Travel Stories Week 59
Full Time Explorer
What's your favourite place you have visited?
My favourite place I’ve ever visited is definitely Nepal. I’ve met so many travellers who arrive at a place so foreign to their own and describe it as feeling like home. That’s how Nepal was to me. I lived in New York City for 8 years before travelling around Asia for a year. Each place I went to was special and unique, but something about Nepal really won me over. The locals are so kind, and I finally got to slow down to a local speed which is drastically different from New Yorker speed.
It’s the sort of place where you’ll be out with friends and someone at the table realizes you are all 20 minutes late for something. In a logical fashion, you all decide to get moving, but not without grabbing a Nepali tea on the way. It always cracks me up how there’s no rush to get anywhere in Nepal. There’s something about the slow pace of life there that I really love.
What’s the best thing you have seen while travelling?
I did a trek up to Mera Peak in Nepal. It’s the highest trekking peak in the country and reaches almost 6,500m. I had never been over 5,200m before so it was a big challenge for me. The day we went to high camp, I struggled with every single step. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and we got hit with a storm and whiteout conditions. I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in any direction and I was showing signs of altitude sickness. When we reached camp after 8 hours, I had some soup and went to sleep.
I woke up with really bad headaches and wasn’t able to summit, but in the morning I left the tent and the sky had cleared. I had no idea where we were when we went to sleep, so I was in utter shock. Our tent was next to a cliff with a view of the Himalayas including Everest. It was the most stunning thing I’ve ever witnessed. Had the day before not been a whiteout, I would have seen the view earlier, but instead, I woke up to the unknown and it was insanely cool.
What’s your best travel story?
This year, I joined a campaign to deliver clean drinking water to rural parts of Nepal. I really wanted to give back to the country that’s given me so much. I helped fundraise money for it, and then, I got to hand deliver the filters in person. When we arrived at the village, we were met by hundreds of people. They had a drumline that walked us into the village, and a line of people put flower garland and red tikka on our foreheads for good luck. There were so many flowers on my neck that it must have weighed 20 lbs!
It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. The absolute joy and gratitude coming from people was indescribable. They recreated their favourite festival for us so that we could see their traditional dances, and we all celebrated for hours. One woman held my arms and leaned her foreheads into mine. She didn’t speak English and I can barely speak Nepali, but at that moment, I felt we had a bond I’ll remember for a lifetime.
Tell us about your blog
Michelle ditched the hustle and bustle of New York City life, strapped on a backpack and started to travel through Asia. Read about what it’s like to trade five-inch stilettos for squat toilets at Full Time Explorer.
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