a mundane “look-at-what-I-did-this-week” type of thing, I’ve decided that my return post would be dedicated to sharing a few memories and photos of my recent trip just to fill you in a bit about what is going on in my life.
About two years ago I received a call from a friend about a possible vegan group trip out to Nepal to hike the Himalayas. A near political meltdown and civil war, schedule conflicts and poor weather stood in the way but finally two of us, out of a much larger group, finally purchased some tickets to the ceiling of the world.
"Very Strong Bridge!" Close to the top of the world
On New Years Eve I said good-bye to the city and all I love with a 4 mile midnight run in Central Park. The next day on the airplane, over the Atlantic Ocean, while most were asleep I walked to the back of the plane and joined the Mile High Club. Probably not the Mile High Club you’re thinking of. In fact I might be the first member of this one… I pushed out 175 pushups. You’ve never felt turbulence until you’ve felt it doing pushups on the floor of a plane 40,000 feet above the earth.
Pushups are a truly remarkable exercise. Working nearly every muscle group, and requiring only body weight, pushups can be done anywhere. Brian and I often begin and ended our long days in the Himalayas doing a hundred or so.
Our trip to Nepal originally included five days of trekking in the Annapurna region, however after our first half-day of hiking we realized that we were far outpacing even the best times listed in the guidebook. As such, we figured if we could keep our pace, we would be able to create an extra day to two days of our trip. The race was on but the second day of hiking proved far more difficult. As we reached higher elevations, we struggled with shortness of breath and dizziness, icy paths, incredibly cold weather, an entrenching mist and endured on unrelenting climbs and scary treacherous descents.
Despite such difficulties, Brian and I still greatly outpaced the guide and we were able to finish a five-day trek in the Annapurna Mountains in only two and a half days! At one of the tea houses we slept at we told the villagers how far we planned on hiking the next day. They laughed thinking we were overly ambitious. The next day the two of us were doubtful but determined to try to reach our end point. Not only did we hike the distance we said we would, but we did it an hour faster than we originally estimated- obviously those Himalayan villagers don’t know the endurance of vegan athletes! If my legs and lungs were not ready for Miami before the trip, they were ready now!
Because of the quickened pace, Brian and I finished our trek with nearly a week left. As such we had plenty of time to go to Southern Nepal to hang out with the rhinos and monkeys and still make it back to Katmandu with enough time to see all of the magnificent temples and stupas in the area. Unfortunately, foggy weather kept us grounded in Katmandu- we never got to see Everest. Still Nepal was an amazing trip! Words cannot express the attachments and sentiment now I feel for that country.
Thanks for allowing me to indulge, next up Kale vs Collards!