You can travel solo or create an unspoken bond with friends on the road…

By Shajiya Khanom

What an auspicious day it was! That day, I made a very simple yet optimistic decision – going for a pleasure trip to a foreign country, for the first time in my life. It was the first time we had traveled outside our own country without a guardian accompanying us. In 2010, my friends and I planned a trip to Nepal. A trip that created mesmerizing memories that we still cherish.

When the six of us were planning for this trip, some of us hardly knew each other. Some of us were friends as we had graduated from the same department. That year, all of us were in pretty bad shape mentally for different reasons. I personally felt the need for a break from this monotonous, single and unsuccessful life (that’s literally what I felt then) and wanted to just have some fun within my limited resources. So, in November of 2010, I decided to go on a 5 day trip to Nepal with five of my friends, Fairoze, Tinni, Sarah, Sudipta, and Shubhra. We had no idea that we were going to be making some unforgettable memories, we just knew we were there to get our lives back on track.

Dear readers, I am not here today to tell you about Nepal and it’s luxuriance of natural beauty. Instead, I am going to tell you about how we reloaded our enthusiasm and got rid of depression and anxiety while traveling across this beautiful country. This country that is nestled in the lap of the gigantic Himalayan Range, having eight of the highest mountains in the world, including Mt Everest – the tallest in the world.

The journey begins 

Due to winter fog, the plane took 20 more minutes to land, meanwhile, it had flown alongside the Himalayas to give us a close view of snow-capped peaks before landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. All I can remember is that all of us were so spellbound by the majesty and grandeur of the Himalayan Ranges. On that day, the experiences we had gathered were firsts for all of us. We were brimming with happiness and excitement of finally reaching out destination. 

One of the prominent tourist spots ,Durbar Square ,Kathmandu,Nepal

On the first night of our trip, we stayed at Hotel Marshayngdi in Thamel. Thamel was so lively and the perfect place for tourists to stay. It was almost late evening when we checked into our hotel after having our late lunch on the way from the airport to the hotel. We were so excited that we just dropped our stuff, quickly freshened up, and went to the nearest tourist attraction. The hotel was situated in the middle of the city’s main buzzing, visitors friendly area. We were dying to explore and ready for our new adventure as independent individuals. My mind and my head felt so clear that I couldn’t even recall any day from my exhausting last few years .

New experiences; commingling of fear and joy 

There were shops on both sides of the narrow, fascinating streets of Thamel zone. They were filled with colorful things like jewelry, crafts, cloths, and so much more. We had exchanged our currency from USD to Nepali Rupees and were ready to get going. After a few minutes of walking on the street, two of our girls seemed to be missing. My three other friends and I were so terrified and started to panic. None of us had arranged any Nepali contact number by that time so we started looking for them everywhere, in every corner we could find. We got back to the hotel and had been waiting for them with the hope that they might come back to the hotel without any difficulties. After more than two hours, they got back to the hotel and claimed they were in a jewelry shop and got caught up by the beauty of the jewels and lost tracking on time. We were so furious at those two and we lost our words about demanding accountability. They had no idea that the rest of us were so scared. Later on, we cooled down and enjoyed a late night girl chat. We laughed out loudly while discussing the earlier incident. And that’s how the first day of our adventurous trip had wrapped up.

 

Filled our soul with joy

For the rest of the tour, we had visited almost every attraction in Kathmandu and in Pokhara. Besides sight seeing and traveling from one tourist spot to another, I loved the early morning breakfast we would have in the courtyard of the hotels. The fresh morning atmosphere and fresh food may not be so special for the tourists but the moments we had created while getting dressed up or having meals together on those few days are totally priceless.They had filled our soul with joy that helped us let go of anxiety and despair. On the third day, we got our once in a lifetime experience – seeing the incomparable sheer beauty of the Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain). Words could never justify the incredible beauty of nature. I do not know exactly how our moods improved, but nature is good for our minds that is for sure.

There is a saying by famous philosopher Aristotle, 

“ In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.”

Made beautiful memories till the end of the journey

We went for a peaceful boat ride on Phewa Lake in Pokhara on the day before the last day of our trip. It was a breathtaking experience. The lake also bears the clear reflection of the Machhapuchhre peak and the Annapurna Range, which felt like we were floating over these mighty peaks! We become so contemplative that we couldn’t help but sing a beautiful song during our boat ride. I was so overwhelmed with the beauty and the serenity of nature when my friends started singing, “পুরানো সেই দিনের কথাভুলবি  কি রে হায়…” Hearing this nostalgic song, I couldn’t help but to stand up on the boat and fly my hands up in the middle of that lake. It started to rain which turned the trip into an unforgettable one. Have you ever heard of having goosebumps in a group?! We had that experience at that moment. We safely got back to the shore before the rain started heavily. We decided to get some spicy hot snacks that were served under a shed on the bank of the Phewa Lake. Dear readers, I can not express in words, how pleasant that boat ride was. For the first time, I realized that we also need food for our soul, otherwise life cannot be lived meaningfully.

Worked as a therapy for us

In recent days, my five friends and I are hardlyl connected due to busy schedules and distance, yet whenever we get a chance to talk, we talk about this trip. It has worked as a fuel for all of us. We are all established now in our own platforms, but when life gives us lemons, we don’t waste our time making lemonade. Rather, we split it up among us as a souvenir for reminding us that when the time comes, we need to press the pause button on life. 

Dear readers, this trip had worked for me as therapy. My body and mind healed in ways that it couldn’t if I was still under the same mental pressure as before. This five day tour gave us a better outlook on life and more motivation to achieve goals. This journey helped us find our way back in our lives. And why is that so? Because taking time away from our regular despair life has both physical and mental benefits. Spending time enjoying everyday with good companions can keep our mind calm, refreshed, and better equipped to handle whatever life throws at us.

…………I hope people who need help can understand the benefits of taking a break and sharing time with good companions. Only then can one do good for their own self and for others as well. That’s what we need in this world right now, isn’t it? Mentally strong people.

8 Responses

    1. Please treasure those good times having faith in yourself that you are still capable of creating beautiful moments anytime. that’s my wish from the bottom of my heart.

  1. Some of the most precious and memorable days of my life | when I go through the album I can recall every moment of our laughter our silence our whispers ……….. n many more …….

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