Forced Retreat

Posted By Andrea on Feb 16, 2016 | 0 comments


Pattaya Thailand December 2015 

Reading Joe Simpson (This Game of Ghosts) inspired me to write. I love his honest and at times funny accounts of his adventures. Mostly I love his no holds barred approach which tells it just as it is, without judgement or drama. In my heart I know I love it because I can relate to each and every word. And while we have different traits we share the same love for adventure and for the mountains. 

I’m feeling homesick, not for Australia but for Kathmandu, for the Himalayas. For sitting around in the candlelight at night (because we have no power during load shedding – which at times is most of the time). Giggling about the lack of cooking gas and discussing with excitement what trekking route or peak we may plan to do next. My rag tag bunch, each of us struggling to pay our living expenses. Each with varying circumstances and stories that bought us together. 

Like the time that Sensi (the personal trainer) decided I should film a fitness video and instructed me to wear a cap for the team photo. He looked at Gamba and said “You need to put on some fitness clothes and a hat”. I put on my finest trekking cap and Gamba presents himself wearing some sort of multi coloured baggy tracksuit and top that looks to me remarkably like that I would see on a clown. And to top it off a bowling hat with “I Love Nepal” emblazoned on the front. Well I had to work very hard not to collapse into peals of laughter. 

Sometimes it seems I have blatant disregard for money, for how I’m going to get by, or if I’m going to be sleeping on a mat on the floor. But I did that. I followed the rules for 18 years of my life. And did it make me happy? Absolutely not!

Do I miss it? No. That’s the truth. Do I miss my kids?? Well yes I do. Even when my daughter tells me my son says “I hate you”. Most likely because I won’t be buying him a computer for Christmas. I feel like reminding them that they already have everything and that the kids that belong to my “family” in Nepal own just a few sets of clothes and no such “luxury items”. In reality he probably just misses me but doesn’t know how to express it without anger. That’s ok. I know that I love them both and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this exact moment. It’s what I came here to do. It may not conform to society’s ideas but that’s ok too I’m not here for approval. 

The truth is I love the Asian Continent. With its colour and chaos, sights and smells, Temples, Stupas and Mosques. It’s seemingly chaotic roads where there seems at times a blatant disregard for personal safety and rules. The temple bells, call to prayer, roosters, dogs and general noise. A friend once said to me “Your heart is Indian” and that is very true even though in fact my heart is Nepali (same same but different – much more laid back and low maintenance). 

So here I am, on forced retreat in Thailand because I need to renew my visa in the new year. It really was the only option I had at the time. India being my preferred choice but not possible due to not having a current visa. Australia being impossible because of the sheer cost and craziness at this time of the year. 

But it’s forced me to do a lot of personal work, reading, meditation and so forth. 

But I’ve had enough. I’m ready to go home. I’ve had enough of the Thai food and I’m really missing my dal bhat, veg noodle soup and snuggling in blankets at night. The former would bring a giggle to my friends who are all to familiar with my refusal to eat food and my pleading for corn in the past few months.  I’ve decided that I hate hot weather and that I want to live in Lukla at 2800m where it rarely gets above 20 degrees Celsius and snows in winter. 

Enjoying local Newari food cooked on fires in the local precinct

Enjoying local Newari food cooked on fires in the local precinct

Enjoying Newari food in the local area

Enjoying Newari food in the local area

The neighbours keeping warm in the street

The neighbours keeping warm in the street

Andrea and Arjun having fresh cardamom flavoured milk at the dairy factory

Andrea and Arjun having fresh cardamom flavoured milk at the dairy factory

Receiving blessings at the monastery

Receiving blessings at the monastery

One of the locals at the coffee shop where we have breakfast

One of the locals at the coffee shop where we have breakfast

Our "Joe Simpson" style temporary accommodation on the floor of the fitness room

Our “Joe Simpson” style temporary accommodation on the floor of the fitness room

Packed bus in Kathmandu due to fuel shortage

Packed bus in Kathmandu due to fuel shortage

The 3 of us when we filmed the fitness video

The 3 of us when we filmed the fitness video

Gam dressed in his "fitness" outfit for our video

Gam dressed in his “fitness” outfit for our video

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