So I’ll admit, I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit with this whole blog thing… or so it might seem. What actually happened is that I decided to start a business at roughly the same time as my teammates here in Nepal decided to keep a group blog. All this to say, I got a bit caught up in other things and now owe you a few blog posts.
I’m going to take this opportunity to share the blogs my teammates and I have been writing, because variety is the spice of life and you’re probably tired of just hearing from me day after day. Without further ado… what I’ve been up to while I’ve been away.
For the team blog, every two weeks we nominate someone to pick a theme. That person is in charge of harassing everyone to get their writing done, as well as curating the final project. The pioneer of this team blogging project was Carlo. He came up with a listicle of sorts, 5 Things We’ve Learned in Nepal. He created this fantastic infographic by selecting one thing from every person’s list of five!
Just in case you’re curious what else I learned in Nepal, here’s my complete list:
The second curator for our blog was the ever-smiley Cheryl. She came up with the theme “Postcards from Nepal” and everyone submitted their favourite image they’d taken since arriving. You can view all the images from my fantastic photographer friends by following this link, and see my image of choice below.
Next week was people-person Sam. She had us submit a photo and story or description about someone who has had a big impact on our time in Nepal. She titled the post “To the ones we will carry with us always”. My teammates took the opportunity to try their hand at poetry and really pour their hearts into it (read their incredible posts here) whereas I, ever the jester, took the more comic approach. Considering who I wrote about though, I have no regrets… even if my post does stick out like a sore thumb. Anyways, have a read:
My list of memorable experiences in Nepal is quite extensive. I’ve done things and met people and seen places that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, all in the span of six short months. That being said, if I really had to choose one ring (ahem…experience) to rule them all, it would be the two weeks I spent on the Annapurna circuit. Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the circuit if I’d gone alone but what really made the trip for me was the people I travelled with. And when I say “made the trip”, I don’t just mean made it enjoyable, I mean actually physically made sure I got up and down a mountain range without dying.
There is one person in particular that I can credit with both keeping me going and keeping me laughing the whole way and it’s this guy.
This is Raby, casual comedian, motivational speaker, animal sound impersonator, and trekking guide extraordinaire. When I was at 5400 meters suffering from acute altitude sickness, desperately heaving lungfuls of air into my body and shivering from the shock of the ascent, Raby made me laugh. Raby made me smile. Raby made me remember to appreciate the moment. Raby showed me the value of goofiness. Raby taught me it’s worth expending the extra breath to tell a joke. Raby’s happiness is infectious and I’m incredibly glad to have caught the bug!
Next week was Karl and a storytelling opportunity! “Can everyone put together a small story, about their partner and the work they are doing with a photo of your co-workers or teammates,” he said. Done and done. Everyone had their own unique perspective and story to tell (which you should read here) and mine looked a little something like this:
I’ve got Nadia and a ton of camera equipment on the back of a scooty and we’re fighting our way between the horn-honking, black smoke-emitting cargo trucks that populate Ring Road. Nadia’s shouting into her phone, trying to get directions to the office by using landmarks like “the almost finished pedestrian bridge” and “the moto repair place across from the cafe”. With a bit of time and a lot of help, we make our way to Natural Herbs World Pvt. Ltd. where we’re greeted by Prabin Kumar Bastola and Bikram Rai, our two interview subjects for the day.
Nadia and I are creating promotional videos for the executive members of the Nepal Herbs and Herbal Products Association where Nadia works. The best part about this project is how enthusiastic everyone is to share their products, knowledge and story with us. They are so proud of the businesses they have created and their energy is contagious.
While I’m setting up my camera equipment, testing the light and audio, and preparing my notebook, Nadia is explaining the project, making everyone at ease and convincing them they’ll be naturals in front of the camera. And they are. Prabin tells us the story of how he came to Kathmandu as a young child, too poor to aspire to much other than washing dishes, and selling newspapers. Now he’s the proprietor of his very own business, Panchatatwa International. Hearing his story and seeing the earnestness with which he tells it is a highlight of the day.
That is, until we get Bikram in front of the camera. The guy literally cannot stop smiling and spewing out inspirational phrases like “if you believe in yourself, then you have to do something for yourself. That’s why I started this business”.
It’s young Nepali entrepreneurs like this that I’ve had the great good fortune to work with over the past month or so and it’s been highly rewarding work. Prabin and Bikram are two out of a group of pioneers in Nepal’s herbal industry that are making a go of it and inspiring those around them to do the same!