Nashville to Nepal Vol. 2: The Plan

(Continued from Nashville to Nepal Vol. 1: The Lyft)

A day later, I was driving away from my former office with cardboard boxes full of framed family pictures and wall hangings, awards, lamps, and bottles of ibuprofen stuffed into the back seat of my pickup.

I was free.

As I drove through Nashville heading west toward my home in Kingston Springs, the world seemed larger, clearer, and more interesting somehow, like when you first try on a pair of glasses after years of unknowingly facing life with poor eyesight. It was a giddy feeling. And as a person newly unemployed, without a single prospect, and with two teenagers at home making college plans, one thought continued to sneak into my brain, as it would anyone who found themselves in my situation:

I need to text that Sherpa dude I met yesterday and find out about trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

I should mention here that I’ve never trekked anywhere in my life except for one hike with the Boy Scouts and a really long walk once when my van broke down. I’ve never even been to Canada, let alone Nepal. It all makes perfect sense.

But actually, it does. I had met Dawa Jangbu the previous day when I happened to step into his Lyft vehicle for a ride after downloading the company’s app 10 minutes earlier. As I told you in the first Nepal post, Holly and I have had an interest in the EBC trek for several years, but never really believed that it could happen.

Because normal people don’t just do that, right?

Wrong. I’m a believer in the concept that the Big Man puts us in certain places at certain times and it’s up to us to recognize the opportunities and act on them. There are no coincidences. For reasons yet unknown, I was meant to step into that little red Nissan.

After Dawa had driven away after dropping me off at my truck, I had immediately called Holly. I believe my first words were, “You won’t believe who I just got a Lyft ride from.” Just to meet a Sherpa — an ethnic Nepali group with near superhuman physical abilities at incredible altitudes — was amazing. To meet one right here in Nashville, Tennessee, was bordering on absurdity. Here was our chance to find out what the Everest Base Camp trek was really like from the most credible source.

So three days later, on a Sunday afternoon, Holly and I met Dawa at the Starbucks inside a West Nashville Target store, the natural place to meet with a Sherpa. Holly, of course, was enchanted immediately by Dawa’s cheerful personality, lilting accent, and quick smile. After exchanging pleasantries, Dawa dropped yet another bomb.

“I didn’t have time to explain this during our ride,” Dawa began, ” but I know much more about trekking to Everest Base Camp than you realize. I am actually a co-owner of a trekking company. My partner is in Nepal.”

Holly and I just looked at each other and then back at Dawa, speechless.

“I spend part of my year here in Nashville and part back home guiding trips,” he continued. “It’s what I do.”

For the next hour, we sipped our macchiatos and peppered Dawa with questions. How cold would it be? How much is the international flight? What’s the food like? Would we be camping or staying in tea houses? What are tea houses? What kind of physical conditioning is required? How bad are the bathrooms? When is the best time of year to go?

As the minutes passed, Dawa fielded our questions and a plan began to come into focus. We will recruit at least five or six friends to join us. Dawa will guide us himself. We will start in his home village, meet his family, and follow many trails known only to the local Sherpas. The trek itself will last close to 18 days. It will be the most life-changing, mind-blowing experience ever.

When we left Target, we had a target date: May 2018. Somehow, some way, we will make this adventure happen.

We pointed our minivan toward Kingston Springs and into unchartered territory.

(Continued: Nashville to Nepal Vol. 3: The Company)

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