By Sarah Douglas –

Journal Entry Prior to Trip to Nepal, Australia:

I can’t believe how close the day is coming that I leave on my trip to Nepal with my Aunt who owns her own travel business Lyn Taylor’s Adventure Travel. This will be my first overseas trip, and I am sure it will be the first of many!

I am very excited to experience a completely different culture, with new sights, smells, tastes sounds; I’m not sure what to expect! As a 16 year old full time student, it hasn’t been easy raising enough money for my airfares, but after months of working hard teaching piano, baby sitting and tutoring primary school kids its all adding up! Everything is falling into place. I am so grateful to have the support of my family and Lyn has been especially supportive, guiding me on how to pack and prepare for the trip and also taking care of all the extra costs! (which has been a great blessing)
I feel very prepared. I have also been raising money to support a local school that Lyn has been working with for around 3 years and supported by Lindfield East Public School in Sydney. To help support the Nepal school I’ve held cake stalls, movie nights and flower stalls on Valentines day, with all profits going towards very much needed school supplies such as books, text books, pencils, rubbers, games etc. People can be so generous! Its incredible! I can not wait to meet the children! Providing people in remote areas (such as the village we will be visiting) with educational equipment is so important as these people are particularly vulnerable to things such as exploitation. The leading causes of human trafficking are poverty and lack of education and with study findings estimating that 12000 children are trafficked every year from Nepal, it’s obvious why this kind of work is so important. I am very passionate about abolishing the modern day slave trade so this will be a huge experience for me. I must say though, even with all this preparation, I am still a bit nervous… I have no idea what to expect! But that makes it all the more exciting I suppose. I just cant think about it too much, just take it as it comes and soak up the whole experience. Oh! I cant wait!

Sarah Douglas – One week in, Nepal:

SO much has happened these last few days! I feel like I’ve travelled the world, when really I’ve only travelled to a few cities…It is like a whole other world here. Its beautiful and inspiring yet heartbreaking at the same time. Nepal is a breathtaking country and the people are so mild and lovely, yet it is in so much need! Being the worlds 3rd poorest county I guess that is to be expected, but it still amazes me that so many people can get by on so little, it makes me appreciate what I have. The four ladies who are travelling with Lyn on a tour have really taken me under their wings, teaching me the rules of ‘smart travelling’, sharing their knowledge and experience. It’s been a real challenge for me, not really knowing anyone but they’ve made it really comfortable for me, I’ve felt very included.
So far the most historically significant place we’ve visited I’d say has been Bhaktapur. It is a UNESCO sponsored town with some really old, beautiful temples and stupas built around two squares, with lots of little narrow alleys surrounded by guest houses and cafes. Lyn and I had fun exploring the alley ways in the early morning accompanied by a few local children. What an adventure we’ve been having! The most exotic and fascinating place would have to be Chitwan. I loved it there. It held a completely different culture to the rest of Nepal. It was smaller, with a great sense of community, and it was SO HOT! There was so much wildlife to see and interact with. We spent the days there bathing elephants, canoeing down a river filled with crocs, going on bumpy elephant safaris and soaking up the beautiful sunsets each night. We’ve done a few treks over the past week, none too gruelling, and all worth the view at the end! There is so much to see and be distracted by that you forget you’ve been walking for hours! It’s fantastic!
Kathmandu has been another world altogether! It’s busy, loud, messy, crowded, polluted, overpopulated and…. so much fun! Once you get over the shock of all the hustle and bustle you begin to really enjoy it! It’s all a laugh really, forget ever being on time to anything again! It’s so busy! I had my first rick-shore ride and indulged in some ‘normal food’ (spag. bowl) at a restaurant – a nice break from curry, lentils and rice! We’ve spent some time shopping around, getting some great deals on clothes, souvenirs and gifts to take back home. It’s all going so fast, I don’t want it to end… Looking forward to visiting to village very soon!

Sarah Douglas – Reflections, Australia:

What an adventure! The last two weeks were phenomenal! I’ve completely fallen in love with Nepal, and will be going back again and again I’m sure! It’s been so good spending time with Lyn, she has been there for me at every step, I’ve learnt so much and we’ve formed a really beautiful relationship. I am so fortunate to have her as an Aunty. She has so much knowledge and experience and she’s fun too! She’s got a lovely heart for the people of Nepal, especially for the children. Oh! The children were fantastic! It was so great to be able to bless them with uniforms donated by Lindfield East Public School, readers, pencils, text books, some sports equipment and some arts and craft material. You could see the joy in their eyes when we gave them the gifts. The school has really benefited from all the support. It means so much to them, and it was so little effort on our behalf. Something that seems so small to us, can mean the world to another.

It was such an experience living with the locals for a week. Sleeping on wooden beds, eating the local food, hanging with the kids and cooking/chatting with the women! It is amazing how much you can communicate without language, we really are all the same, same hopes, dreams and joys…same old women! I had fun swimming in the water hole teaching some young ones water safety and some water games. I enjoyed walking through the villages and around the mountains, bathing in the streams, being surrounded by fire flies at night, meeting some people at a local Christian church, listening to them sing…riding on the top of a bus with all the baggage, bargaining for a good price – then realising that what I’m fighting for is less than $1 so therefore giving up! Just watching people go about their day to day business and discovering that they are really just like me has had a huge impact on my life. I can not describe the beauty of it! One thing I didn’t appreciate, however, was having spiders stare at me while I took a shower or went to the loo in the village! That was scary! But I have had the most amazing life changing time, I’ve been able to experience, take part in and meet some needs of a completely different culture. It has been a huge adventure. Being in Nepal has been and very inspiring, exotic, exciting yet humbling experience, these people have hardly anything, yet they make do. And they aren’t just surviving, they’re living! My whole perspective on life has been broken down and built back up again for the better. When I hear statistics on poverty, education, children in need or standards of living in developing countries, they aren’t just numbers, they have a face now. And I’m even more compelled to get out there and do my bit! Being able to see how they live, as well as support and encourage them has probably impacted me more than anything! I can’t wait to get back there!
Sarah Douglas

Filed under: Adventure travel