The best thing about being a wanderer, or at times being consumed by wanderlust, is the stories you collect. In addition to collecting my own stories, I like to hear about other people’s adventures.
I had a 7 hour delay at the Kathmandu airport – which worked out well because I wound up on a direct flight to Bangkok on the very posh Thai Airways flight that would have cost me $900 if I booked it directly.
While sitting there at the airport, I met a really cool chick from the U.S. who just spent a month hiking in the Himalayas. What a story! In addition to telling me about treacherous, life threatening pathways, being soaking wet in the frigid great outdoors, and appearing in newspapers after a theft at the campsite, she also told me about leeches. She showed me her battle scars and described the leeches as if they were featured in a horror flick. They crawled in masses over the tents, searching for a way in to suck the blood of their victims. They maneuvered under socks and up shirts. The were so sticky that you couldn’t get them off. One companion had 13 of them on her, and her foot was gushing blood after they were pulled off!
I realized, based on her description, that I actually had a leech on me in Chitwan National Park (I just thought it was a worm with a really good grip – which I guess it actually was). Fortunately it was just on my bag and I flicked it off right away (with a little effort).
You may be wondering why someone would voluntarily endure such hardships – it definitely would not be the trip for me – but then again, many people wonder why I choose to vacation in places where I need five vaccinations, a month of malaria pills, and antibiotics on hand. I can’t explain precisely why this is what I enjoy doing – other than it’s important to me to see what’s out there in the world, to see – with my own eyes – the Himalayas, the cremation ceremonies at Varanasi, the Taj Mahal, the birthplace of Buddha, the customs and culture of far away lands. I love this! I have my own collection of great stories from this journey, and I got to share it with my mother – a priceless experience with great memories to cherish for a lifetime!
Presently, I feel like I am in the lap of luxury in the Thai islands after the trek though India and Nepal. It is 88F/30C degrees, compared to 118F/45C. My hotel room has a stocked minibar, an electric kettle, and a proper shower with hot water and a bathtub. There is a refreshingly cool pool and cooked to order omelets at breakfast. There are even towels with a decent thread count in the room. What a treat!
I am truly enjoying this journey. I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this, and I’m really just so happy and loving life right now 🙂