Why Did I Choose To Trek In Nepal?


Did I love to trek in Nepal?Choosing to Trek in Nepal” first published on January 27, 2017 at Mountain Travel Sobek.

I admit it. I am worrier. I might be addicted to worrying. I am certain there is a seat for me in Worriers Anonymous. I am worried that I am not strong enough, young enough, or interested enough to trek in Nepal. And I have already done it twice.

When I read the description of the MTS trip Nepal: Annapurna Sanctuary Trek I realize that is basically one of the two eight-day treks I accomplished carrying all my own gear, no sherpa. But I read it and I think, I could not do that. I did not believe it then which is why on my first long trip to Asia (eleven months), I did not go to Nepal. I was too afraid.

Before I spent three months in Nepal during my second backpacking adventure (18 months), I could not even understand trekking—what is trekking? Every time I thought about a trip to Nepal, I realized I felt too stupid to even ask questions. Everyone else seemed to know what trekking meant and they were confident they could hike for five or six hours. Sometimes I felt like I did not want to walk for five or six blocks. How could I commit to such a treacherous choice? I was scared.

On the road, I met a female traveler who went on this mysterious trekking. I talked to her about the gear I would need and my concerns that I was not capable. She looked at me and said, “You are already a backpacker. You will not need to carry more than you have now. You just need different things.” She told me that depending on the season, I could even hike in sneakers. I felt calmer. She did it. Maybe I could do it.

In India, I met someone who had lived in Nepal and arranged treks. He explained that the footwear choice did not have to make me crazy. I could hike indeed hike in the sneakers that I had with me and I did not need to have nightmares about blisters. During a three-day hike in Israel in high school, I had experienced the trifecta of blisters, dehydration and throwing up. I was worried about a re-match.

He said that I would need to rent a down sleeping bag and hiking pole and buy a down jacket in Katmandu. There are many places to rent gear and the prices for long underwear, gloves and jackets was reasonable. I was warming up to the idea of trekking. He also explained about the accommodation.

I had misunderstood that trekking in Nepal was like the hiking I knew in Yosemite. We would not need to carry all the food, water and gear for both cooking and sleeping. I thought we had to carry everything including tents and pots and pans.

For a trek in Nepal, you can buy food and water along the way and at the guesthouses. To trek to Everest, one might need all those things but a team of sherpas and trained leaders would outfit that level of experience and that was not where I would be going anyway.

My team of Olympic level worries had led me astray on what the experience would be like. I was so concerned about blisters, pots and pans and dramas that I never focused on the incredible beauty of the location.

When I first arrived in Nepal, I fell in love with it. The people are so warm and friendly although they did look at me funny when I ordered my momo (meat wrapped in dough like a chinese bao) in Nepalese. I tried to say I wanted chicken momo but I said the wrong word and accidentally ordered dog momo. They were horrified because they do not eat dog. Me either! (Chicken: Cikana, Dog: Kukura)

Other than my linguistic challenges, my trip was fantastic. It is true that you walk into shape on a trek. No matter how much you train before you go, the altitude does take some getting used to. After a day or two, I felt like my backpack was part of me and I belonged on the trail.

I had left some of my gear in a guesthouse and only had with me the layers I needed for the trek (and plenty of extra socks and bandaids which I did not need!). Many of the people I met along the way had also left things at their guesthouses. The expedition leaders helped people figure out what they needed. I realized I did not need to know how to do everything in advance. It was not a test. There were no grades. Trekking is not a race. It is about being outdoors and listening to the sounds, meeting the people and being amazed by our world around us.

When I reached the ridge and was able to commune with the mountains and see the incredible views, I felt at peace. I did it. I overcame my fears and walked myself to the top. I sat alone and took deep breaths. I knew then that I could do anything. I just had to decide to start one step at a time.

Article by Lisa Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 100+ countries and is the creator of the popular website We Said Go Travel, a top 100 travel blog that reaches more than 200,000 annually. She is a published author of a memoir, Traveling in Sin, and is a regular contributor for USA Today, Wharton Business Magazine, Yahoo Travel, The Huffington Post, the Jewish Journal, and National Geographic, sharing stories of culture and meaning.


Mountain Travel Sobek has been leading adventures in Nepal since 1969! Join us on our popular Everest Lodge to Lodge, Annapurna Lodge to Lodge and Everest Base Camp trips, among many others.

Why did I choose to trek in Nepal?

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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