After the bags are packed, repacked, and triple checked you still cannot help but fidget with the straps and buckles. My mind wanders, dreaming of the snow-capped mountains, a range so grand and impressive — towering over little me. The first time I remember seeing pictures of the Himalayas was when I was eleven. The images still excite me, causing a rushing sensation over my entire body.
At night I cannot help but wake up Tzachi. “Crampons! Crampons! Crampons!” I nearly shriek in sheer excitement as I shake him. After all, how can one go to such a magnificent landscape and not summit something? Our trek around the Annapurna Circuit awaits us. And then off to Everest Base Camp and from there to Island Peak.
Since my time at university, when I read Into Thin Air, by John Krakauer, I have been consumed by the juxtaposition of nature’s power and humanities’ feeble existence. Through a struggle of understanding the true power of nature, of knowing limitations beyond your control but craving success, I believe lies the true soul. There is a need to be surrounded with nature, to scale mountains, realizing personal strength, surrendering not to pain but only to the uncontrollable elements of Earth. This is what I crave. A mountain top with a view. A kiss on top of the world, crampons latched onto my boots, and an ice pick in hand.
I admit that my notion might be slightly irrational. Tzachi still asks me if I am excited for the Annapurna Circuit, and of course I am. However, I cannot help that the eleven year old girl is still inside me, shouting, “Can we climb that? Ooo, and that one too!” A dream come true.
Our trip will start with the Annapurna Circuit. A trek that I am sure will test me, but also will open my mind. From the bustling city of Kathmandu to the villages and hamlets of Jagat and Ngawal, it will be a new culture. A completely different lifestyle, and yet, still the world is small. In my heart, I know the world is small, but I wonder if I will still feel this way when standing at the base of foothills taller than any mountain I have ever seen; dwarfing the Sierra Nevada’s of my home state.
Asia, a continent I have yet to explore is slowly unfolding in front of me. I have spent the last few months clambering to read about the customs, cultures, religion, food, climate, political history, personal stories, and anything else I could get my hands on. I have read accounts of child trafficking from Humla during the Maoist rebellions in the early 2000’s. Every trekkers’ blog has prepared me for the endless amount of lentils and rice I will be eating. The weather reports inform me that it will be post-monsoon season, but anything is still possible is such a volatile landscape.
The truth is, I have read so much but know so little. With each day I will struggle a little more and come to learn something new. This is the trip of a lifetime that Tzachi and I are embarking on. May we end the trail happy, sore, and a little wiser than when we departed. For now though, with three days left till we board the plane, all I feel is pure excitement coursing through my veins. “Here we go!” that little girl is still shouting.