Such a trip requires much organisation and planning for this trip has been meticulously happening for well over a year now. Our itinerary has been carefully created, our flights book accordingly and each Explorer has been briefed on the likelihood of altitude sickness and the runs. Passports were handed in, forms signed off and all ready for our departure yesterday. Yet, such is fate, and our bad-tasted flirtations with Lady Luck, that we woke up on Friday morning with the entire expedition about to be pulled from beneath us, as Jet airways, our flight provider to Kathmandu via Delhi, suspended all flights to or from India amid fears of impending bankruptcy. This had been a threat for several weeks as Jet’s losses became known but, with a pilot’s strike scheduled for the day after our arrival in Nepal and insurance ensuring a safe return, we were hoping this nightmare could be avoided. But alas…
Therefore, the focus of my debut blog article will be on the remarkable efforts of our leader team to keep our expedition on track. For over the course of one manic Friday, 16 spare seats were located on 2 Qatar airways flights taking us to Kathmandu on Tuesday and Wednesday and bringing us back 13 days later. To find so many seats available at such short notice is nothing short of incredible fortune and to only lose 1 day of our entire expedition is fantastic. Therefore, the leadership team of Andy Baynes, Lucy Weston, and the three John’s (Male, Kidner and Williams) deserve every compliment imaginable and for forking out the additional costs at such short notice before payments could be collected in from us muppets.
It is the leaders who have arranged this trip and whilst they have delegated us various roles in the organisational areas of this trip, such as scouting diplomacy (more on that later) or risk assessments among others, they have been there to sweep up our mess and make plans where ours failed. This trip is entirely dependent on their efforts and management and I am sure that when I write my final article in around a fortnight’s time, I will reference our eternal gratitude towards them for their efforts.
Anyhow, I’m sure you’re reading this because you want to know about our exploits and plans whilst abroad so here we are. the trip is 13 days long and excluding days travelling will result in 9 days of hiking, peaking at the Gosainkunda lake (4380m above sea level) high in the Himalayas. It will take 5 days of hiking to climb up to it and 2 days of descent afterwards before driving back to Kathmandu the following day. We will be staying in remote tea houses en route and in a hotel in Kathmandu, either side of our mountainous exploits. In total, we will be spending 2 days in Kathmandu, the first of which I imagine we will be rather jetlagged and will be able to explore the capital and see both its famous World Heritage sites and the damage of recent Earthquakes.
Such different standards of living will no doubt be a great culture shock to both the mind and body, but it’s a shock I for one am looking forward to. This can be traced back to Intrepid ESU’s motto, adopted originally for our London to Paris cycle ride in 2017 – Vivimus unam Vitam (One Life, Live it.) When I first became aware of the expedition to Nepal, I knew I wanted to go simply because opportunities like this are once in a life time and a chance to see parts of the world, rarely seen on the news and seldom in reality. I’m sure this similar chain of reasoning was followed by many others.
As for you mere readers, I will attempt to write an article daily but I don’t think laziness will be our main communication barrier. In Nepal, phone service ranges from *expletive* to “what service”? and when I say wi-fi they might assume flatulence. As such, whilst I intend to write daily, they may not be published instantly. Therefore, when I return to wi-fi world, I will post each day’s diaries one day at a time so it feels as though we are trekking in real time. Or I’ll post them all at once depending on my mood. Either way, I will deliver all the right content, just not necessarily in the right order.
Regardless of these obstacles, I can say with some confidence that Nepal will be an eye-opening fascinating cultural experience and one to live long in the memory. I can also say with certainty that this life, over the next fortnight, will be lived to its fullest.
P.S As an aspiring journalist, I maintain a blog which acts as a portfolio of all of my published work. Should you and I ever go through a barren spell of communication, then check it out at lowsandoccasionalhighs.blogspot.com and fill your void. Many thanks…