By the time you’re reading this, we’ll be at the airport. By ‘we’, I mean teenage son and I; he towering above me, and thus carrying 2 extra kilos for me in his backpack. Where are we going you wonder? Well I can’t quite believe my surf-addicted ’18’ has agreed to this, but he did, so we’re off to trek in Nepal!
Remember the stressful exams and dessert-eating
he’s we’ve just been through? All the weeks days hours of study he we sat through to get this burden of his our school life finished forever?
Somehow we clawed our way across the challenge, and now a new chapter awaits.
But first, a little thing called ‘Schoolies’ here in Australia has to happen. We live near the Gold Coast/Surfer’s Paradise, where approximately 22,000 teenagers descend for a week of festivities and alcohol-fuelled celebrations, renting out every hotel, motel, Airbnb, and dodgy villa they can find, determined to party relentlessly along the 3-kilometre beach strip.
Some parents send their young adults to Bali, or Thailand as an alternative though, so when a special friend asked me if I wanted to join her and her son on a 3-week trip to Nepal, including a 12-day mountain hike, at ‘Schoolies’ time, I jumped at the chance, then realized ’18’ would be free to come too, if he wanted.
Which I didn’t think he would- see previous ‘surf-addicted’ comment.
So with minimal expectations, I ran the idea past him… to which he replied ‘Hell yeah!’
Which brings us to the jamming of borrowed thermals into borrowed backpacks, piling down jackets on top of polar fleeces, sweating profusely in the humidity while we do it. My cousin brought me back the Nepalese prayer flags I’ve photographed from her trip there 3 years ago; I’m making sure I leave a little space for some new ones.
I’ve never been to India or Nepal, as Europe usually entices me, partly because of Mum, but mostly because of France. I did trek this year for 4 days in Tasmania though, and learnt a lot. Quite specifically, how to NOT carry 15 kilos in my bag if I ever go hiking again. Which I am now… so a condition of the free airfare/food/accomm deal for ’18’ is that he carries an extra 2kg for me.
Genius, I know.
My friend however has gone half a dozen times before, so I’m content to follow along behind her while she arranges permits, guides, hotel stays and route timetables. I’ve no idea what to expect, and have deliberately not looked at any photos or videos of our chosen hike- unlike ’18’, who has watched the whole trail by GoPro on YouTube.
Meanwhile wildfires still rage. Politicians continue playing
silly dangerous power games, and the majority of the population works too hard for too little reward. I’m going to switch my phone off, forget the internet, fill my lungs with mountain air, and relish this unique travel experience with my darling son, before he flies the nest for good.
And what better place for him to stretch out those wings than the top of the world?