Confessions of a travel blogger,  Nepal

Nepal Now: 5 Things that I’m worried about when in Nepal

Last week, Martijn received a message on his phone: the travel advice for Nepal had been changed by the Dutch government and going to the North of Nepal (where we are heading as well) is safe again. Even though we didn’t worry for one split second if we could still make our trip as planned, I’m glad that the Dutch government has decided to change its travel advice. I can usually determine by myself if it’s safe to travel somewhere, however other travelers may not be able to do so …

 

Anyway, less than a month to go until we are going to Nepal and we’ll start our trek to Everest Base Camp. The Base Camp that got destroyed by that horrible earthquake and that already caused so many casualties in just this area. As I wrote in one of our previous blogs, we have never been hesitant whether we should still go to Nepal at all. However, there are some things that still worry me a bit about our upcoming trip:

 

1. The altitude

Sometimes you hear those horror stories about hikers having to leave the mountains because they get severe altitude sickness. Een though we are hiking to Everest Base Camp with a private guide and porter who will keep an eye out for us and keep the pace slow, I’m still a bit worried about it. I’ve heard/read stories of people having to leave by helicopter because they couldn’t deal with the altitude. Just imagine… Last Monday we went to get our vaccinations and we had an extended talk with the nurse about altitude sickness and how to deal with this. We have been hiking at high altitudes before (up to 4.200 meters) but this doesn’t mean you can do it again this time. In addition, this time we will head up to 5.420 meters, quite a bit higher than we have ever been before. I expect to have severe headaches by the time I’m reaching this altitude…

 

flags

 

2. My hair

The worst thing about a multi-day trek for me, is being unable to wash my hair. The fact that I can’t shower or have to shower cold doesn’t bother me, however my hair … yikes! The longest period I’ve not washed my hair was about five days and when that happened, the first thing I would do upon return to the hostel or campsite, was take a super long shower and apply about half a bottle of conditioner to my hair. Since I wear a beanie or hat almost all the time when trekking, the hair in my neck gets entangled and in the end it becomes like a birds nest. I have huge problems fixing it again and since combing it is not an option anymore, conditioner is generally my lifesaver. My hairdresser suggested I’d bring a bottle of dry shampoo that I can use without water. Let’s see if that will work for 17 days…

 

3. No internet

Although I’ve been saying for months how much I’m looking forward to the moment I’m without internet for a while, I’m also kind of anxious about it. Our trek is 17 days and there won’t be much internet connection along the way. There for we decided not to bring our laptops and not to post new articles on we12travel while we are on our way. When a new article goes live, I want to be able to interact with our readers, which is impossible when in the Himalayas. As this will be our first vacation that’s longer than one week in nearly two years, I’m ready to not update social media for a while. As our new website will go online November 1st, I’m a little nervous about missing out on comments and visitors, however, so be it… Fortunately, my brother is going to be our administrator for the time being and a friend of mine will take over some of our social media channels. It will all be old news however, they won’t be silence for three weeks at least. The only social media channel I plan on using is Instagram, but that’s because it’s one of the few social media channels I actually enjoy using rather than for the blog. So in case you are not following me there yet, now is the time!

 

4. The food

Generally speaking, I’m not a difficult eater, however I’ve heard various stories about the food in Nepal. Some love it, some hate it. Fact is that we are sleeping in guesthouses for 16 nights and that rice with lentils (also know as Dal Bhat) is a very popular thing to eat. One person loves it, the other person hates it. In all honesty I’m not a big fan of rice, not because I can’t eat it but if I choose to eat carbs at all, I prefer to have a pasta or potatoes. While in New Zealand we wanted to hike super low-weight so we decided to bring our home-made oatmeal from Holland. I’m not a fan of oatmeal either and after four mornings, I nearly had to throw up after eating it. Eating rice and lentils for the majority of time will definitely be a challenge…

 

nepalese-food

 

5. The difficulty of the trek

I think we were quite optimistic when deciding to choose the strenous version of Everest Base Camp Trek, which will lead us across the 5.420 meter high Cho La Pass. Most treks we found on the internet were not going there, but since we didn’t want to do the standard route, we chose this as an alternative. It seemed the perfect choice, until I severely bruised my ankle last summer, just four days before I went to Alaska. The fact that I went iceclimbing and hiking there like nothing was wrong, definitely did not help with my recovery and ever since I came back, I’ve been under treatment of a physiotherapist because I could not walk without pain anymore. She basically taught me to walk again and told me I had to take things easy if I wanted my ankle to heal in time. I had to quit bodypump (ouch) and had to take much more rest in my exercise routine. I started walking again with 3 x 30 minutes a week and by now, I’m hiking up to 15 km again, with my pack, in hilly terrain near the area we live. In addition, I’m taking spinning/rpm classes to improve my endurance, however I’m still a bit worried. My shape is definitely not what it used to be but I’m forcing myself to take it easy and not to ask too much of my body. In case I hurt my ankle in any way again, the dream of hiking to EBC may be gone…

 

porter-nepal

 

Congratulations! You just made it to the end of this blog. I’m sure that by now, you are wondering “what the hell that girl is worrying about” which is exactly what I’m hoping for. Please don’t take my “worries” too seriously. If the situation in Nepal wouldn’t have been like it is right now, I may not even have written this blog, or possibly I’d have written but never published it. However, I wanted to attract your attention to the fact that Nepal needs you!

 

It’s expected that the number of tourists going to Nepal will decrease with 50% this year, just because of this stupid earthquake. Did tourists ever stay away in these massive amounts when Christchurch in New Zealand was ruined by an earthquake? Why are we still heading over to San Francisco where a massive quake is about to hit any time now? Why do most people not want to travel to Nepal after the earthquake? Because it’s not western enough? Because you are afraid of another earthquake? Tell me!

 

With publishing this blog, I hope to have made a small contribution to get people to travel to Nepal again. If only I made one person change his/her mind about traveling to Nepal for their next vacation, my mission is accomplished.

 

As I said, we don’t plan to update much while we are traveling. I would still really appreciate it if you’d start following us because we’re going to update you about the sitation when we get home and tell you exactly why you still have to go to Nepal!

 

The Nepalese government has started a campaign called NepalNow and wants to show what Nepal is like at this moment. With the NepalNow hashtag you will be able to follow all updates and you can also read all about it on their website. The Dutch mountaineering and climbing club has initiated a tour going to Nepal as well (read this if you understand Dutch). There are plenty of intiatives out there to bring back the people to Nepal. Now it’s just up to you to make sure that tourism in Nepal will increase again, so that the locals, who may not have one single thing left anymore, at least have something to look forward to in the future!

 

Our way to contribute is by going to hike as planned and telling the world about our trip. We also decided that instead of buying our gear back home, we’re going to buy everything we need over there, such as a down jacket, waterproof gloves and crampons. Not that I need all of this stuff brand new, but just to support the Nepalese. They need the money more than I do. And OK … because I’m still a women who loves to shop!

 

family-himalaya

 

Special thanks to Margreet Versteijlen for letting me use her pictures. Although not every picture was made at Everest Base Camp, I prefered to use these rather than those from picture databases that have been used all throughout the internet already.

 

Do you want to go to Nepal after the recent earthquakes? And in case you have already been, give us some suggestions, such as where to go on our free time in Kathmandu, where to eat and where to buy our outdoor gear!

 

[Note: our trip to Nepal is not sponsored and we were not asked to write about this. Hopefully, this won’t need further explanation…]

 

Want to read more? You may enjoy these blogs as well:
Confessions of a hiking travel blogger
– The best hikes in New Zealand
– Mountain hut do’s and don’ts 

 

Thank you for reading and sharing!

 

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Anto is a 30-something outdoor fan who travels the world about 100 days a year, combined with a full-time office job. She loves to go hiking, enjoys a good class of wine and can usually be found with an iPhone in her hand. Favorite destinations: New Zealand, Patagonia, Austria and Alaska.

41 Comments

    • sujan

      In about 15 days from now, one of the important festive of nepalese namely ‘Tihar’ is going to occur.lasting 5 days Be sure to drop by.
      Other than your health i dont think the remaining worries would be much of a worry ;). U would forget ur normal food when you get here.
      Theres fuel crisis goin on rite now. In case you are in kathmandu valley and u cant find a bus or taxi. Feel free to ask for lift. Maybe no cooking fuel, but we wont leave you hungry or feel insecure.
      Enjoy the trip 🙂

      • anto

        Cool, thank you for the suggestion, in case it’s still going on if we are heading to Nepal. We’ll see about the fuel crisis, we’re not too worried. If we can go, we’ll go, if not, we’ll find something else to do. I’m sure all of Nepal is beautiful!

  • Erica

    Regardless of the things you’re worried about, I’m sure the memories and the people you will meet will make everything else worth it 🙂

  • Paula McInerney

    I think that expressing your concerns is probably more therapeutic than real worry, as I can see that you are looking forward to this very exciting adventure. Take care, good luck and get your hair braided before you go, so that it doesn’t tangle or need washing so much. Will look forward to reading about your trip on your return.

    • anto

      Totally is 🙂 just came back from my physio today and she told me physically I’m fine but mentally … need to gain more self confidence for sure 🙂

  • Kim-Ling

    What an awesome adventure you will have! Even if your 5 “worries” aren’t overly serious, I’m sure at times they are valid! Good luck for the trek and enjoy your time in Kathmandu!

  • Amélie

    Can’t wait to hear back from your trek, I’m sure you guys will do great! Start spacing the time you wash your hair apart now, I did that several years ago and now I wash my hair every 1.5 weeks or so. It’s really good for it!

    • anto

      Ahh I wish I could do that. However, I go to the gym every other day and I wouldn’t feel comfortable not washing my hair after, especially because I do lots of business meetings for work. But I’ll try to spread out the washing more, thanks for the tip!!!

  • Kirk Beiser

    I wish I could go to Nepal now but I am limited to 1 (or maybe 2) week trips right now and I have big plans when I go. Good luck with your trip and I can’t wait to read the blogs.

  • Mia

    Nepal sounds amazing and I’d love to go one day! I’m not sure about not washing my hair but I guess you have to go with the flow. Looking into a trip next year.

  • Nepal Hiking Team

    We are pleased to know that you are traveling to Nepal. Our country is looking forward more tourists to recover from the disaster. Many people think Nepal is no go zone, but you will be realized that Nepal already got in normal as before except less tourist.

    I wish you all the best and have a memorial holidays in Nepal.

    Best Regards
    Balaram

  • Linda

    Exciting! When eating in Kathmandu, go to a restaurant with a rooftop terrace so the car fumes won’t spoil your meals too much, it’s much more clean and quiet a few floors up 🙂

  • Natasha von Geldern

    Good for you – it’ll be amazing. I travelled to Nepal when people were being warned off due to the political situation – there were curfews and strikes going on and we had to walk an extra day in Annapurna because there were no buses. But I never ever felt unsafe and had an incredible time. Have fun!

    • anto

      Thank! I’m sure it will be, I’ve been dying to see the Himalayas! I’m generally not a person who feels unsafe so I’m sure I’ll be fine.

  • travelwithlinda

    Welcome to Nepal! With the fuel crisis going on for nearly two months now most restaurants have a very limited menu BUT if you like pizza the Road House in Thamel has the best! (imho!) Also, for an incredible steak at ridiculously low prices you just can’t beat Everest Steakhouse (also in Thamel). They have been in business for 50+ years and after one bite you’ll know why! And while the fuel crisis will mean some delays and inconvenience the beautiful people and incredible scenery of Nepal will more than make up for it! ENJOY!

    • anto

      Thanks Linda, I’ll definitely keep your suggestions in mind! The one thing i’m looking forward to most in Nepal will be the scenery and I’m happy that no matter what, the mountains will always be there!

  • Uzol rai

    It is really nice to hear that people really love the country. Amen. Thank you for your words, people might really understand that it’s okay to travel here in Nepal. EQ wise.

    •The Altitude
    If you will have a professional guide then you definitely shouldn’t have problems. I mean they can’t make you okay but because of their positive altitude and help, they might be able to help you avoid sickness.

    •Hair
    Hair problem could be there. In Lukla, Namche Bazar, and some other villages might have good real hot shower, but other places it could be hard to get it.
    It could be Bucket shower or the funniest shower could be, you’ll be having shower in side the bathroom and someone will be on the top of your shower room/bathroom, with a bucket full of water.

    •Internet
    Namche Bazar and Lukla is the place for everything. You can even get Starbucks, with the internet.

    •Food.
    I think you should always go for local food. Their own food which they’re good at. Western food is not their type of food, they learnt May be not more than 5 months or 1 Yeats or 5 years, but local food, they know it since they were kid.

    Enjoy your traveling in Nepal.
    Welcome to my playground. Welcome to Nepal.

    • anto

      Thanks Uzol for the long reply, very nice! I’m really looking forward to our trip and will definitely keep your insights in mind. I love bucket showers and am sure I’m going to enjoy them a lot if I find them. I learned the hard way that western food is not very good (generally) in Asian countries so will definitely (try to) stick with the local food.

  • Karan Shrestha

    I am excited to hear about your adventure and I’m pretty sure you will have a great time. However, I want to post a response regarding your concerns. The food, traditionally is daal bhat but that does not mean you will be served daal bhat for all the meals. Guest houses have options regarding meals so you can make a choice on what you want. Choosing explore a new culture means adapting to what is available and I would highly advise you make the most out of this. Nepal’s culture is rich and has a lot of different cuisines not limited to daal bhat. Going on a trek is basically an adventure so it’d be best to expect the unexpected as altitudes could get rough but would be really nice. I am pretty sure you will have a great time there and I appreciate your blog post regarding your plans. I would like to say create your own experience when you go there rather than listen to what experienced. Everything is unique and trust me, yours will be different 🙂

    • anto

      Thank you Karan for your insighs on the food. I’m sure there will be plenty of other things to eat and I’m looking forward to getting to know the Nepalese cuisine. The trek will be a total adventure and I’m sure we’ll be super enthusiastic about this, not in the last reason because everyone in Nepal has already been so very welcoming to us!

  • Nepal Kailash Trekking

    Thank you very much for such a detail post about Everest Base camp trek and as well as Nepal.
    By the way, hope #Anto enjoyed too with Everest Base Camp Trek.

  • Everest Base Camp Trekking

    Thank you very much for posting details about Everest base Camp trekking. I hope you enjoyed your trip even lack of shower, limited foods and other obstacles. You collect good story for your grandchild about the adventure, culture and lifestyle.

    We hope we will have opportunity to welcome you again in in Nepal.

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