That's a hard one. All I can say is that I love it - love that stomach-lurching dislocation of stepping into a new country, the not-knowing, the effort of trying to cast off all my western assumptions, begin from a place of knowing nothing and then trying to understand. I love the extraordinary efforts total strangers can make to help me feel at home. I love the smells of hot cities. I love the orchestra of the jungle. (I used to think I loved tigers!)
|Buddhists in Lumbini, Nepal|
I do, indeed, love Nepal. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I never quite get over how huge the mountains are! Even though we know the Himalayas are magnificent, it's still humbling to totter round their foothills. But it's more than that - I love the people, their humour, their generosity and their determination to grow their rice or open their businesses in spite of the weather or the terrain or the lack of electricity and governmental chaos.
Which was the one moment, standing out from all of those truly terrifying situations, when you really didn’t think you’d get home alive?
Coming down the mountain, in the dark, after the cyclone. Never again! (Never again to cyclones, that is - not never again to travelling!)
|Jo on a wobbly bridge, foothills of the Himalayas|
I wanted to go to Madagascar in January because I've never been. I even bought the Lonely Planet only to find that it's cyclone season. Since I have yet to rediscover a sense of humour where cyclones are concerned, I decided to look elsewhere. So now it’s Thailand and Laos after Christmas but I'm not sure how easy independent travel is there. I shall have find that out when I arrive.
Thanks, Jo, I think you're amazing, an example to all of us *polite cough* older ladies. I know that everyone reading this post wishes you an enjoyable and SAFE time in Thailand and we're looking forward to hearing about it.
If you want to read all about Jo’s amazing trip to Nepal then click on the book cover to buy a copy of Hidden Tiger Raging Mountain:
And do visit her at her blog at Gap Years The Book.