New Yorker Joanne
Tsung considers herself a newcomer to the world of solo traveling
and just returned from a six-week trip to Nepal. This was a first
for her, and what a first it was. She completed the Annapurna
Circuit, a 23-day trek around the Annapurna range and a 12-day
trek to the Gosainkund holy lake region. Joanne writes...
I always considered myself
a relatively easy-going and low-maintenance person, especially in
regard to travel. I started to doubt these parts of my personality
as I became more and more nervous about travelling to Nepal by myself.
Looking back, I knew Nepal was tourist-friendly but I had no idea
how easy it would be. I highly recommend Nepal for those who want
a relatively painless initiation into the world of independent travelling
and who love hiking and being outdoors. Here are some of the lessons
that I learned from my experience in Nepal...
Steps to a great trek...
by taking the stairs. At least one month before your trip,
become a regular at your gym and concentrate on cardiovascular
and strength training. Throw in an occasional yoga class
to build flexibility--and your spirit.
your treks. Consult a guidebook on the itineraries of the
pricey, all-inclusive camping treks for ideas. Make sure
that a trek matches your physical stamina and your travel
forget the weather. Weather should be considered when planning
a trek, especially on treks with a high pass. The most popular
trekking months are October and November (think crowds).
The monsoon season lasts from June to September (think leeches).
save money, avoid booking your trek from home. Spend an
extra day or two in Kathmandu and use one of the many
trekking agencies to organize your trek or find you a
porter or a guide. Meet your porter or guide before you
hit the trails to test your compatibility. Note that there
are trekking agencies that specialize in planning treks
for women and that use women guides and porters.
yourself enough time. Confirm all flights prior to leaving
for a trek and arrive back in Kathmandu at least one day
before your flight in case of transportation problems.
Travelling by bus or other local transport in Nepal can
and listen to other trekkers in Kathmandu. They can provide
useful traveller's hints on treks, restaurants, lodges,
weather and trekking agencies.