Sunday, 18 April 2010

What Am I Doing?

OK, I guess first I should explain why on earth I am currently living in Nepal, which is harder than it sounds.

I first visited the place on Christmas Day 2008, as part of the planning for The Everest Test, which by now I am sure most of you know all about/are bored to tears with. That was when I first met guys like Nir, Bil, Sataya, Prem and Dharma. Kirt and I were only there for a week but by that stage I was already thinking about what I was going to do after we had got the expedition out of the way and living abroad had always appealed. Admittedly I was thinking more about somewhere like Sydney or Queenstown, but this was a different(all right, very different) option.

It was three months on from then that we were back for the trip itself and I got to see a totally different part of Nepal, the Himalayas themselves. You shouldn't really need me to tell you that they are awesome and I immediately wanted to return and see/do more in the region.

In the time between Christmas and April Kirt and I received many emails from a chap called Aamir Akhtar, a former international cricketer in Nepal who was educated in India and England and was very excited about what we were doing. We met him a couple of times and Team Hillary all went along to his cricket academy on the first day and taught the kids there a few things and donated a load of kit.

In the months after the expedition Aamir was in touch again asking if Kirt and I wanted to help him on his project of building a new stadium in Kathmandu. By now I had quit my job at Flight Centre and was back home writing a book on the past 18 months (which I'm sure will get mentioned again some time). He basically wanted some westerners to lend credibility and professionalism to the project and I agreed to it, so back I went to Kathmandu in September, this time for a month, to find out a little more.

On this third trip as well as planning for a new career I got to see even more of Nepal, Nir's village in the hills, the Langtang trekking region, Chitwan National Park (which is full of elephants, crocs, rhinos and even a few tigers), as well as finally visiting Pokhara, a truly beautiful town, and doing some white water rafting. Aamir and I discussed my role in his business and it was agreed that I would come out to live.

I was originally due back in January but things got delayed for a while, then a longer while and longer still until I eventually decided to write off Aamir for the time being. I had however, decided I would go to Nepal and not being one to back out of a decision I flew back on April 11th 2010.

The intention now is primarily to help Nir gain more business for his trekking company,, who took us up the mountain for the cricket and have not received the publicity or future business that we hoped it would generate. For such a wonderfully happy people all the boys I have got to know seem distinctly down in the dumps, and I really feel a little duty bound to try and help them out. How I am going to do that I don't really know, but I owe it to them to try.

So here I am, flying totally by the seat of my pants and wondering where this little jaunt will take me. I arrived on a 90-day visa with my return date booked for July 8th, however should things go according to plan I intend to stay as long as I need to in order to feel I have achieved something tangible. I hope you enjoy reading about it....and have not yet dozed off at your desk!

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