Upon return from my trip to Europe in 1997, I decided that if I had the chance, the next destination would be somewhere more ‘primitive’. Less civilised technology and big cities, but with some mystique in the culture. In my mind, I had settled on either Nepal or the Andes in South America: Incas, City of Gold and so on. In the end, I settled on the safer option, since Nepal was probably safer compared to South American jungles because I intended to travel alone – as long as it was practical.
In 1998, I decided to take the plunge and embark on an journey where I really did not know what to expect. In fact, I had planned to leave for Nepal in January or February of 1998, when it’s cooler and more suitable for trekking. It was pushed back because I was trying to solve a rather tough problem for my PhD but had been stuck for a few months. Seeing there was no telling when I would actually solve it, so, rather impulsively, I decided to drop everything on hand and went on this trip anyway. Looking back, I think this was the best decision because there were going to be more and more things getting in the way if I delayed further.
The decision was made around March, all arrangements made in the month, and I was off in April. By the way, this was already a bit late for trekking since the annual Monsoons start in May. By this stage, the weather can get quite warm, and there are generally heavy rains in the mountains. One comment about environmental hazards while trekking in Nepal: in winter, avalanches, and in summer, floods and mud slides and also bandits.