The Himalayan Jaunt. Part III.

Himalayan Jaunt. Part III

Part of the acclimatization process is to climb higher than where you are going to sleep. So for the days we were above 3500m we had to climb up a few hundred vertical metres. On this particular day my trekking companion and I decided to summit a small peak just behind our guest house, at around 4200m. Not a good plan.

We started our climb up after an epic photo-shoot of the Annapurna Valley.

Panorama Himalaya

By this time it was 10:00am, and the sun had started to climb. We had little trouble on the first half of the way up, but then it started to get brutal. Continue reading

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The Himalayan Jaunt. Part II

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Eight days into our trip, we had reached 3500m above sea-level. This is the height where altitude sickness starts to become an issue. Up until this point we trekked around six and a half hours a day. We weren’t in a rush, and every morning we woke up felt like being in a different country. It was going to take us around four days to trek the length of the valley and everyone in our group was excited for this part of our journey.

After 3500m, it’s recommended that you make camp 500m higher than where you had slept the night before before. Your body needs to adjust to the lack of oxygen in the air, and if you move up to fast you’re likely to get AMS.

So our hours of hiking went from 7hrs of trekking each day, down to about 4hrs. A welcome relief. The past few days were steep, cold and wet. We ran into a storm, the night before we broke 3500m, everyone was soaking wet and we spent the night curled up in our mummy bags, and drifting in and out of sleep.

We awoke the next day to what I have written down in my journal as “The Most Epic Day of Hiking Ever!”. It was a bluebird day, and this was our view for the next week. Continue reading

The Himalayan Jaunt. Part I.

The Himalayas are absolutely awe-inspiring and being under them is a humbling experience. Flying into Kathmandu will always be unforgettable. Coming down from 30,000ft into the Kathmandu Valley, with Everest and Lhotse looming majestically above the clouds and Hippipolla by Sigur Ros in my ears, was nothing short of magical.

The plan was to do a 220km circuit through the Annapurna region of the Himalayas with our Sherpa named Dill, a porter named Ram, my good friend from Scotland, and his Dad (who we called Baba-Ji and also soloed Mt. Blanc when he was 16). We were going to be trekking over the Thorong-la, the biggest mountain pass in the world at 17,769ft, and through the deepest valley in the world, the Yarlung Zangbo Valley. Not a small task. Continue reading

The Nepal Jaunt.

world peace pagoda

The last stop before going back to Kanata. Good. Bad. Weird.

This country is on my Top 3 list for countries everyone should visit. The beauty of Nepal not only exists in its towering mountains, rare jungles, and culture, but it extends to the people and their outlook on life.

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The average income in Nepal is $472, among the lowest in the world, according to averagesalarysurvey.com. This creates the perception that its people are poor and therefore unhappy. Wrongo. As most people who have traveled figure out pretty quickly, the state of finance in third-world countries never indicates unhappiness. Quality of life can definitely be related to income but not happiness.

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The Nepalese people who live in the Himalayas are resourceful, adaptive, and just downright tough as balls. These people carry 50kg on their backs straight up a mountain in flip-flops. Jebus H. Not only are the people in Nepal beautiful but the animals and environment are equally as gorgeous.

I had the opportunity to head into the Royal Chitwan National Park, one of the only places in the world where there are wild Indian Rhino’s.

We spent an hour paddling up the river that divides the National Park from the Chitwan village. Then continued walking another 10hrs through the jungle chasing  rhinos, tigers, elephants, and freshwater crocs. When we started out in the morning we were met by a guide whose only weapon against the wilds of the jungle was an aged bamboo stick. Despite the safety brief we had about what to do if we ran into a rhino, elephant, or any other sharp toothed animal, we left Chitwan with confidence at 6am for the jungle.

There’s nothing like heading into an unfamiliar habitat with a stranger and a strong bamboo stick. My senses were heightened, and the deeper we went into the jungle the more the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

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Within 4hrs of trekking we ran into a rhino hanging out in the elephant grass. We circled around to get a better view and take some pictures, but in the way of our circle was a grey rock. And as it turned out, it was an extremely large male rhino, and it wasn’t too stoked on us being there. We started scanning the horizon for trees to climb and got ready to zigzag out of the jungle as fast as we could.

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Right as we turned around to leave the rhino behind us, an earth shattering noise came flying out of the grass and sent all of us crashing through the jungle. We stopped after our guide started doubling over with laughter. Turns out that when you’re nervous in the jungle, an innocent warthog sounds like a prehistoric rhino freight train looking to shish kabob your ass.

Stork

Fortunately, the rest of the day wasn’t as eventful. We came across 75 different species of birds, along with elephants, crocs, Bhalu the bear, and tiger claw marks etched in trees along our path in the jungle.

The second part of my time in Nepal was spent on a 20 day jaunt in the Himalayas…

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The Back to Canada Jaunt

Finally, after two years, I was back in Canada. It was strange to be back. Things had changed…..Justin Beaver

Some for the good, some definitely for the bad.

But all in all it was good to be home. I was surprised at the airport by my awesome family, and that really made my day. When you jaunt there’s not a lot of love in the airports when you arrive. Every time you get off a plane and enter the airport there’s always throngs of people with tearful hello’s and welcoming hugs. It’s hard to see these scenes when you’ve been away from your loved ones for so long. So to say the least, this surprise was one of the most amazing gifts I’ve been given.

After reuniting with family and friends I started to get back into the swing of things. Settling in took a bit longer than I thought it would. I hadn’t been in an English speaking country for 15 months, and Canada, as I found out, had a lot of weird things to say.

I couldn’t help but listen to everyone’s conversations. I felt drowned in a sea of words. I tried my best not to listen to Mandy being dumped by her bf for her best-friend’s sister, but it was to no avail. Earbuds were the only solution.

Slowly, I started to sink back into reality and Canadian lifestyle. I realized how much we rely on consumerism to fuel our world. I felt the urge to spend money I didn’t have. Smartphones. New clothes. Fixies. 90” TV’s. Sick rims for my car (longboard). After traveling for so long and not worrying about possessions, it was hard to adjust. I resisted at first and wouldn’t buy. But eventually, as most people do, I caved. Bought a smartphone, flat-screen, new clothes, and crap that I didn’t even know I didn’t want until I took it home and found I had no use for it. For example Swiffers; they don’t work.

As a marketer, I realize it’s my job to promote products and services. But I’m okay with that. I thought after traveling I might have a different perspective about business. And I do. But not in the stay away from the evil corporations way.

I felt energized by the possibility of business all over the world. How innovation in business is changing the interactions of people and the exchange of ideas. How humans all over the world do business in entirely different ways, with the same end result. How I could be a part of this speeding train of ideas and creation. I felt like I could run the damn world.

There was only one thing left to do.

Get a job.