Just a short post today, written on a bumpy bus ride in Nepal, where inspiration usually hits…
Usually travel days aren’t much to write home about. In fact they can often be an exhausting nightmare. Early departures and over packed buses. Delays, stopovers and changes. And you rarely get a good rest, day or night, right?
However, I’ve always loved journeys and when you’ve been stationary for some time there is a certain thrill to getting back on the road again.
We’d been stationary in Pokhara, Nepali’s second biggest tourist city after Kathmandu, for over a week. For Oli and I this is a long time travel wise. Although, stationary may not be the best description of our time in Pokhara as we’d been cycling, motorbiking, rafting and paragliding all in that week. But the adventures of Pokhara, which are plenty, are for another time.
Once our fantastic group of 8 dwindled to just four we decided it was time to leave the comfort of our Octagon shaped hotel (again, a story for another time). After days of deliberation, reading all available guidebooks and consulting all available Nepali friends we decided on Bandipur.
We rocked up at the bus station late morning with no real agenda and the thrill of the day began. Immediately the general chaos of bus terminals reeled us in. Touts, horns and engines all vied noisily for attention and people, luggage and livestock vied for space. We inserted ourselves into the mix and the haggle begun. With at least three people attempting to drag us towards their bus the price quickly dropped to half what we had expected to pay without us uttering a word. It seems that in Nepal when you are a tourist, obvious from our overstuffed backpacks and slightly clueless faces, the slightest change in expression is enough for haggling.
Next up comes the important job of snack purchasing. Transport stations here always have delicious food! A bag of greasy pakodas and samosas satisfied our cravings. We bundled onto the bus, cheek to cheek with 30 other local Nepalis and we were off. Bus journeys in Nepal are a dream if you can ignore the bad roads and broken seats, with winding roads up and down and between mountains and past tiny little colourful villages.
The glimpses of daily life seen from a bus window are more than you could hope to get once you reach your destination. Fleeting, unfiltered moments that knit together to give you an insight into life in Nepal.
A women washing her hair at the outside tap on the side if the road. Two dusty feet protruding from a huge pile of freshly cut rice. A cow minding it’s own business in the middle of the road. The urge to sleep is not only interrupted by the frequent horn blowing or potholes but by these scenes rolling by.
As usual there was some kind of hold up and this only added to the anticipation for the new journey and new sights ahead. That’s really what the thrill is about. The anticipation of the unknown, the unfamiliar. The hope to see something amazing, something different, just because you stepped out of the door and your comfort zone.
As the familiar rushed behind us from our unavoidably uncomfortable seats, that feeling increased and we couldn’t help but glance at each other often with huge grins on our faces. That feeling is the best feeling and is what keeps the bucket list growing longer and longer.