Oh, magical, beautiful, chilled out Pokhara…. Even the bus ride here is incredible. The eight hour  journey, though precarious and winding, was soothingly bumpy, and when it didn’t lull me to sleep, gave me a chance to see spectacular scenery and observe the lifestyle of the mountain villagers. Every photo opportunity was like something from a National Geographic cover – hens, goats, fruit sellers, water tanks, corrugated tin roofs, women carrying buckets, children bathing outside, old women in traditional clothing carrying loads of sticks across their backs, people making clay pots on the side of the road…

Pokhara has a hippie/ boho seaside vibe that I adore and the night life is really cool. Bars are plentiful and varied. As well as a jazz & pizza bar and numerous shisha bars, I found a rock bar with cocktails and a pool table, so the tastes of the group were well catered for.  It helped me get into the spirit of this hostelling/ socialising with strangers lark that I’d set upon.

We started with a boat ride on Phewa Lake to the temple. This was beautiful and calming, and paddling those cute, colourful canoes in stunning surroundings seems like one of the nicest jobs you could ever wish to have. The temple itself, with the bells ringing, incense burning, birds chirping, lake water lapping, cool gentle breeze and sun shine on your skin is a completely mindful sensational experience.

Nepal’s experiences get better and better, one tops another. That insanely rocky, winding road up Sarangkot to watch the sunrise, looking at the magnificent splendour of Annapurna. Really spiritually healing, and coincided with my brother, David’s anniversary.  I think of him, how he saw this same view, was he as bowled over as I was? What else did he do here? What other places did he see? I’ll never know, I can’t ask him, but I can share this… The sun is lighting the snow caps to a brilliant white, the valley basking in a golden hue. Humbling. Alive.

Pokhara gave me moments of clarity and release that were immensely relieving. Yes! This is the right choice. Facing fears, from the big –  finding the balls to go paragliding to commemorate David’s adventures and white knuckle, life threatening jeep rides up rocky hills with a sheer drop – to the little; new places, new people, new challenges… I need this and I can do this.

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