I have redefined retirement at age 23. I have a lifestyle where I do the things I like, with the time I have and still get paid for it. I designed my freedom these two decades, traveling to more than 40 countries. I run a successful business doing consulting works as a Corporate Writer, Corporate Emcee, Event Producer and a Workshop Facilitator. I am also a talk-show host on an Internet Radio station with two programs "A Course In Miracles for Work-Life" and "Freedom Speaks". Life is Healthy, Rich & FREE! You can design this lifestyle according to your willingness. I hope mine will inspire you to achieve that freedom too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Memories of Annapurna, Nepal!

These photos really bring back sweet memories. I was digging into my files in my computer and saw these few precious shots. These were taken when I was backpacking through India and Nepal. The 2 guys were my guides up the mountains. The one in green shirt was the paid guide, and the one in blue followed us because he was sort-of on leave because February was a low season. So, he came along just to accompany us. How I came to use a guide in Pokkhara? I was checking the rates of entrance fees, trekking fees and etc at the police station. I found the rates for foreigners especially high (there are rates for locals and foreigners). And the payment for such fees are for a 3-day pass to a 7-day pass or more. So, you kinda pay for every step you take. Moreover, I have heard so many stories about going on the same Tourist Trail, like the Annapurna Range Walk, the Tea Trek, the Everest Trek and many more. Most of the stories were about kids asking for alms, pulling the tourists trousers for more pens, for more food, for more money and for more of everything. The food served at the treks are mostly Continental breakfast or Western menu for lunches and dinners. Imagine trekking in the pristine enclave of the Annapurna range and the Everest, you get warm milk, omelette, toast, sausage and coffee. It is ok, of course, but I thought I will prefer something more authentic, more of what the villagers will have. So, I sat under a big tree, in front of the police station, thinking what am I suppose to do? Do I forgo the trek and just stay in Pokkhara for 2 days and head to Kathmandu after that? As I was planning of what to do in my head, there came this young man in green. He began to chat with me and told me that he is a certified guide and he showed me his official card. I listened while he went on about his experience binging people up the mountains and how his clients/trekkers loved the sceneries and how everyone enjoyed themselves. When he finished, I told him my reservation about the treks, and the amount of money I need to pay if I go on the treks for a week. He was a great listener and he got what I meant. Immediately he told me about this Royal Trek which is the other side of the mountain range and it is not open to Tourists yet. He said the government was looking at possibilities of doing the Royal Trek with "farm stay" with the locals in the mountains. He asked me if I was interested? I asked him how much will be his fees including all meals and accommodation? He mentioned a price and I jumped at the thought of staying with the villagers, that will be cool.

So, I re-packed my rucksack for a 5-day ration, left the rest at his house in Pokkhara. He told me that his friend is also coming along and they will share a bed if need be. I agreed and there we went for an adventure I did not plan but turned out to be the most memorable of all my time in Nepal. There will be some other photos to show you the trek I had been, I am sure you will be in awe by the beauty of the villages and the villagers. All throughout the trek, I met with the most beautiful people who have not seen a tourist, let alone a Chinese. They were so kind as some invited me for tea and some invited me for dinner too.

Throughout my journey in India and Nepal, I had a really tough stomach. I drank mostly from the mountain spring where the villagers get their water and from the food stalls, I don't remember I bought any bottled water. We were at places that are 7,000 ft above sea level. Tough climb, we spent like 2 days hiking to reach our destination - which was my guide's house in the mountains and met up with his family members. Cute-eh?? What an adventure.

I think I made this trip about 10 years ago. Will I do it again? Sure, but this time, it will be in another place, another adventure. This is truly Nepal at its best!!

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