So often it’s our first travel experiences that we remember most fondly and it is no exception for Margy Stevenson. Her overlanding adventures as a young woman may now be worlds away from her daily routine, but wow, what an incredible journey to look back on…
“The year was 1971, the place was Kathmandu, it was January 24th and it was my 18th birthday. Of all the fantastic places to be in at that time. Nepal had only been open to the rest of the world since about 1953 – the year I was born.
The early seventies were a time when young people were adventuring and trekking, and there was a worldwide phenomenon of an unprecedented number of travellers overlanding to Nepal in the search of finding ‘answers’ – almost like a pilgrimage. The Beatles were setting an example with their experiences with their guru – the Mahareshi – in India. It was the time of peace, love and flower power – of questioning values and lifestyles and life choices, of psychedelic experiences.
My birthday lunch was held at a really quirky place called Aunt Jane’s. It was a very small cafe upstairs in a typical Nepali building opposite Mt Makalu Hotel and just around the corner from The Temple of the Living Goddess. After climbing the narrow internal stairs my small group of fellow travellers were greeted by Aunt Jane. She was the wife of a member of the United Nations and she had identified a need for young travellers to have somewhere to go that was like “home” when they were so far away from home.
She was an American lady and all I can remember now is the warmth and love that was evident in the way she interacted with everyone there, there was always a hug at the ready, a kind word and some genuine homestyle cooking that you did not have to worry if it was going to upset your tummy!
The menu there consisted of such favourites as Chocolate Cake, Milkshakes and Apple Pie. It was soooooo good to to feel in familiar surrounds when I was so far from home and especially on my birthday. Any homesickness that I might have been feeling disappeared as soon as I walked into Aunt Jane’s.
I have often revisited Nepal in my dreams over the years as I have been raising my four sons, doing all the things a mum needs to do to ensure that the family’s needs are met and that everyone is happy and healthy – feeding/school/sports/exams/washing/cooking/cleaning/chauffeuring/working/paying
bills etc. etc. Not much time for anything but the family. I never dreamt that there would ever be the possibility of going back to Nepal or India once I had my family, as they have been my reason for living for the past 30 years – but I would love to go back there (40+ years later) to see Kathmandu again!”
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* photo by Ley Sim How – Intrepid Photography Competition