Last day in Namche: a stretch, cards over tea, the bakery cafe for six hours as I wrote wrote wrote (massive in roads; I’ll have this book full first edit through by end of August).

I went and saw my friend at her Tibetan Handicraft Shop and showed her the photo of us from last year; she was so excited, she especially got out a little stool for me to sit on as I shifted through all the crotchet headbands. I finally narrowed it down to two and a scarf, and after we had a new photo taken (she requested Craig take one on her cellular of her and I too), she told me to choose a pair of crotchet mittens as a present.

I chose the purple and then bought another headband to match. She asked what time we’d be off in the morn, and said she’d especially come down at 8 to wave us away. (I love her).

Last year – 2017
Us 2018

Craig and I hustled the hill up to the school; we’d had idealistic ideas about him playing some football with the boys and me gossiping about with the girls, but on arriving in the area we were timid to take it further than the outskirts. So we sat on the bank and watched them play soccer and volleyball for a mo, before turning back to the teahouse.

A thing I’ve loved while being away is not waking up and getting straight on my phone. What with not having wifi unless I specifically ask Craig to hotspot or head to the Namche cafe, I don’t check it first thing. And it’s amazing. Instead I stretch, have a yarn, have a tea, all such stuff – and it’s just glorious. I’m really going to attempt to keep this going when back in NZ. I don’t even think when I’m back in Thamel that I’ll download Messenger or Instagram for a day or two. And I don’t even know what day it is! I’ve asked countless times where we’re at in terms of date and if it’s Monday or Thursday. Dinner done by 7 at latest, bed early, lights out at 9.30 considered a late one, and arisal at 6am the norm – I love the freshness of it all.

And another thing: no make up. I’ve had nothing on my face (except spf moisturiser) for almost a fortnight now. I love being so bare, so non masked – and everytime I look in the mirror (hardly ever up here – there are minimal, and even then you can hardly see yourself) it strikes me how much I see my Nanna.

Blitz to Lukla day; sleep evaded me all night, so I ended up with three hours tops of solid snoozing. I ordered a medium thermos of masala chai (thanks be I didn’t go for the large!!) which Craig and I halved, and I was absolutely humming.

We went to meet up with my friend from the Tibetan Handicraft Store at 8am as per promised. She was a no-show, so I left her a note which I slotted under the door.

And then in the pouring rain, we headed away from Namche. (I though of a fabulous phrase: when in Namche, people should greet and goodbye with na-ma-che; when I voiced the idea to Craig however, I fucked it up and said na-manch-e, so it didn’t really work to catch on).

We had been told it was an 8-9 hour journey; we smashed it in 5 hours 20. We stopped off to see our new friend Pasang Sherpa in his village for a tea (Craig had bought him a waterproof bag cover as a gift for giving me Compeed plasters and complimentary chai). We got our tickets checked at the National Park entrance (Craig had been noted down as “Carig”, so that is now his new name). We went to pick up our ordered fresh roasted coffee beans, but they were not yet ready so the lady is coming to Lukla (where we are now located) to drop off a delivery.

It was insane: as we moved down in altitude the air was so much more plentiful with oxygen particles. Gulping in as you gained ground was no longer such a shallow swallow, but a deep deposit to the lungs – like the whiskey analogy in the previous posts, we’d moved on from pints and were onto the hard stuff.

As per, we talked a lot as we trotted. We discussed our favourite things, narrowing them down to a firm five; it was pretty cool to discover that both of us had no material things in the list (just FYI, mine are: 1. Stretching, 2. Writing, reading, learning (counts as one ok), 3. Purchasing people presents (one of my absolute greatest joys), 4. Waking barefoot on the ground, and 5. Laughing until my tummy hurts). (Plus 6. Dogs. Because I’m always just a little bit too much in every which way).

I love here how the animals just live in harmony. They’re all so docile, and co-exist in companionship. Chickens and cows and yaks and dogs and cats; no chasing or teasing, just the occasional growl between pups but no more at all.

This whole just-more-than-a-week, I’ve had my sunglasses handy. But I haven’t once worn them; I didn’t want to see this wonderworld through a lens, but rather raw and unfiltered. It’s my favourite place on the planet and I wanted to sink it and drink it all in with my naked eyes (however short-sighted in one and long in the other they might be).

Our last little leg we came across a waterfall and had a dip in (first full wash in eight days, and luckily so – when we got to our teahouse, we realised our room came with no showering facilities). I wore my boots into the water to give them a wash – I think they’ve met their end after two Everest Base Camps, one sojourn to Somare, two Tongariros, a Ngauruhoe and multiple Maungatautaris – they’ve most definitely lost some life and some sole.

Am I sad to go? Most definitely. I’d love to Nama-stay. But as Craig and I have discussed frequently throughout our footsteps; be grateful you have something to be sad about. Embrace the feeling – it’s bittersweet because it provides memories you’ll treasure. And don’t lessen the importance of what comes next because you’re pining for the past; that present should be given just as much opportunity and enjoyment.

I’m sad to leave to mountains and Namche as the gateway to Everest, but I’m excited to go home to Thamel (I don’t know what it is, but I’ve automatically been referring to Thamel as “home” this whole time). I’m sad to leave Thamel, but I’m excited to go back to the ‘Bridge, with what the next few weeks has on the calendar (Hendrik’s 2nd b’day, family dinner for Mummy Dee Dub’s – not 2nd, a touch over that – Opa’s 90th, dispersing my presents purchased for people). I’m excited for summer, for my weddings, for yoga, for seeing dogs I adore (my one and only Otto, my new bestie Ice, my rightside girl Roxy). I’m excited to start saving for next year’s adventure.

To put it simply, I’m excited for life.

(Though I have to admit, now I’m back in Lukla and set to fly in the a.m – if it’s not too cloudy and charters aren’t cancelled – I’m feeling slightly saddened. I told Craig I was feeling a bit droopy and he handed me an Everest beer – the lad knows me well).

(Currently in a cafe drinking whiskey spiked tea watching National Geographic; did you know there’s a runway in St Juliana where planes land right off the beach? Next on the list I think!!).

Time for Thamel!

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