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Embarking on EBC Trek: A Mumbai to Kathmandu Adventure

The sheer joy of just looking at my rucksack for no particular reason; creating numerous ‘what-to-carry’ lists on my phone notepad, making multiple mental notes at a time, striking out each day off the calendar for months – it all came to a happy halt that beautiful morning as I boarded my flight for Kathmandu, Nepal, to embark on an epic journey to the Everest Base Camp. My mind wandered into the unknown not too long after I got seated.

 

It was no easy feat to plan and prep for my life’s biggest adventure – the Everest Base Camp trek. Took me over six months of mental preparation, finalizing my itinerary with the agency, not to mention re-visiting it every few weeks to make necessary tweaking, making sure the gears and essentials were in place, figuring out the logistics before and after the trek and last but most importantly preparing my family along the way to set their minds at ease and reassuring about my safety. Overall, it took a lot out of me to succeed in my mission Nepal!

Soaring high above floating clouds
Nepal

Touch down at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

 

I am often restless when I am airborne. It wasn’t much different this time either. That entire flight, even though not too long, felt like forever. The level of anticipation kept growing with each passing minute; I kept asking the crew for coffee and water to somewhat kill time; didn’t find much pleasure listening to my travel playlist either to my surprise. For the first time, I could somewhat sense that mix of deep fear and excitement. ‘Shut your eyes for a few’, I said to myself, hoping that would bring some sense of calm. My exhausted mind stopped ticking for a while as I drifted off to sleep only to be woken up by the jolt of the aircraft making its landing. ‘Let’s get on with this journey already!’ – I screamed in my head.

 

It’s an extraordinary feeling when your mind is moving between thoughts. A few minutes ago it wouldn’t stop racing but the second that landing announcement was made and we were given the go-ahead to fetch our bags from the designated belt – I suddenly found peace. It is funny how we find calmness in the most strange and unexpected things.

 

Stepping out of the aircraft was almost as if I was stepping into a new world – a world that was about to open its door to me with numerous possibilities and I couldn’t hold onto my emotions in that moment. Those fleeting thoughts of calling home, or leaving a text message to someone – they all vanished in no time, as I got busy juggling with arrival formalities.

 

View from the aircraft after landing
Touchdown Nepal

As I patiently stood still near the baggage belt, almost drooping over – as if that would help me get the bag sooner. That rolling anxiety of ‘what if the bag never even made it to the aircraft at Mumbai airport’ made the wait appear to be longer. The crowd started dispersing slowly carrying their bags, some dragging their trollies ahead – but no sign of my rucksack. As I looked around, I could see just a handful of passengers looking at the belt with hopeful eyes, exactly like mine. ‘There it is….!’- sigh of relief after a good half hour wait for my bag that had stuff for the road ahead – my life packed with a lot of care to be carried over the next few weeks in the mountains. I lifted my bag and after a quick stop at the washroom it was time to get in touch with the concerned party who was assigned to receive me at the arrival hall. Navigating my eyes through the crowd I identified Pasang Dai from Pioneer Adventure holding a placard with my name written – and that’s when it all got very real.

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