Will I still be able to do this? It seems like ages ago! Do I still have what it takes? Will I still be able to ride mountains? Was my bike that heavy before?
Those questions were wriggling worms who restlessly haunted my head.
Tuesday, February the 20th. I hadn’t cycled for 69 days. Apart from an 18-day trek in the Himalayas, were those lower limbs extremely spoiled for the remaining 51 days. I filled my days with voluntary work, with making a website for the Girls’ Hostel, visiting a UNICEF project, interviewing a victim of human trafficking, figuring out visas, endlessly checking whether or not I could cross the Indian-Burmese border and writing an article for bikepacking.com. The days were too short, the to-do list too long.
Never before had the pause button been pushed for so long, never before was the desire so big to be back on the bike, to camp and to find rest and adventure in nature. I felt like it, correction: I felt incredibly excited about it. I was that little girl on Christmas eve, bursting with impatience.
I barely left Pokhara when my need for adventure was already satisfied. The path on the map turned out to be non-existent. I had to drag my bike in and out of a far too deep canal and pushed it over a sandy terrain which will become an airport one day.
It felt like a bliss to camp the first evening under a beautiful haystack standing on top of a wooden stall. It was a pleasure to cook my own food outside and to be visited by a girl with too much hay on her back. It was nice to meet her curious little brother a bit later that eve.
The following days were mainly marked by sweat, fewer kilometres as planned, lots of pushing, little power and a lot of sand. Yeah, roads full of sand and dust, lots of dust on trees and bushes, on helmet and hands, between bread and teeth, in nose and bag. In short, on every uncovered millimetre, it sought and found its happiness. Me too, I loved it! The sand might not be my favourite taste but I found the sight of it very beautiful! Villages with small, loam houses, inhabited by sweet, warm people, coloured an orange-red. As warm as the people were, so was the weather. Every day, the thermometer, with temperatures over thirty degrees, teamed up with the humidity and together this tandem delivered a peak performance. The in 51 days acquired kilos melted with enthusiasm. Ten days, I fully enjoyed pushing the pedals through that beautiful country.
My last night camping on Nepalese soil was one with a stunning sunset. Purple, orange, red was the colour palette of the sky. My tent was staggered between bushes and stones. I was hoping for not too much wind. My wish was not fulfilled, on the contrary! The beautiful sky turned out to be a harbinger of a gigantic storm with hail as marbles and a flapping tent. My tent didn’t turn out to be waterproof. An unforgettable night in an unforgettable country!
Nepal, you stole my heart! I’ll return, if not on a bike, it is with a backpack and with the utmost conviction to do voluntary work again. Take care of your beautiful nature and your lovely people. All the best!