I am in the midst of trekking the Annapurna region of Nepal. Much like the Everest region, this extended hike includes a lot of up-and-down climbs; bone-chillingly cold nights in a sleeping bag in local lodges; and the most awe-inspiring views. Female vanity and daily showers are in the rearview mirror at this point. If only my swanky city friends could see me now — they might back away in disgust, as I’m sure I smell a combination of earth, sweat and donkey manure.
While my trekking companions are two spunky twenty-year-olds from Australia, I’ve been gravitating toward a family from Brisbane that has been on the trail alongside us, staying in the same local lodges. They are a family of four: father, mother, 10-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy. The father is an outdoor education instructor, and the mother is a speech therapist. They are extremely progressive parents, especially by American standards, as they’ve opted to spend three weeks of their summer holiday trekking Nepal to give their children a rich, worldly experience — to show them a people and lifestyle very different from their own. They’ve openly told me that they don’t have much money, but feel strongly that it’s important to invest it in opportunities such as this.
I very much want a family of my own — one like this one. I like to think that I’d carry similar values as this mother and father, and pass those on to my children. I’d certainly want to exposure my children to parts of the world unlike the privilege under which they’d be raised. The best “classroom” is outside of the classroom, after all.
The mother and daughter have been particularly sweet to watch. They make up little games and sing silly songs to get through the toughest parts of the trek. I slowed down my pace a bit so I could linger behind them and be a silent observer to this special bond. It’s scenarios such as this when my heart aches for a daughter of my own.
These parents from Brisbane know my story — as you get close quickly while trekking. The mother asked me if I would go back to my job when I got back to America. I paused and told her that I really hoped to stay in travel media and journalistic storytelling, in some capacity, but also want to stay open to opportunities that might arise on this path. I also confessed to her that what I really wanted was what she had: a family. I started tearing up a bit at this point. She gave me a warm, knowing smile and said, “Oh, you will. You will.”
I hope that she’s right. I’m putting the intention out there. It all starts with an intention and vocalizing it with a sincere heart. That’s how I found myself in Nepal, after all.