Just one particular line I remember from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” I thought it was appropriate given that I am about to head off into Nepal for a little over two weeks. I’m not quite sure what to say to soothe all your worry weary souls, but I hope a few of my thoughts on the matter might make the mastery of your mind more manageable.
First of all, I am thoroughly prepared; I know not a word of Nepali (the language), have no idea how to use a compass, and every fire I ever started’s first step was half a gallon of gasoline. I kid, I kid. I have my tablet (which has a battery that lasts 9 hours of use plus a spare battery for another 12 hours or so) that works as a GPS and map. I have a fire starter with magnesium (which is really cool by the way and works just as well as gasoline). I have a water purifying straw (again, really cool. Everyone needs this crap). I even have a first aid kit and enough hand warmers to line the inside of an entire jacket. I’ve got clothes, scarfs, 2 pairs of gloves, a rain proof jacket, a hat, sunscreen, chap stick, pen, passport, money, and that’s all I care to list for now.
Despite having the highest mountain in the world, Nepal is largely a fairly warm place. Kathmandu, where I land and spend a few days, is supposed to be in the mid 60’s when I’m touring. Everywhere else just gets colder depending on altitude, but most of my time will be spent at around the 9000 foot range; making it about 50 F. A comfortable temperature if you ask me, especially compared to the windy, rainy, 38 F it was in Tokyo today. Today will be about the same as my coldest day in Nepal should be. Minus the rain I hope. Of course, I will be about 15,000 ft. up at that point, so I imagine I’ll be getting quite a lung workout.
I’ve also created a map for all of you. Below is a link to a map I created. Follow the little pins and their labels to see where will be each day. It’s like one of those count-down-to-Christmas things people have.
You know, I think the part I’m most nervous about is the airport. I’ve been through tons of airports before but this time I’m flying a completely new airline and leaving from a totally new airport. I will be leaving with lots of time to spare. It really can’t be all that bad. Narita only has two terminals and, compared to Dallas, they are very small. The whole airport is really more like the size of San Antonio or something which is astonishing considering it serves the largest metropolitan area in the world.
Packing for this I’ve come to greatly appreciate the art of packing well and deciding what you really need and what contingencies are worth planning for. A backpack that is supposed to weigh less than 30 lbs. is a bit different than what I would normally pack for a 2.5 week trip into cool weather. Layers. Layers are all important. I have undershirts that can be washed in a sink or what-have-you easily. Socks. Nothing would be worse than blisters on a walking trip so I have all manner of socks. Thin socks, thick socks, tall sock, short socks. Gloves; two pairs. One that is especially warm and another, Nana’s gift, that are warm but also still dexterous. If I want to take photos I can’t have my hands sucked in my sleeves or hidden deep in my pockets and I know you all want photos. If you don’t, I do and I’m sure you’ll all pretend to even if you didn’t. And the lastly, all my camera stuff. I have three lenses now, so that takes a bit of room. I have three batteries because I’m not optimistic on the power situation. Two SD cards for two reasons; room and backup. I’d hate to have no way to take photos if my SD card broke on top of a mountain. All that gives you a little insight into what I brought and why I brought it. More than anything, it might tell you which things are most important to me.
“We apologize for the inconvenience.” In Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that is God’s last message to the universe. Well I suppose it’s fitting here as well. Sorry to make you all worry but I hope, like Marvin, when it’s all said and done, you’ll say “I feel good about it.”