By Jo Cordell-Cooper*
I’VE just returned from what I would call “an adventure of a lifetime.”
Sixteen days of back-to-back hiking in Nepal on the world-renowned Annapurna Circuit.
Why Nepal, when I live in a wilderness hiking mecca?
Well, I love hiking, culture, travel, and getting out of my comfort zone.
I also love connecting with people from all over the world and exploring different ways of living.
The Nepalese are renowned for being happy and giving people and I wanted to experience that.
I decided to do an extended tour with local company Discovery World Trekking, I did not wish to have a sanitised experience and I wanted my travel fee to go to local people.
This company had excellent online reviews and the itinerary I wanted, including Tilicho Lake, the world’s highest lake.
The altitude climbs were heady and the pure length of the adventure was beyond anything I’d done before.
As a personal trainer specialising in preparation for hiking I felt well-conditioned, so I set out on my own in early October.
I’ve been back a few weeks now and I’m still processing all my experiences in Nepal.
It was, without a doubt, an absolute highlight of my life.
The hiking, while not technical, was tiring each and every day, but it was also exhilarating and glorious.
Those Himalayan mountain ranges are spectacular and stunning in every sense.
From day one, those amazing peaks climbed steeply all around, snow-capped and backed by clear blue skies most days.
You get a sense that you are indeed just a dot on this planet in a fragment of time.
Nepalese guides work tirelessly to ensure you enjoy your adventure and the porters plod steadily along, never complaining of the weight they bear.
We stayed in tea houses – simple, clean and comfortable accommodation along the way and I jumped for joy whenever I got a hot shower or western loo.
I saw Yak, Blue Sheep, buffalo and many beautiful dogs play with super cute Nepalese kids.
As a gardener, I loved seeing the diversity of farming (thank goodness there’s no possums there).
I ate noodles, rice, and delicious Tibetan bread and the occasional vegetable curry (delicious).
There are bakeries throughout the region that sure are a treat after a long day’s hike.
I even had a little ride on a rescue horse when the altitude got way too much.
You could say I experienced all that Nepal had to offer and it certainly was not a sanitised experience.
I’m not sure when I’ll return to Nepal, but I know I will because the country wants and needs tourism to survive and thrive, and you are certainly welcome and I always felt safe, even as a solo woman traveller.
The question is, where to next?
*Jo Cordell-Cooper runs the award-winning business Jo CC Holistic PT, specialising in people with stress and autoimmune conditions, as well as preparing for adventure. Phone 0409 862 206, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit jocc.com.au.
Caption: Jo Cordell-Cooper during her hike on the world-renowned Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.