The Himalayas contain the world’s highest peaks, with more than a hundred mountains over 7,200 meters high. Shrouded in mystery, adventure and cultural desolation, I found there to be more reasons to go there than otherwise. Like many other places on Earth, I harbored a dream to make my way to Nepal before I grew too old, weak, or fearful – to traverse her canyons and cliffs – if not to scale her peaks, at least to admire them from below. I wanted to walk along the ancient tectonic plates that collided and crescendoed upwards like opposing waves crashing – frozen in time. Or so they say.

But why now? All I needed was one final push to tip the scale. It came in the form of a chance meeting with a French woman who had been there previously and was set on returning. She told me of the beauty of the Nepali people, her landscapes, food and culture. Then she told me of their hardships: poverty, human rights and women’s rights atrocities, and rampant child slavery. She was a social-minded traveler, and invited me to help in her friends’ projects as well as her own.

Despite not being so passionate about social work, I’ve reflected on the little I know and have come to some impressions about devoting one’s time to the calling. If I or anyone else would do it, it would be best practice to do it out of a sense of love for others – an overflowing compassion – rather than out of a sense of duty. I wrote an essay on that topic you can read here.

Even without that overflowing sense of love and compassion I mentioned, I’m curious and interested enough to try it out and explore the different areas of volunteerism and work I can do in Nepal – as a learning experience above anything else. Still recovering from the extensive damage of the 2015 earthquake, there are volunteering opportunities aplenty. Although, after hearing and reading about the many tourist scams in Nepal, volunteer scams included, it’ll pay to be vigilant in researching and choosing which organizations or groups to volunteer with beforehand.

Still interested in organic farming, I’m in touch with some farms that will be happy to have me help out, in exchange for food and lodging. In between all the volunteering, I’ll make sure to do some hikes and explore on my own and with the friends I have yet to make.

The door is open, the invitation, set. Why waste the chance for cultural immersion, the fun and happiness in being helpful and personal growth? Opportunities like these are exactly the reason I never wanted to be tied down with a job, a relationship or a business. I did nothing to deserve such a blessed life; so I’ll do my best to spread good vibes, gratitude and inspiration.

If you have any recommendations for places to see, food to eat or things to do in Nepal (all with a tight budget, of course), let me know! Cheers!

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