Pokhara – Saving lives, beautiful sunrises and a road trip

Where to begin with this one. I’ve had some ideas, then I had food not agreeing with me, which knocked me out for about 2 days (yay?! Suppose it had to happen at some point) and then I had, rather still have, pagoda and temple fatigue. But no excuses, on with the writing. My future self will thank me to have this to look back on.

Right, so we went to Pokhara in Nepal. We even extended our stay by a few days because we fell in love and wanted to do much more than we were physically and time-wise able to do. I don’t know if it is a competition thing, but everyone in Pokhara said that once you’ve seen the Himalayas there, you won’t enjoy Nagarkot. So we cancelled our stay there much to my disappointment cause I was supposed to cook with the hosts. But it was definitely worth exchanging that with our adventure in Pokhara.

Let’s start at the beginning. It took us a solid 10 hours from Kathmandu to Pokhara, yet it is a mere 200km so that should give you an idea about the roads. After the dust and hustle in Kathmandu, Pokhara is a nice change of scenery to arrive to. Arriving into the city, we saw some clouds in the distance only to realise it was the top of a friggin mountain in the Himalayas. Anyways, Pokhara is mainly for the active, though I would absolutely not mind just hopping from restaurant to cafĂ© to restaurant, read a book, chill and watch people. It had a very relaxed mood about it with lots of diverse places catering for tourists. Basically, the tourist street was touristy but it wasn’t overwhelmingly much.

I realised I veered off again. Let’s get to the juicy bits. Mind you, it’s something I can say now cause it all ended well. In short, we saved 2 lives on our first proper day. With a paddle boat. On the lake. We were coming back from a little hike to the World Peace Pagoda (definitely recommend renting a boat and going up there as a half day trip) when we heard some yelling. We were the only ones on the lake that we could see as it had started raining (we had a deadline in our rental time) besides those people. The weather changed very dramatically, as it does in the mountains. So where there was only some light drizzle before, there were suddenly strong winds and therefore currents. Two guys struggled to get to their paddle boats cause of said currents and a third friend was trying to help but couldn’t. I don’t think we quite realised the urgency and just slowly paddled towards the bunch. Once closer, it sunk in, we picked up the life jackets from their paddle board, paddled against winds and waves, threw the jackets out to them and picked them up one by one. Phew!

Fast forward a day, the group of friends invited us for dinner to thank us, took us to drinks at their new favourite hotspot (Altitude Bar – convince them of getting more cosy lights) and we had a date with one of them, Nikil, to do a road trip on a Royal Enfield (husband’s dream). Considering they wanted to take us bungee jumping and paragliding, I felt this was a good choice. Though I am not certain my bum and back would have agreed with that 48 hours later.

Off we went on said road trip, first with no aim, then to Tatopani to enjoy a natural hot spring that turned into an overnight stay to give us all a break from propelling through rivers, mud and sand. As I said, for me it was a bit of a challenge (an understatement) but I knew my husband was a happy bunny and enjoyed “motocrossing it” on the roads. And the views weren’t so shabby along the way. Side note, if you know how to drive and enjoy off-roads, don’t be a passenger on the back.

Somewhere in between adventures, we also some some stunning sunrises over the Himalayas and did some smaller treks. The first sunrise was so stunning that we decided to go up to the Australian Camp overnight in a tent to have the mountains even closer. It was absolutely beautiful and worth doing. The hike up there isn’t that long, though I swear I felt like there were more stairs, steeper hills and an entirely different route to get to the camp the first time around. We did a trekking route with a guide cause we didn’t know anything, but with a bit of research and asking around it is totally doable on your own. Also, I find it’s always worth checking these days, if the place you’re staying at needs some breaking out off via kitchen fences and amusement park barbed wires in the early morning or if they’d open the front door for you. It saves you some adrenaline at 5am though I suppose you won’t need the gym or coffee after that.

More photos of our trip can be found on Flickr

Travel planning – the packing list

travel planning - the packing list

We’re in the middle of getting a lot of little things done and sorted, such as vaccinations and our packing list. We brainstormed what we knew from previous trips backpacking and hiking, got our friends’ packing list sent over and researched a little. I think most of it is common sense, trying to go minimalist and top that off with a few luxury items that one doesn’t really need but would make things so much more fun!

I thought I’d share our current list to help anyone that wants to do something similar, but mostly, it is to get your input on what you think might be missing. I know quite a few people that have been travelling/backpacking for a longer period and would love your wisdom. Pretty please.

As I said the list below is still a work in progress until we have done some test packing. Also, I know that we don’t need a camera, a phone and an iPad/laptop. They have a purpose and I am still debating with myself if I’m going to take all of it or cut it by at least 1 device.

And ladies, what did you do for that time of the month? Did you pack it all upfront? Help a woman out!
[UPDATE 04-2018: I had a lot of feedback on this. I am still debating how I’ll do it and will experiment with a cup before travel upon recommendation of a friend who said that it worked well for her.]

[UPDATE 08-2018] I attached the list as a Packing list in case it’s helpful for you and you find it easier having it on paper to cross things off as you pack.

Things I want to change or get better at in 2018

2018 changes

My very first blog post last year was about my goals for 2017. I managed to achieve them more or less, though half way through the year, I realised that some of the things I had put on my list didn’t have high priority anymore and they started to become a chore rather than something I liked doing. This is why I am not going to set hard goals per se. Rather, I am aiming to change or improve a few things this year.