In January of 2014, I participated in the Nepal Volunteer and Adventure Experience through GVI. I choose this project because it included a once-in-a-lifetime trek and volunteering with children — it sounded like a dream trip! Although I had been abroad many times before, this was the first international trip I had ever done completely on my own. As a 23-year-old, solo female traveler I was nervous to set out on this adventure. I had no idea what to expect. As the last few weeks before my trip came and went, I was left questioning my ability to complete the trip. Was I in over my head? “It’s winter in the Himalayas. Am I going to freeze to death? I just ate McDonald’s and I am supposed to start my ascent to Base Camp in four days...am I crazy to think I can hike to 17598ft?” Thoughts such as these flooded my head. As I went back and forth as to whether or not I should postpone the trip, or perhaps, more drastically, not even go at all, I decided to ignore my nerves and just go. And you know what, I found there was no need for worry.
Upon arriving at the airport and meeting my guide I knew instantly that everything was going to be okay. I felt myself immediately leaving all that pre-travel stress behind. The trek was absolutely extraordinary. Although nights were below freezing (I went in Jan to Feb!), I felt the happiest I had been in a long time. Something about the Himalayan Mountains brought me a sense of contentment and peace of mind. There were points during the trek where I would literally just have to stop, take a look at my surroundings, and internalize the happiness I was feeling. There are no words for the beauty and intensity of the Himalayas. I can't say the two-week trek was easy, but I can say it was one of the best experiences of my lifetime.
Although the trek, in itself, was wonderful, I didn't realize that the most amazing part was yet to come. As we left the mountains we were onto the next chapter of our trip, which was volunteering in Pokhara. During my time in Pokhara I volunteered at a daycare and a school. Although I have worked as an assistant teacher and tutor before, working at the daycare and school was an opportunity to practice my skills as a teacher.