Trip background
The flight to Nepal

Trip background

Namaste!y trip extended from March 29 to May 2, 2000, and was essentially divided into two parts. The first part, lasting to April 18, consisted mainly of a Himalayan trek to Nepal's Annapurna Sanctuary with three friends of mine. I experienced the second part of the trip on my own at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Kathmandu, Nepal.

This was my first trip to Asia. I have traveled a few times to Europe, but there was little I could take from my European travels to prepare me for the Eastern Hemisphere. Even all the travel books, novels, films and documentaries that I had seen prior to the trip could not have given me adequate preparation for the cacophony of Asia. It simply must be experienced in person to know what it's like.

Preparation for the trip took a long time. Over the course of many months, my friends (Jon, Jeff and Chris, pictured at right) and I chose a travel company (Erickson Travel, of Seattle, WA, now associated with Snow Lion Expeditions), purchased our gear, planned our itinerary and tried to get in some semblance of good physical shape.
My traveling companions, Jon, Chris and Jeff, doing some sightseeing in Thailand after they ditched me at the end of our trek.

One of the best decisions we made was to get help from Erickson Travel. Although many travelers choose to travel to Asia on their own -- an endeavor that can no doubt be rewarding and less expensive than an assisted trip -- we found that it was awfully nice to leave the oft-confusing details to the experts while we enjoyed our vacation. Erickson Travel was incredibly helpful prior to the trip -- both for their assistance in the trek and in educating me about my monastery stay -- and their choice of a subcontractor in Nepal, Above the Clouds Trekking in Kathmandu, was excellent.