Tuesday’s 19th Street Hill hike! Good friends, good conversation, good hike!

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Bhaktapur & Beyond!

Hi Everyone!

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I’m Jordan Leonard, an avid traveler, writer, and photographer, and this is my blog about tourism development in Nepal. I created this blog during the summer of 2012 while working for iTrek Nepal, a trekking company that provides unique, off the beaten path experiences for its clients.  In this blog I examine the current state of tourism development in Nepal while keeping in mind the need for a balance between developing tourism as a means of poverty alleviation and maintaining local culture and traditions.  My sources include my personal experiences and interviews along with outside sources and studies.  

All writing and photography is my own unless otherwise stated and the earliest content starts on the last page of the blog (i.e. the blog is in reverse chronological order).  If you would like to start reading from the beginning of my journey go to: http://itreknepaltourism.tumblr.com/tagged/itrek/chrono Enjoy!

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Bio: Jordan Leonard is a 22-year-old recent graduate from Duke University.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies and minors in Culture Anthropology and Visual & Media Studies.  Her past work experience includes interning at the publication company Condé Nast, and interning at Creative Time, a nonprofit that commissions and presents public art projects in New York City.  Jordan has a passion for traveling and seizes the opportunity to see new places whenever she has the chance.  Her most recent travels included stops in Slovenia, Greece, Hungary, and Portugal.  Her bucket list includes visiting the ancient city of Petra and going gorilla tracking in Rwanda.  Aside from traveling, Jordan loves to read, write, practice photography, and take her dog Finlay to the beach.  

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Direct comments or questions to jordan.leonard@duke.edu

5am solo trek.

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#HeartWalk #hearthealthy #healthyme #healthyhustle #justwalk #walking4wellness #itrek #isweat #icaniwill #iwalk #NewMe #worththirty #worthit #walkawaythepounds #diet

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What role can iTrek play?

After my experience in Ghalegaun and talking with Kamala and Shree, I was left wondering what Nepal’s next steps should be in terms of tourism development and what role a trekking company like iTrek can play in this process. 

 

When I visited Ghalegaun it became clear that a lot of developments would need to be made in order for Ghalegaun to become the popular tourist destination that many of its residents want it to be.  The road leading up to the village needs to be smoothed, western toilets and more showers need to be installed, and although the village technically has electricity, it only worked a few hours out of the entirety of our two-day stay there.  No one in the village spoke English, and while I was traveling with someone (Shree) who spoke both English and Nepali, and could therefore translate for me, many tourists may not have that luxury.

 

Ghalegaun is still years away from becoming a desirable mainstream tourist destination.   Currently I do not think iTrek should not bring its average client there.  There are many places in Nepal that have more beautiful trails and scenery and are easier to access than Ghalegaun.  Even along the Annapurna Base Camp Trail the guesthouses have western toilets and 24-hour electricity even though many of them are days away from any roads or cities.

 

Ghalegaun however has something that few other destinations in Nepal offer: a homestay experience.  Although I found the Annapurna region to be more beautiful and cleaner than Ghalegaun, my homestay was wonderful and made the trip to Ghalegaun well worth it.  In Ghalegaun I learned a lot about the local culture in a very short amount of time; I had an immersive experience that was unique from the rest of my stay in Nepal.  In Ghalegaun I had the opportunity to eat a homecooked meal inside a family’s kitchen, visit a local school, and make friends with Nepali people.  For these reasons, I think iTrek should offer clients the option of a trip to Ghalegaun as long as iTrek explains that the village is less developed than other destinations in Nepal. 

 

I also think there is a role iTrek and other trekking companies can take on to help rural villages develop their homestay programs so that they meet the needs of both local villagers and tourists.  While it is not feasible for a trekking company to be funding the development of a village, there are ways for iTrek and rural villages to work together to improve the homestay experience. 

 

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*A young boy leaps off the wall during recess at the local school in Ghalegaun (Jordan Leonard // June 2012).

 

Travelers, for the most part, are going to Ghalegaun not for the scenery or hiking, but for the unique homestay experience.  I think if Ghalegaun offered other unique experiences, then travelers would be more inclined to go out of their way to visit the village.  For example, I think many of iTrek’s clients are looking for “off the beaten path” experiences and would cherish the opportunity to volunteer in the local school and teach kids English or observe the locals as they make their traditional handicrafts.  iTrek could even collaborate with Ghalegaun and create a program whereby guests can have the homestay experience free of charge if they volunteer to teach English, help with the construction of a new building, or maintain the road.  iTrek can assist with the development of these rural villages by making suggestions, volunteering, and providing feedback.  Additionally, iTrek could also help fund new developments by having a donation box in the office for clients to contribute to or by selling the handmade crafts of villagers to clients for them to take home as souvenirs. 

Good night and God bless! So glad I found my favorite head scarf.
Sleep, it does a body good!

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Fresh #GreenBeans from the Rice Family #Garden. Guys thanks so much for thinking of me. Love you guys. #freshvegetables. #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #wwlife #wwladies #ww #wwfamily #wwdivas #wwsister #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightloss #weightlossprogress #GirlTrekBham #healthyme #healthyhustle #justwalk #walking4wellness #itrek #isweat #icaniwill #iwalk #NewMe #worththirty #worthit #walkawaythepounds #diet

Five Guys, yogurt, natural hair.
Oh what a work day. Took my homemade lunch back home. SMH at myself. Being honest. What’s on your #workout #playlist? Always willing to listen to something new and gets me moving. #GirlTrek #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #wwlife #wwladies #ww #wwfamily #wwdivas #wwsister #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightloss #weightlossprogress #healthyme #healthyhustle #justwalk #walking4wellness #itrek #isweat #icaniwill #iwalk #NewMe #worththirty #worthit #walkawaythepounds #diet

Fresh watermelon and reality tv.
#wwfood #wwfoodjournal #fruit #healthyeats #food4fitness #healthyfood #goodeats #freshfruits.

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#Planning a successful week. Morning Daily check list for me.

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In my #Superhero Blue on this Super Saturday. #GirlTrek Rocks! Solo trek.
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Stay #hydrated! This summer heat is no joke.

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Sundays are Rest Days! I did walk! #GirlTrek
#dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #wwlife #wwladies #ww #wwfamily #wwdivas #wwsister #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightloss #weightlossprogress #GirlTrekBham #HeartWalk #hearthealthy #healthyme #healthyhustle #justwalk #walking4wellness #itrek #iwalk #NewMe #worththirty #worthit #walkawaythepounds #diet (at Lakeshore Running Trail)

#GirlTrek Trek Birmingham logged 10 miles at Chief Madigan Trail 3 hours and10 minutes. Thank You Lord God for being me.

#GetFree with #GirlTrek #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #wwlife #wwladies #ww #wwfamily #wwdivas #wwsister #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightloss #weightlossprogress #myweightlossjourney
#mywalk #mytrek #iwalk #itrek #isweat #myfit #myfitnesspal #myweightdaries #myweightloss #myweightlosstool #mygym #mydiet #healthyhustle #walking #walkathome #walkawaythepounds 10 miles logged at Chief Madigan Trail

#GetFree with #GirlTrek #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #wwlife #wwladies #ww #wwfamily #wwdivas #wwsister #dailytracking #weightlossjourney #weightloss #weightlossprogress #myweightlossjourney
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We had a great time at Chief Madigan Trail!

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#blackgirlsworkouttoo #blackgirlsrun #blackgirlsworkout #redlipfit #walking #walkathome #walks #walkawaythepounds #walker #itrytorun #itsuptome #iwill #ichange #iworkout #itrek #iammysisterskeeper #alwaysthinkhealthy #allGodbuddy #aGb #becauseitworks #behealthy #biggirlsworkouttoo #backontrack #crushinggoals #christianfit #exercise

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