When the quake struck Nepal on 25 April this year, we reached out to our travellers for help. Our target was $40,000. A pretty serious amount of money, but within 6 hours we were well past it. After a few weeks we were sitting at $300,000, with another $100,000 chipped in from Intrepid itself.
Menhir, wild boar, magic potion, Unhygenix, Dogmatix. Sound familiar? Probably because you speak the language of the Gauls and of those mustachioed Roman fighters, Asterix and Obelix.
Travelling along the Trans-Mongolian railway was never a dream of mine. But then I stopped and thought about the enormity of it all for a minute.
On 25 April 2015, Tony Hill was mid-way through an Intrepid Nepal trip – some 2000ft above Namche Bazaar – when the earthquake struck. All of a sudden Tony, who by his own admission is “not particularly well-travelled” and his companions found themselves deep inside a disaster zone.
In the western world, we grow up with a few pearls of apron-string wisdom that get passed down through the generations. A friend in need is a friend in deed. One swallow doesn’t make a summer. Don’t run with scissors you’ll have someone’s eye out, seriously put them down now. That sort of thing.
When you’re a kid, everything is an adventure. A pavement is a runway; your arms the wings of a Boeing-747; your mouth and lips the noisey, spluttering engine. You can make magnificent medieval castles out of sheets and you can fight off any danger with your fabled Blade of Mercy (so long as mum’s not using it to mash potatoes).
A couple of years ago, my girlfriend and I were hostelling our way through central Europe. We’d made it to Berlin, which is a little like those crossroads in movies, the ones with a dozen signs pointing in every possible direction.
With eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains in its borders, it’s not a big surprise most travellers visit Nepal for the trekking. Flying into Kathmandu you’ll find dozens of adventurous looking groups about to set off into the snow-capped wilds of the Himalayas, usually carbo-loading on their second plate of momos.
It’s the choice facing every Nepalese adventurer: Annapurna vs Everest. Whose scene reigns supreme? We’ve got the definitive guide.