This article tells my travel story in Nepal, my mental rumbles and what I accidentally found in the country. Things I saw, tasted and experienced… There is absolutely no coherency here so don’t expect me to give you any major advice. It’s more of a friendly chat and sharing my simplicity of being with you, with the occasional relevant point! Haha. Hope you enjoy it.
It all started with a visa run in Nepal
After such intense sensory overload in India.. my visa was about to run out…I thought it could be a perfect plan to pop by Nepal, renew my visa, and continue my Indian experience … Rishikesh has been marked in my travel life as a place to be remembered, and for sure I’d share more on the topic. But that’s a whole other story.
However, the heat was rising and my ability to cope with high temperatures isn’t great (I’m probably not the best example of a Brazilian person, I crave for cold weather in the boiling temperatures).
So, when I arrived in Kathmandu with no plan, no idea of how long I’d stay or what to do, there was plenty of room for discovery and going with the flow.
Firstly, I would like to point out I went to Nepal with no intention whatsoever of doing any trekking. In fact, I was hoping to avoid that, just because … Well, I have not done much trekking before and I was quite pleased to just take it easy and meditate (being lazy).
The initial recommendations I had were directly linked to Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, but somehow that did not feel right. My first days in Kathmandu were somewhat dusty! Not only because of the actual dust that made it hard to breathe or see but because I had no idea of what I wanted to do.
Meditation! Right, it’s Nepal … I ought to meet a monk and check out a monastery. The thought came into my mind as I started having lunch at this Vietnamese restaurant, Pho99 (delicious food btw), near Boudhanath Stupa, so when this monk came in and asked to sit right next to me I said YES! We got chatting and turns out he was a Lama from a monastery just outside Kathmandu and invited me to come by to meditate and exchange teaching techniques. Yep! I’m a meditation teacher … (yep hard to believe I’m not the average “spiritual” type … BUT! I’m a born mystic, there’s not much I can do about that).
I agreed to come to the monastery and so my Nepali adventure started to shape itself… It was some sort of plan.. I was going to go live the monk life for a week. But until then I had another few days in KTM to bite the dust.
It was April 2017, and for the first time in a loooong time I decided it could be a perfect excuse to get on an online dating app and find myself some possible friends
… or travelers that could point me in the right direction of things to do in Nepal … There were soooo many trekking options and I was getting confused … like I said .. trekking! Not my thing! Or so I thought!
Things move fast in my world and it took me about 2h from downloading the dating app to getting a lunch date with some random German guy … You see it was April and it was going to be my very first date of the year, so I was curious and excited about this…
We had lunch at my favorite restaurant in Nepal, it’s called Gaia – they have a particularly great menu if you are ever in KTM; you shouldn’t miss out on this one. And guess what; the German was a climber! He was heading to Everest, yep, the top of the world … It was his last day in KTM and he was telling me all about trekking and where to go and what to do… Made it look like a piece of cake … So there was I sitting across the table from this SEXY young, deliciously hot looking German man, oh dear just typing makes me blush! Yes, I must not pronounce his name here I might faint, hahaha. It was a 2 h lunch .. and it was very hard to focus on the conversation because I could not stop checking his arms out!
I told him I was off to the monastery for a week of meditation and solitude… And he was heading to the mountains… We hugged goodbye and I thought I’d never see this guy ever again. It was a perfectly good date and I thought … Naaaa, he doesn’t fancy me, he is too damn hot, cool, funny and heading to Everest… and me… I’ve been out of the dating scene for quite a while, my Mojo was gone!
The night came and the German had messaged me with a perfect suggestion for trekking … Some meditation caves in Lawudo Gompa! He even said it was pretty close to some sort of Base Camp where he was going to be for weeks preparing for his climb … At the time I didn’t know much about any of it and didn’t understand what he meant about preparing either… So I thought right! I can maybe see him again!?
And it actually didn’t take long because on that night in KTM I was feeling quite adventurous and godman I needed a cuddle! But the super-hot German was gonna take a flight in the morning to Lukla .. there would be no way he would come see me .. or would he? Let’s just say it was one of the best nights of my entire existence.
He left in the middle of the night as he still had things to pack … He headed to the mountains and me to the monastery. Ironically … I have a bad tendency to fall strongly for people I deeply admire. It was not just about his aliveness and sassiness … It was his beautiful light. In the days that passed, there were many Whatsapp messages, pics, flirting and trying to get to know each other.
But the distance between us started to grow just as he started trekking.. Going further up … Communication and Wi-Fi in Everest isn’t the best I’ll tell ya.
My stay at the monastery was divine. I somehow ended up in this hotel … run by the monastery. Except it was low season so I was the only guest! Yes, I had a whole hotel for myself … With an outside kitchen, meditation room and dining area .. all mine. At last, I accomplished the solitude part of my trip and got to participate at some monastery ceremonies.. meet more monks and other locals. So much for my spiritual discoveries…
turns out I got to demystify this idea that monks are holy; they are just like other people, only they live in a monastery and meditate quite a lot (and of course wear robes).
I was very close to where one of the Buddhas reenacted enlightenment. In the holy land of Padmasambhava… I got to meditate in this very cave. And I would see his big statue from my bedroom balcony. I was living in a castle! Or so it felt .. I was the only guest in this 4 storey building and the only thing keeping me company was the phone calls from the German- who I should call K. The 2 hotel staff members would leave in the late afternoon, so yes I had a whole hotel to myself, it was actually very luxurious for Nepal … I realised that in the second part of my Nepali travels.
My week in the monastery was about to end and I’d headed back to KTM to go shopping for this trekking thing.. So I got back on the dusty road, got picked up by the hotel car and headed back to Kathmandu. Btw in case you’re wondering I stayed at hotel Yambu in Thamel … it’s pretty average but I really liked it there. I have returned to the same place a few times already. It’s not pricy and the staff is very helpful, and it’s also well located. I’d definitely stay there again.
A little exploring in Kathmandu
Right! Let’s do it … I can trek … It can’t be this hard… I had a London friend who was recently in Nepal and she linked me with a local travel agency – Ramdung Trekking & Climbing in Nepal – Raju my tour guide organised pretty much everything for me. It was truly great because I needed that as a first-time solo beginner trekker…
He actually took me around in KTM, to do most of my shopping, organised all my permits and we also included some local tours.
I got to visit the cremation grounds. Another holy site in Nepal (they have loads of holy sites). But this one is particularly great.
To see life’s impermanence bodies being washed, cleaned and prepared to get burned.. To watch them burn … And to think about my life and what I am doing with it. Well, I am living!
One thing I am sure of is that I follow my heart and live life fully with no shame to be myself. See in my wonky spiritual path I have learned to connect to this energy that runs within all of us and that allows me to feel love for everything; to feel truly alive and to trust in myself. Meditating in the cremation ground was very special because it made me honor the gift of being alive even more.
We also checked out the monkey temple which was super fun on the very top of Kathmandu… riding around on Raju’s motorbike using face masks to protect against the dust.
The monkey temple as the name gives away has monkeys running around and it’s a perfect spot to see the sunset and take some great pictures. Also a place for introspection and meditation.
I and the tour guide Raju did a couple other trips in KTM. Around Thamel, and he took me to see the living Goddess of Nepal .. This young virgin that lives in Kathmandu, worshiped by Nepali Hindus, Buddhists as a living deity. Embodied in this child. We went to her royal palace in hopes of seeing her. Sometimes she pops out of the window and waves at the curious tourists. It was great to think about a living goddess but unfortunately, I didn’t get to see her this time. Who knows, maybe when I’m next in Nepal.
Kumari’s temple is a must see place in KTM, not just because it has a living goddess (I can never get tired of saying the word Goddess haha) but because Durban square has many beautiful things to be seen and photographed. I’m not going to go into much detail, for me being there and discovering everything as it came to me was a better way to experience it rather them making research and then going to look for what I read about. I like to travel free and let things come to me.
However, I took some pictures that make my heart sing, because Kathmandu has so many treasures.
Speaking of treasures .. My friend Jonny had been in KTM the previous year and he did some murals … It took me about half a day to find one of them. The endless knot …
See the endless knot is one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism and here is what it means: The divine significance of the Endless Knot is that it represents the connection between one’s spiritual path, the movement of time, and the omnipresent Buddha self – or divine eternal consciousness.
Jonny has been painting murals around the world in his 2-year traveling experience and he also gave me a T-shirt of this very symbol so I had to go and look for it in the walls of Kathmandu. That’s another thing KTM has to offer .. murals and paintings; you just have to look and open your eyes to it.
Here is the location for Jonny’s painting
Deep stuff! That’s Nepal for ya. Full of spirituality being practiced and lived. As much as I loved spending time in Kathmandu the dust can get the best out of you… so I was very ready to head to the mountains! At last, I had a trekking plan elaborated by Raju and ratified by the German.
It was time to get on a plane to Lukla and start the second part of my Nepali Adventure. Having no idea what to expect with no preparation whatsoever there I was ready to trek in the Himalayas.
Check out my next article and find out how a total unprepared Brazilian lady made it in one piece to Everest Base Camp .. Or did she?