Anyone who has followed my journey knows that it started in Nepal, where I spent the first month of my backpacking experience exploring the cities, national parks, and trekking trails all across the country. I fell in love with its history, beauty and simplicity, and especially, along my trekking route in the Annapurna mountain range I made a connection with a special group of people who became like family to me in our short time together. I spent about 14 days with OneSeed Expeditions amazing crew of 2 guides and 3 guides in training, and 5 other fellow travelers. I knew from the moment I stepped off the trail that I had made a special connection with each and every one of these people. There is just something about being in the wilderness, pushing yourself beyond your limits, surrounded by the most profound natural beauty you can imagine that can turn a bunch of strangers into a family. I have kept in touch with most of these people to different degrees thanks in large part to facebook, but it was not until this recent tragedy that I truly understood how my trail family has truly touched my soul.
When I received news of the earthquake my stomach was in knots. I just couldn't imagine a world without these wonderful, kind, beautiful people in it. The thought of them being injured or killed was making me sick to my stomach. Thankfully, Facebook has a tool which allows people in disaster zones to check in and let their friends know they are safe. Within days I got an alert from Facebook with a list of my friends that lived in Nepal. Two had already checked in. Over the next few days a few more were confirmed safe, though they were trapped in the Everest region by avalanches triggered by the earthquake. A week later I received a note from the owner on OneSeed confirming that all of their employees were safe, but that many had lost family members and homes. I was so relieved, but also incredibly saddened and guilty that I could not do something for them. A couple of days later there was another message from OneSeed. It stated that they had been mistaken and one of the guides in training from my team, a young, shy, sweet kid from a small, cliffside village, had not actually been confirmed alive. I was devastated, again, until finally a week later he was confirmed alive and well. The level of relief I felt at this news was incredible. Again, I am so happy that my Nepal family is safe and sound, but still many have suffered the trauma of this event and are still suffering day to day as they cope with loses in their families, and of their homes and possessions. Some of the FB messages I saw in the weeks after the disaster nearly brought me to tears as I saw grief, heartache and despair from people once so full of hope and happiness.
I am happy to report however, that I have more recently seen that hope begin to return as they begin to pick up and rebuild their lives. Many of my very fortunate friends are lending their support to those in need and it has been beautiful to see the spirit and ingenuity that I knew could never be completely shaken from these very strong people. It has made me love them even more.
So I end this post with a plea to lend whatever support you are able to Nepal in their time of need. If you have a trip planned to Nepal or were ever thinking of going, they could use your patronage now more then ever, so do not cancel your trip. If you are leery over which relief organization to support I am reposting this message fromOneSeed Expeditions .... I trust their integrity and judgement completely, so if they stand behind Global Giving as a reliable means to donate to recovery efforts than they must be on the up and up......
For those interested in supporting immediate relief services in Nepal, we recommend GlobalGiving (http://www.globalgiving.org/p…/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/) for their commitment to transparency and efficiency. Learn more:http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm