“Adventure today means finding ones way back to the silence and stillness of a thousand years ago.”
Pico Iyer, NY Times
Alexis found this quote in an old magazine whilst we were right in the middle of our Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal and it couldn’t have been more fitting for how we felt at the time.
As soon as we left the chaos of Kathmandu and stepped foot in the mountains life became stiller, quieter, more simple. Travel became simpler. All the Annapurna Circuit required us to do was walk. For 3 weeks our world became one of pilgrimage. We woke, we walked, we ate and we devoted ourselves to the beauty of the mountains.
When we woke, we woke with the sun, we walked with the sun and we slept not much later than it set. Our meals, although much better and with more choice than we’d expected on the trek, were reduced to a few simple choices of homegrown, organic produce. The Nepalese themselves rarely eat anything but the tasty and filling national dish of Dal Bhat. Before our early nights we delighted in playing simple card games for hours and hours. We read a lot and talked about anything and everything. More often than not though we would walk together in the day in silence, with no rush or disturbance to take away from the raw beauty around us.
The small settlements we found ourselves in were infused with this sense of stillness, unchanged over hundreds of years and welcoming us into this new quieter world. Having no wifi, television or hot water became normal to us and when we came upon towns and hotels with these amenities we were shocked and even affronted. We liked the quieter existence.
The simplicity of it all meant the grandeur of the place, the mountains we had come all the way to see, had no distraction. They filled our every waking thought and we never, really, got used to their brilliance. We stopped often, in absolute and ridiculous awe.
And our sole goal of walking, each and every day, kilometre after kilometre, satisfied us exactly as we hoped it would way back when we were dreaming up our trip in Korea. We felt stilled, without all life’s distractions, despite the constant motion. In many ways travel has become so noisy, so hectic. Tourism is increasingly more competitive and the choices available to us can be boggling. But on the Annapurna Circuit the journey and the mountains are enough, no fancy excursions necessary. The joy of simply walking, stepping one foot in front of another, will not leave me anytime soon.
The Himalayas lured us in all the way from Korea and I don’t think we will ever stop thinking about them and the simple, happy existence they create.
Are you lured by the mountains? Where have they seduced you? And where have you gone to get away from it all and be still?