In May, 2014, my university gave me opportunity to organize field trek in Langtang Valley as part of topic Sustainable Tourism Management (under BSc Environment management). In classroom, I used to share them about my stories from my 128 days long solo journey across Great Himalaya Trail in 2011. Listening to me, they paused and then their eyes went big and there was silent. It was challenge to me to know whether they understood or felt what I was sharing to them.
Therefore I was very excited to organize this trek for my classmates to show splendid natural beauties, high Himalayas, authentic Tibetan-Tamang culture and many more. And make them feel how wonderful it is to travel and to learn being in the lap of nature. We were together 16 friends accompanied by two teachers. For all my friends, it was first time they were heading towards the Himalaya except for two who are from Everest region.
They were very excited too. To mention in brief, Langtang Valley is located central-north of Nepal within Langtang National Park. On the first day, after 6 hours of bus ride, we reached to Syaphru Bensi where I spent my early childhood. On the same day, we took walk around the village and my childhood school. Back then school infrastructures were poor but now with joint collaboration of help and support from government and INGOs, school looks much better and more students too.
My friends listened with curiosity when said I was taken to Kathmandu; capital of Nepal for schooling by sponsorship of generous tourist who came to my village 12 years back. One friend said; “good. Positive Impact of tourism..”. I looked at her and smiled and continued my conversation stating there are hundreds of students who go to school in capital of Nepal and it’s all due to generosity of tourists who visited Langtang Valley. Lightheartedly, I said; “Haven’t I met Droo from USA? I would have been married, working in road construction (pointing at newly constructed Nepal-China road) or porter for tourists or something else.” They all gazed towards me. I said;” Let’s go” Then we walked towards our guest house. Next morning we began walking at 7am.Every evening we had discussion over what we had seen and opinions on day experience. It felt great when friends appreciated continuity on authentic and unique culture by local even under influence of growing tourism in the valley, friendliness of local people. Local Women were seen busy with making handicrafts to be sold for tourists as souvenirs; they found stories about female trekking guide, returning of local students back to serve community, sensitization of infrastructure development, development community through community bakery and cheese factory supported by tourism. To sum up in brief, we all enjoyed the trip and was once in a lifetime experience.Therefore, indeed this travel was education in itself for me and my friends.