I've been so lucky to spend the last month falling in love with Nepal all over again. As much as the breathtaking scenery and serenity, I once again fell in love with the faces of Nepal. Their spirit, good humour, kindness, and resilience, not to mention their uncanny ability to make you feel like Nepal is your adopted home, make the people of Nepal stand out as some of the best in the world. Of the many faces I met over the last month, here are some of my favourites...Nepali children, who win your heart with a smile and usually a cheeky comment or two • Pilgrims at Bouddanath • Mr Kancha Sherpa, the last remaining surviver of the 1953 Hillary/Tenzing successful Everest expedition, and perhaps the most incredible man I've ever met • Sherpa women, who are always so elegantly turned out even in sub-zero temperatures • Yaks, very much the life blood of the mountains and absolute heroes when it comes to making high altitude trekking possible • Mingma, my trek sidar (head guide), a summitter of 8,000m peaks, a total card shark and cheat, and an absolute legend • A little Sherpa boy I met on his 3 hour walk to the local hospital, who still had time to laugh, joke and take selfies • Mountain horses, who ferry unwell trekkers back down to lower altitudes • Doctor Hasta, one of the assistant guides on my trek who self styled himself as the expedition "doctor" as it was his job to carry the first aid kit. His smile has to be one of the best ever • Trekking guides and porters, who have a cheeky and playful way that makes you forget you're walking for days on end. When they see you struggling they rush to take your bag from you, and in short there's nothing they wouldn't do to keep you safe, healthy and happy in the mountains #faces#facesofnepal#people#nepal#himalayas#mountains#kathmandu#bouddanath#khumbu#everest#everestbasecamp#sherpa#kanchasherpa#yak#mountainhorse#horse#trekking#getoutdoors#goexplore#travel#travelgram#travelphotography#backpackingbadger#nextstoprio#untilnexttimenepal#nepaloverandout
Here she is, in all 8,848m of her glory...Sagarmatha (Goddess of the Sky) as she's know in Nepal, Chomolungma (Mother Goddess of the Universe) as she's known in Tibet, or Everest as she's known to the Western world.
Trekking through the Khumbu and Gokyo valleys for the last 16 days has been mind blowing, with jaw dropping scenery at every turn. It's been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life, and one that I'd do again in a heartbeat. It's also been incredibly humbling to share the trail with (to name but a few) Sherpas who risk their lives to ensure paying clients summit Himalayan peaks, porters who carry up to 100kg and enable tourism to exist in these remote valleys, yaks who bravely and tirelessly plod up and down mountain passes, a little 3 year old Sherpa boy walking for 3 hours to the nearest medical clinic, and an army veteran who's leg is held together by metal plates following a bomb attack in Afghanistan and who is seeking serenity and purpose in the mountains as he battles PTSD.
Getting to the top of Kala Pathar (5,643m) and Gokyo Ri (5,357m) in the middle of the night, with no sleep and in temperatures of -15 nearly got the better of me...but I think you'll agree that the views were worth it 👊🏻 If you've ever wanted to get up close and personal with the world's highest peaks, all I can say is book your flight, book your trek and get into thin air!
Namaste Nepal 🙏🏼 I first visited Nepal 12 years ago, and I've wanted to come back every since. Finally that day has come, and I find myself back on the roof of the world! Much has changed since my last visit...two earthquakes have devastated the country, and given the mountainous terrain the effort to rebuild homes and schools has been enormously challenging. More recently Nepal has suffered its worst flooding in decades. Whole villages have been swept away, and the extent of the damage is still being counted.
But one thing remains unchanged...this place, and in particular Boudhanath temple, still gives me the feels. The people of Nepal are some of the warmest, friendliest and cheekiest that you'll meet, and very little gives away the hardship they've endured (not to mention the fact they're among the world's poorest). So if you're looking for holiday inspiration, look no further...get yourself to the roof of the world!
Everest...I'll see you soon 🏔