Four months into a year long backpacking trip, which turned out to be thirteen months when we didn’t have enough time to go to Myanmar and couldn’t imagine not going, I was in Nepal. I was there with a partner of mine who I imagined, rightly or wrongly, would be my wife, and the mother of my child. I knew she wanted that as well on some level, and so did I, yet on other levels both of us didn’t. It was a silent agreement, we hadn’t explored. There’s an old paradigm of relationship that encourages silence around difficulty, and rightly so if you’re going to approach these things in fear, scarcity. Until I learned to start approaching conflict in love, and I say start very intentionally because I don’t believe I will ever become perfect with this, silence was the best option.
I’ll set the setting, I was in Pokhara, Nepal’s second city which serves a lot of the tourism for hikers to stock up, and prepare for the trekking routes around the Annapurna Circuit. Annapurna I is one of the highest mountains in the world, above 8,000m. There are passes on the circuit above 5,000m, altitude sickness kicks in for some around 3,000m. It’s a challenge, it’s a greater challenge than most things, but it’s not insurmountable, there are people who I know who have done it, and there are people who have done way harder. It takes a certain level of psychological strength to deal with the uncertainty of that though. There’s people sitting around in the cafes in Pokhara who have been on these routes, you can see it in their candid behaviour, a kind of relieved and successful type of energy, people like me would seek out people like them just to receive reassurances about the trail: “What’s it like, what can I expect?”
My anxious mind created more torment for me than anything on the trail. We’ll get to that.
I wanted to be carried through these scenarios, I wanted someone to reassure me. However, I was always searching for the reassurance that I should have been giving to myself. Anyway life is often a mystery, all we can do is show up and try to assess and integrate the knowledge that’s around us, in the best way we can do that — to the best of our ability. Responsibility, the ability for us to respond within the boundaries of our own knowledge and personal experience. Assurance comes from within.
My partner at the time had booked a beautiful spot outside of the city, and I was secretly a little disappointed, or perhaps not so secretly…