Momentary Meets to Lifetime Memories

The noisy bunch of over-enthusiastic friends from Poland that we kept bumping into at every tea house, quite a botheration they were! The huge group of nearly 50 people we crossed twice on the way and had to step aside to let them pass. The warm smiles of the two Japanese girls we often found sitting around the bends taking a tea break, every time we eyed their beautiful flasks. The two German men we ran into every now and then until they decided to introduce themselves, leading to small conversations each time we met. The petite Chinese girl who was perennially rushing but never missed talking to us – in her own language while we replied in English, we communicated without understanding. The two Korean girls with whom we shared a room at the base camp, who spoke English enabling some interesting conversations.

These are some of the people from different parts of the world we met during our ABC Trek, last year in October. I clearly remember so many of those faces, some leaving impressions deeper than the others. I wonder how all those people may be coping with the Covid-19 situation. I wonder if everything is fine with them. There is no way I will ever know.

Pic 1: When we arrived at our destination.

A big aspect of travel for me has always been the people I get to meet and connect with. Of the several people I met during the ABC Trek, the following need special mention.

Trekker Daddy

“Does that look like a baby carrier basket?”, I asked my sister. Curiosity had me striding a little faster. The basket looked fancy and the man carrying it, dressed in typical trekker attire. So, wouldn’t be a local. It was the second day of our Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek and we were climbing through one of the steeper sections of the trail when I saw this man several feet ahead of us. As I drew closer, my doubts gave way to confirmation. It was indeed a baby carrier! The man was carrying his 3-year old daughter as he trudged towards the mighty eight-thousander. He was with his wife and three children aged, 12, 7, and 3. The family had traveled all the way from Shanghai.

Pic 2: Trekker Daddy with his little girl. I clicked this picture with his due permission.

Trekking with a 3-year old in the uncertainties of the Himalayas is no mean feat. Things like Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), sudden weather changes, are for real. Well, I am sure they would have thought through all of that and were well prepared. They did, however, gather quite a bit of attention all the way. Every other trekker seemed to be talking about them and as one would expect everyone had some opinion or the other. While some hailed them for being brave others thought they were being irresponsible. I was too stunned to have any opinion. We met the family at several junctions during the trek and each time I envied the fun they were having and all the memories they were creating together.

Septuagenarian Trekkers

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” The septuagenarian trekkers reiterated Mark Twain. Janette and Joe caught our attention on the trail one day. The cute couple was sitting on a rock and taking a break while munching on chocolates. Later, we caught up with them at the two tea houses where we stayed together. They were well into their 70s, had come all the way from the USA, and were trekking in the high altitude of the Himalayas for the very first time. Their agility, enthusiasm, and zest for life was infectious. They could easily give all youngsters a run for their money.

Pic 3: With Janette and Joe at the ABC Base Camp Tea House

Then we met John, who was also from the USA and was traveling with his wife (a septuagenarian too) along with a group of family and friends. John proudly announced that he was “Seventy plus Four years old”. People like John, Janette, and Joe are astoundingly inspirational. They go on to prove that trekking and hiking has a lot to do with mental strength, which is just as important as physical strength.

Pic 4: With John, somewhere on the trail. (Note: Do not judge the bag in my hand, it is a disposable garbage bag and not plastic.)

When I interacted with these elderly people, I couldn’t help but think about my parents, especially my father who belongs to the same age group. I am certain they would have loved to do something like this, but it’s simply inconceivable for them. In fact, I haven’t seen many Indians in that age group trekking or hiking.

However, one thing I know for sure – if I am to live up to a 70 and beyond, I’d better be someone like Janette!

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

14 thoughts on “Momentary Meets to Lifetime Memories”

  1. Amazing – such an assortment of humanity; diverse languages, nature, outlook, thoughts, opinions, and yet assembled together in that place with one goal – to seek peace in nature! You have described them so vividly that I wish I could get to know more of each character/group. Keep reminiscing the treks, Neelanjana!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Assortment of humanity” indeed it was 😀
      Really love your vocabulary. 🙂
      And, you echo what a friend just told me, and to quote her, “United at one time by a common love for the mystical unknown and ironically yet again bound together by another unforeseen unknown….”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing experiences, Neel. Truly, trekking HA treks is always an eye-opener. During one such trek, I came across a 90-year-old lady. That was her 17th trek. She came all alone. From my experience, if you allow things to happen without hesitation, things generally go well. I’m sure the Chinese family was well prepared and they must have been on other treks before ending there. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 90-year old , and that too all alone! Wow, the world has so many such amazing human beings. I agree with you – just go with the flow, let go of hesitations, and things will fall in place. I just hope I can do that in my personal life as well. It’s always easier said 🙂
      Thank you for reading, Arvind!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know it’s easier said than done but this has worked for me, mostly. When I had doubts, they manifested in every way possible resulting in non accomplishment. Well, in the ned, just trust the invisible force. Otherwise, what option do we all have? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Meeting people is the best thing about traveling. Most often these are other travelers, like the ones you have written about. Their stories are very interesting, and I enjoyed what you wrote. I find the locals even more interesting, especially up in the mountains, where their life is so different from ours. Looking forward to reading more of their stories from you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also find locals even more interesting than fellow travellers, and exactly for the reason that their lives are so very different from that of ours. Everything about them intrigues and fascinates. And, in the mountains sometimes it feels like they are trapped in some time wrap.

      Liked by 1 person

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