guesthouse on the river

Dear Tumblr, I have been quiet for so long! But here’s why. I’ve spent the past few weeks trekking through the Himalayas on the Annapurna circuit. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. 

I’m going to share the tale of time on the circuit day by day, in the hopes it gives you all a good laugh, makes you all admire how cool I am and maybe gives you some info if you’re also planning on doing the same thing.

Day 1. Pohkara to Besisahar to Ngarde. First of all, let me introduce my trekking team, who all just happened to sit near me on the bus.  Erica from America
The baby of the group. 20 years old, though you’d never guess it. Whether her maturity level was on par with ours or whether we all had the maturity of a 20 year old is still yet to be decided. The amount of times we discussed our toilet habits makes me think it’s probably the latter though. She wants to study film and learn more about her camera, so we were basically the greatest pair ever. It was nice to impart some of my knowledge.
Tomas, Tommy, Tomik, the Norwegian.
A career traveller who spends half his time in the arctic on a weather station and the other half gallivanting the globe creating all sorts of mischief. Basically the coolest dude in the world despite the fact he needs tattoos to remind himself to breathe. We just said goodbye to him as he jumped on his motorbike to head back through India along the Manali leh highway. See what I mean. Coolest dude.
Bob, a.k.a Bobby hot shakes
If there was an award for ‘greatest human alive’ bobby would definitely win. The papa bear of the group, 32 from England. He became our unpaid tour guide, mapping each days route and making sure we didn’t wander off the path to our death.
When my shoes broke and i needed superglue, bob had my back. When my water purification didn’t work and i needed a chlorine tablet, bob had my back. When I needed a laugh to make my forget how sore my back was from carrying all my camera gear, bob most definitely had my back.
Marijn, a.k.a Big Maz.
A dutch software engineer with the sweetest calf muscles known to man. Big Maz kept us entertained by consistently living his best life. When my water bottle broke he admired his own unbroken water bottle. When my shoes broke, he was amazed by how unbroken his own shoes where. When we were tired from trekking, big Maz was ready to run down and run back up the mountain. We love you mazdog.

And finally me. Surprisingly for the first time in my life I wasn’t the weirdest one of the group.
So to begin the trek you need to take a bus from Pohkara to Besisahar. 3 - 4 hours getting bounced around. From Besisahar we trekked to Ngarde, about 4 hours of hiking. First up we had to weigh everyone’s backpack to discover who’s was heaviest. I won the competition by a landslide (my canon 5D, 70 - 200m lens, 16-35mm lens and my tripod weighing me down), much to Big Maz’s amusement due to my tiny size.
Finally we set off, we got lost on the first turn, but luckily Bob got us back on track. It’s a subtropical climate down at normal alititude, so we were all sweaty messes. It seemed crazy to think in a few days time we’d be hitting the snow.
I thought the first day of the trek was meant to be dusty and dirty, filled with trucks and other trekkers. Friends had told me it was like a highway of trekkers, but I guess because I did it juuuust on the edge of the season there wasn’t as many people.
Adorable town after adorable town, tropical jungle, rice fields, children yelling namaste, cows and buffalo chewing grass.
Finally we reached destination 1. Ngarde. We walked past the first section of the town and ended up at the ‘Adventure Trekkers Guesthouse’ a beautiful little place right next to a river that runs fresh from the mountains.The rooms are simple but cozy and if you lie in the correct position you won’t feel how thin the mattress is. (Plus the longer you travel in asia the more you enjoy hard beds)

I photographed the first sunset of my trip and the old love came back. I’d been so worried that working in my field had drained my creative energy and most of all my passion. I’d hardly grabbed my camera in the first week of my trip and back home it had become an effort to go on a photography adventure. But day 1 of the circuit and I couldn’t put it down again.
I just needed something worthwhile to photograph, something inspirational.
I also had my first stargazing adventure, I decided to leave the camera behind as I knew the stars where just going to get better and better the higher up we got.
I was sitting down listening to the water rush past, watching the fireflies light up around me and staring up at a perfect view of the stars.
All I could do was breathe. Breathe in the beautiful life I’m so privileged to lead. Breathe out all the worries that had been clouding my judgement and weighing me down in my home life.
It was a lovely moment that was only slightly ruined by the discovery of 2 leeches in my pants. The first day was complete and it seemed hard to imagine it getting any better, already it all seemed too good to be true. BUT BETTER IT GOT!

The next excerpt comes tomorrow.


Georgina: Hey! How was lunch at your mother’s?
Joël: Don’t ask.
His expression is one of defeat. Disconcerted, she tries to smile at Jared, who is wearing his habitual worried expression. She just wants to envelop them both in her arms .
Jared: Where’s Angus?
Georgina: He and Dad went for a ride on the quad bikes somewhere.
Joël: What about Roy?
Georgina: Who cares.
That makes Joël smile. The ticklish, fizzy feeling rises in her chest again. You could probably fry eggs on the tops of her ears. Douglas coughs. Loudly.
Douglas: Say, Jared. Have you been up to the dinosaur dig yet? We ought to go now, before it gets dark. We’ll take Dad’s pickup truck. The dogs can come too. They can go digging for dinosaur bones!  
Jared’s jaw drops open in awe. As soon as they are out of sight Georgina links her arm in Joël’s. Anyone watching them from the house would think they were two old friends just going for a stroll. They walk down the slope behind the guesthouse towards the river. She wants to ask him about his mother. How literal was he being when he said don’t ask? She squeezes his arm instead. She doesn’t know where they’re going. It’s not often in her life she’s been able to say that.
Joël: Remember that conversation we had early in the week? When you asked me how it felt to be home?
Georgina: Yes. Of course I do.
She squeezes his arm again.
Joël: Well, I don’t feel like Appaloosa is my home anymore. I haven’t for a long time, if I’m honest with myself.
Georgina drops his arm. Roy is walking slowly towards them, leading Ricochet Prince of Rhythm, or Ric for short, by the reins. Roy looks to be in pain and when they get closer they can see he is limping.
Joël: Dude? What’s up with your leg?
Roy: I want to go home. Back to Bridgeport. Fuck this shit. Even my favourite horse hates me.