The Lure of Adventure

“Himal do you actually know where we are?” I asked nervously. The sun was setting and it was starting to get below 10 degrees. We made our way into a forest, the wind was rustling the leaves overhead and the endless amount of trees made getting our bearings impossible. This was on the way to my second placement in the nunnery at Bigu. It was the first time I was ever scared in my two months in Nepal. Himal and I were fully ready to sleep in the jungle. We brought supplies that made our packs so much heavier than they should have been. I’ll never forget how we stumbled into Bigu, exhausted but relieved. We both burst into laughter when we received our tea.  
The hike to Bigu was a welcome addition to the amazing memories I’ve made in Nepal. Exploring the snaking streets of Kathmandu. Serving hundreds of the city's homeless in Durbar square. Waking up at four in the morning to see the first rays of light hit Annapurna at Poon Hill. Actively seeking out tigers while walking through the Chitwan Jungle. Dancing in front of 30,000 people at an Elephant festival and teaching soldiers an Australian children's dance. All these experiences, and so many more, have affected me so deeply In the most positive way imaginable. I have made such great connections with the other volunteers and the local Nepali people. The Nepalese people are honestly the most selfless, dependable and kind-hearted people you will ever meet and they will go above and beyond to make you feel welcome.
The majority of my time was spent outside of the valley on my volunteer placements. I spent two weeks in the barren village of Ramechhap teaching English to primary school children in a glorified shed. My other placement was in Bigu, teaching nuns amongst the titanic Himalayas. I won’t lie, these placements are challenging. Many times I thought of throwing in the towel and coming back to the relative comfort of Kathmandu. It’s the extraordinary people that draw and keep you in these placements. Also knowing that you are benefiting these small communities in such a positive way is a major accomplishment in itself. Nothing that’s ever worth doing is simple. The stories and connections I have made I will treasure forever and the amazing country that is. Nepal will always hold a special place in my heart.
So I call on all people across the globe who read this, from the seasoned adventurer or armchair explorers, to open their hearts and minds to the amazing place that is Nepal. Let the people welcome you with open arms. If there is one thing bigger than Everest, it's the kind hearts of the people of Nepal. My last piece of advice is just to surrender yourself to the experience, leap first - then open your eyes later. Never say no to a potentially awesome adventure. No matter how trivial the task is, I guarantee it will be a golden opportunity waiting to happen!  
Josh Rickard