I have always been a dreamer. Ever since I was little, I always dreamed of faraway lands and wondered: how do people live there? What are kids my age doing there? What are family picnics like? The scenery? And so on. As a result, I engulfed myself in encyclopedias and children’s magazines. I remember an Australian guy who volunteered at my school and taught us so many fun things. I was only about 8, so it was hard for to understand all of his English, but he was always energetic. His antics were too entertaining for me and my classmates. He used to bring some children’s storybooks once in a while back from Australia and I absolutely loved those books! They were so much better than the dull pages of Nepali story books. I would look at those books and spend hours thinking about the lives of children in other countries. There was a story about some children building tree house and I remember how much it fascinated me. I still haven’t built my own tree house but the enthusiasm remains, so maybe someday I’ll do it 🙂
At 12 or so, I made a couple of pen-friends from UK and Denmark and we wrote a few times. That only fueled my desire to see the rest of the world. On the internet, I had made several international friends (oh the msn and yahoo messenger days!) and sharing photos was still pretty new. I spent hours on the internet reading mostly about countries and their cultures. At nights, I would often get dreams about going to places. Some of those remarkable night dreams I’ve had are: hot air ballooning from Nepal to New Zealand, boating in a pristine lake with two Icelanders then later taking a bus trip to Finland and Sweden (impossible, ha! but it remains one of the best dreams I’ve had, I even wrote all details about it on my journal some 6 years ago) and a class trip to the USA, a country that I could see my home in Nepal, haha. Dreams are so random.
I traveled with my parents within Nepal quite frequently as a child. But I was too young to remember everything or enjoy immensely. When I was about 14, I had this wonderful chance to travel to Japan with 14 (?) other Nepali kids on the occasion of the golden jubilee of Nepal-Japan friendship. I am so grateful for my parents who were ready to fund my travels (quite good money at the time for Nepalese) so that I could take this trip. Japan to this day remains one of the most special countries to me, probably even more than Finland and Poland. It was there where I saw the incredible ocean for the first time, saw how clean and wide the streets were and basically saw how much better they had than us (Nepal). I was bewitched by their technology, culture and the country overall. I was only 14 with no previous traveling experiences so I had nothing that I didn’t like, which I fear I will now if I go back to Japan again. I, along with another Nepali girl, stayed with a Japanese family of 7 (4 generations under one roof!) on a home-stay program. It warms my heart now as I write this on how marvelous the whole experience was. Despite not knowing one another’s language, we bonded so well. We lived in a small town near Osaka (Tokushima) but traveled to Osaka at least twice during the 10-days stay. For us Nepalese kids, everything about Japan was fascinating, even the automatic doors and 24-hour supermarkets!
When I came back to Nepal, I remember complaining about everything, from narrow streets to the pollution. I took me at least 2 months to come back to normal. I was irritating my parents by my complaints about Nepal. But I was just a teenager who had just come back from an amazing trip to an enthralling country! Many of my relatives complained that I was just not paying any attention to studies after the trip and even made comparisons on what they could do with their money instead of sending their teen children abroad for 10 days (seriously Nepalese relatives are the worst.) It saddened me because I just had such an enriching experience and it was impossible as a 14-year old to describe the joys and lessons that trip gave me to my whining relatives.
I took a trip to India (Darjeeling and the cities nearby) right before completing my schooling years. The trip wasn’t as spectacular as the Japan trip, but I very much enjoyed it and started to discover how much love I had for going to new places. I always knew that I would travel abroad for further studies. I was a patriot then and always had plans to go back after a few years. I don’t know if I can say the same now, I am a bit skeptical. When I was 16, together with a friend, I could almost go on a tip to Holland and Belgium for 20 days. But I couldn’t, I believe because of a silly mistake of mine (or maybe something else, I just don’t know to this day, long story). I had dreamed so much about these countries because I was very optimistic about the possibility of that trip. Unfortunately I couldn’t but my friend could. Now years later, I am not captivated by the Netherlands and Belgium. Although I would definitely like to visit those places sometime, they’re not on the top of my list.
I am happy that Nepalese people these days are taking many domestic trips (Nepal is a beautiful country, there’s so much to see!). Abroad holidays especially to India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are also getting popular among the upper-middle class section of the Nepalese. I have some countries/regions that I want to visit SO much and here I list them:
1. Iceland + Faroe Islands+ Greenland (my dream-come-true trips)
2. Road trip through Norway in summer (again, have to save so much for that)
3. Mustang, Nepal
5. Croatia and Greece (Hopefully soon)
7. Road trip through some Southern states in the USA
8. Chile, Argentina and Bolivia
9. Sri Lanka
10. Bhutan (again, quite expensive as of today’s tourism rules they have)
Of course there are so many other places that I would love to visit, but I have been so longing to go to the countries mentioned on the list above.
[I couldn’t upload my personal photos of the trips because the photos are somewhere in an old, rusty computer in Nepal. I don’t have them on my computer here.]