Living Out of Control … How Cool is That?

The rumors were true!  A mere three weeks before our departure, we learned that China had stopped issuing visas for Tibet for September.  In the space of a week, our amazing trip leaders—Charlie and Dr. D—have delivered a new itinerary.  The Above + Beyond crew will stay in Nepal and hike in Sagarmatha National Park (see photo), a World Heritage Site since 1979.  We won’t be going to Everest, but we will be close enough to get extraordinary views of both it and Lhotse (the fourth highest mountain in the world at 27,940 ft).

The mapmaker in me couldn’t resist working out our new itinerary, so here’s my best guess at our route after the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (B on the map).  The high point (physical and metaphorical) of our journey will be the crampon and harness-assisted climb on Imja Tse (G on the map) to a summit at a tad over 20,000 feet.

A part of me is disappointed, as I was quite taken with the idea of seeing, up close and personal, the home of the Hindu Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati.  And there was something very other-worldly about treking through areas of the world that hadn’t yet made it onto Google maps.  Only a couple times, in all my travels, have I managed to be truly off the beaten path.  I found it both frightening and exhilarating … and I was looking forward to doing it again. 

On the other hand, part of what I love most about travel is experiencing how other cultures live, and this itinerary seems to take us to more Himalayan communities and give us time to get a feel for their way of life.  I suspect it has changed considerably since my visit to Nepal in 1989, particularly because a good part of our trek lies on one of the routes to the Everest base camp.  

I’d bet serious money that this is only the first of many times we will be dealing with the unexpected before we return home.  

How cool is that!


  1. Bikal Adhikari says

    Great update Mary. As I gave slight hint to you, we had been working on the best possible program. This is going to be really great I am excited and I bet all of you are too.


  2. Andy Fleming says

    I’m looking forward to trekking with you and being around your super positive outlook! This will be my first time in Asia and I’m beyond excited!

    • I’m also looking forward to meeting you and the rest of the group … it won’t be long now. And I suspect you will love Nepal … a magical place, both for the topography and the people!

  3. Great post, Mary. And great new itin, ABC. Can’t wait to get there!

  4. Michael Brick says

    How cool is that? Very cool. Mary – thanks for the map! Time to find some crampons…

  5. Thanks, Mary for the write up and map. I had sent maps to the teachers at my I get to send them another for their students to study! Awesome! Lots of learning and understanding going on at my school over what I’m doing.

  6. Nice writing Mary. Change is good…

  7. barbara lukavsky says

    Mary—So sorry to hear about the change in your trip but it sounds like you will still have great time.
    The adventures of life and adjusting to the changes, is what keeps you young… luv—Barb

    • Barbara … I’m disappointed, but only sort of. We are giving up an intentionally spiritual journey to a holy site, but are gaining much more direct contact with the people and culture of Nepal … so will experience Hinduism and Buddhism from a different perspective.

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