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A Healing Journey to Nepal--how travel has the power to transform.

Reflecting on the past year, things have been difficult. My husband lost his father in July, our twins left us with an empty nest to start their first year of college in August, and my father passed away in September. Grief filled the empty rooms of our house, and a quiet sadness sat at our dinner table as we longed for what was no longer here. No matter what I tried, I couldn't shake the feeling that the best might be behind me.

Just before Covid hit, I decided to blend my passion for travel and lifestyle medicine in my business and offer travel adventures, looking to lead fun and exciting experiences across the globe that support well being. Unfortunately, my plans took a hiatus as the world came to a halt. With normalcy finally returning, I felt inspired to reignite my vision of leading wellness adventure trips. As I thought about locations, Nepal had been on my mind for a while.

Travel has always served as a conduit for transformation in my life. Each journey has been unique with its purpose, and the lure of Nepal was the possibility of a deeply spiritual, physical and emotional experience. This fits right into my paradigm of wholehearted, healthy living, and I had thought about exploring the region for a future group trip. As I sat at the dinner table with my husband, once again wishing I was still actively mothering my children and feeling sad about the loss of our fathers, Nepal came back into mind. We took out his work calendar and realized he had a longer vacation this year—we could actually do it.

A large part of the joy of travel takes place before it even starts. For me, it's the questioning, the planning and the unfolding of the trip that fosters excitement and anticipation. From the beginning, I knew what this journey was meant to be. We were going on a no-frills soul journey. I quickly found an outfitter and planned the itinerary. We decided to start in Kathmandu, and then head to Pokhora for a 7-day trek in the Annapurna region to Poonhill. We will sleep in basic tea houses owned by Nepali families as we hike through local villages. There will be limited hot water, simple food and spotty electricity as we walk in the majestic Himalayas with other trekkers from around the globe. I chose the easiest trek I could find in that region. Nevertheless, the easiest one still requires climbing 3,600 feet on the first day and over 9,000 in the first three days of the ascent. That's an intimidating climb for me. Only once did I climb 3,200 feet in one day, and that was on the Inca trail in Peru over thirty years ago. Despite my fears, I decided this was the mind, body, spirit experience I sought.

I am not one to stick to a regimented exercise routine, but by the end of November, fear and panic (my best motivators) were setting in—it was time to do some training. I found a program and my husband and I got to work. I knew exercising would be hard, but I didn't realize what a great bonding experience it would be for us to work out together. Now, don't get me wrong. I did not work too hard in the gym. Plus, I had to stop training for a few weeks after I fell on icy snow. But my body feels better than it has in a long time.

As I read through blogs and forums, the dining room table became the repository for supplies and gear. Details of the trip started to occupy our dinner conversation, and the rooms in the house didn't feel as empty. I noticed that I was excited about what lay ahead. The heaviness I had felt for months was lifting.

Things change, and some of those changes are really sad. I just had a birthday and turned the age at which my mother died years ago. It has made me realize I don't know how long I have on this earth. So, I am going to make it my mission to fully live: to feel sad and excited and scared and ecstatic and everything in between.

I have yet to reach Nepal, but I feel its effect already. An adventure is calling, and I am answering. I will go to monasteries and meet monks. I will climb mountains and see breathtaking views. I am ready to experience whatever the Himalayas has to offer me. And when this adventure is over, there will be more.

Look out for the photos I post of our trip. If adventure is calling to you, sign up on my website to be notified about future group trips.

The growing pile on the dining room table.

The view from Poohill (when I make it there!)

We will have a few days to tour Kathmandu and some of the surrounding region.


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