It’s all too easy to complain, we do it all day without even realising it. We get annoyed at late buses, traffic, the queue at the supermarket checkout and all too often at each other.
What if all the hassles of modern life were taken away? No traffic , no noise, no stress and no time keeping. Would you love it or hate it?
Arriving in any new country is always an eye opener, arriving in Nepal 7 months after a major earthquake was really quite amazing. The media had told us the place was demolished. Convinced us they had nothing. Send all the money you can and the red cross will sort it out.
Kathmandu post earthquake, was just as normal, hectic and bustling as any other Asian city I have travelled to. I didn’t fall into any craters or stay in a red cross tent. The roads were fine and the city was more than happily going about its day to day business. The air is not clean though, in fact it sticks to the back of your throat and gnaws away you. It climbs into your system and violates every cell in your body. Noisy, hectic, busy, downright chaotic and heaving with pollution , it is a fun place to start the trip of a lifetime! A wonderful place to visit.
I was amazed at how many houses and villages we passed. Beautiful multi colored prayer flags adorned the mountains and religious monuments. Everyone is busy, building walls and houses, farming, washing clothes either at a well or in the river. Selling produce from the little shop at the front of their house, waiting on tourists to pass by and have a cuppa. It is friendly and safe place, there is no stress. No phones constantly ringing, bus timetables, hustle and bustle. It is a slow and relaxed pace of life. It’s infectious. Walking in the valley, as fast or as slow as you like, who cares! You will arrive when you arrive.
Since the earthquake there are very few tourists, we were all told to stay away, it’s unsafe. The fact is, it’s fine to visit. They are more than ready to welcome you and provide whatever you need. They need the income from us.
Nepalese children are beautiful. Jet black hair and red cheeks, they love to wave and say Namaste (hello/ welcome/blessings). They don’t have Ipads, X- boxes, Star Wars figures or Lego. To us “they have nothing.” In reality, they have each other to play with, real time to talk and to play. No top of the range football but they find something to kick about. Kids are kids wherever you go, they will muck about if let. No constraints of soccer practice and no pressure to be “cool”/ wear labels or cyber bully each other. They sit down at meal times and have story times.
They are poor financially there is no doubt about it. We passed the Edmund Hillary School in the town of Khumjung, the kids were sitting on the grass, wrapped up, shivering and studying. It is warmer for them to sit outside, their classrooms have no heating, they are stone buildings, cold as ice and dark. Sitting on the grass in the winter sun is the better option for these kids. Getting an education is what is important to them, being able to grow up and provide for their community and their families is the goal. Having two holidays a year and having an investment property is not!
I really loved escaping, hiding in the valley and getting away from it all. Having a clear head, looking for my next nice photo opportunity and thinking what will I have for dinner.
I also wasn’t missing stuff. Like three different moisturisers a day,( I would be guilty of that,) handbags and shoes. It is all just superfluous to us. We buy into the whole needing/ wanting/ must haves. We don’t need them, we can live without them. We don’t have to live on the bread line or become a Buddhist monk. We could just streamline a little. I try to think of the Nepalese now that I am home. I got to experience their life but I also got to walk away. I never want to be that cold again but they manage it. They have to. Realising how lucky you are is also remembering how other people live. I didn’t have to sit in a field to get my education. I didn’t have to walk a donkey miles into the valley to deliver pringles to tourists. I didn’t have a shower for a few days but lucky me, I had baby wipes. These people don’t have showers regularly, it’s too cold and they certainly don’t get to baby wipe. I can flick on my central heating any time I feel like it, they have to dry out Cow poo for days in order to burn it. There isn’t that much dung around. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is not the norm in Nepal! Washing and drying clothes, how do you dry clothes at minus 10?
Seeing how the other half live can give you a right good shake back to reality. It won’t kill you to go a day without your phone or your Ipad. It certainly won’t damage your health not having that extra coat. Stress from modern “first world” life will kill you quicker or the heart attack you get from rich food. It is all just stuff and stuff like that doesn’t matter to anyone, not even you.
About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor, based in South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners & golfers. Recently featured in the Irish Independant, FIT Magazine, her Yoga 4 Cyclists class has gained notoriety.
A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she has completed numerous cycling events including La Marmotte Sportive. Sinéad has also completed three Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races and Half Marathons.