30 Apr From Chiang Mai to Nepal, if you don’t hear from us for a while…
So, it happened. This week we said a very sad goodbye to our life in Chiang Mai. Two days and three delayed flights later we arrived in Nepal’s dusty, chaotic capital city, Kathmandu. Even though our lives are more transient than the average person’s, I still find change hard, especially when I’m moving on from a place that I love. So, on the first night in this strange new city, I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a few homesick tears for Chiang Mai.
Kathmandu and preparing for Everest Base Camp
Kathmandu has been a severe jolt back into travel mode. As I write this we’re sat in our sketchy hotel room surrounded by mountains of trekking gear; piles of socks and cereal bars, baby wipes and waterproof trousers, thick rented sleeping bags and down jackets. How we’re going to carry all this up to Everest Base Camp, I have no idea. As always, I over prepared in Chiang Mai by stocking up on painkillers and plasters, chocolate and toilet rolls, but I still feel ill-equipped for the trek, which begins tomorrow with a flight to Lukla, one of the most dangerous airstrips in the world.
Yesterday, covering our faces with buffs to ward off the dust, we ventured through the higgledy piggledy streets of Kathmandu trying not to get run over by bikes and rickshaws, to visit our friends the Normans Running Wild, who have just returned from Everest Base Camp. Despite being chased by yaks and suffering from aches, pains, and the ‘Khumbu Cough’, they managed an incredible 30 days of trekking and had plenty of invaluable advice, second-hand gear and inspirational tales to share with us.
As lightning pierced the sky and fat, cold rain drops soaked us, we headed together to a tiny Indian restaurant in Thamel, the backpacker area of the city. Over masala dosas, thali and hot lemon tea we talked about future travel plans and reminisced about our old lives in Chiang Mai, a city we all love. I’m still finding it hard to believe that our time in Thailand is actually over, our beautiful apartment is no longer ours and we won’t be returning anytime soon.
Chiang Mai to Nepal, what we achieved
It’s tempting to dwell on the things we never got around to doing in Chiang Mai, but Instead, I’m trying to remember all the things we achieved there. We got married, built a home and established a life full of little routines and daily pleasures. We woke up to mountain views, worked at our desks, went swimming and to yoga class, ate at our favourite restaurants and spent many evenings on the sofa watching TV. We made new friends, visited temples, fell in love with our local area Nimman and celebrated the Yi Peng lantern festival and Songkran.
Chiang Mai was also the perfect base to plug away at our digital nomad goals. We started from scratch and worked incredibly long, hard hours but I’m proud to say that we made a decent living through freelance work and online teaching, enough to put money back into our savings account and prove to ourselves that we can continue working remotely while exploring the world. We also worked on our blog, made lots of videos and finally published our teaching in Vietnam e-book.
Living in Chiang Mai allowed us easy access to explore the lush northern Thai landscape and we rented a car to visit tea plantations in Mae Salong and drive the Mae Hong Son Loop after Christmas. We also travelled further afield and had some beach time down south on Koh Lanta, where we enjoyed sunsets, dog walks and snorkelling trips. Visa runs also took us back to our old home in Hanoi and to Penang in Malaysia, a city filled with history, unique street art and tasty food.
Onwards to Everest
We could hardly have chosen a more startling contrast to our comfy life in Chiang Mai than a trek through the Himalayas. Instead of working on our laptops, the days ahead will be filled with nothing but walking. We’ll be carrying all of our gear, staying in $1 tea houses, facing altitudes of over 5,000 metres and shivering in sub-zero temperatures. I’m sure it’s going to be a journey full of extremes, blisters and tears but I know it’ll also be an incredible adventure filled with mountain peaks and new experiences.
I won’t be posting again until we get back to Kathmandu but I’m looking forward to sharing our adventure with you when we return. Wish us luck and as always, thanks for following our journey.
Read more about our trek to Everest Base Camp in these posts (we made it there and back!):
To Everest Base Camp and back – we made it!
At the mercy of the mountains, challenges of hiking to Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp packing list
Our Everest Base Camp itinerary
How much did our Everest Base Camp trek cost?
ElliePosted at 10:31h, 30 April
Good luck Amy! Cannot wait to hear all about it x
AmyPosted at 09:00h, 03 May
Thanks so much Ellie, so far so good!
PattiPosted at 18:08h, 30 April
Safe travels and trekking! I think culture shock can happen no matter where we are in the world. We feel comfortable in one place and then throw ourselves into another.
I will definitely pin your How to Teach English book and share it as much as I can.
AmyPosted at 09:01h, 03 May
Thanks so much Patti, we appreciate the share and luck – I think we’ll need it! Good luck with your new exciting adventure too!
Dennis T.Posted at 12:12h, 01 May
I wish the best of luck to both of you. The trek does not look easy from where I sit. I have been following you since our two month stay in Chiang Mai back in Oct./Nov. of 2016. We are nomads that follow you and Andrew for inspiration and new adventure ideas. I’m looking forward to your future post of the trek and Kathmandu.
AmyPosted at 09:02h, 03 May
Hi Dennis, thanks so much for reading and following our journey. We will share all our Nepal adventures with you 🙂
Gilda BaxterPosted at 16:04h, 01 May
I can fully understand how hard it must have been to say goodbye to Chiang Mai, you were able to create a lovely home there. I have enjoyed living there vicariously through your inspiring blog posts. Kathmandu does look like an exciting place to visit and get all kitted out for the journey. OMG you are trekking to EBC, how amazing is that? Good luck with it all….enjoy and come back safely to tell us all about it?
AmyPosted at 09:04h, 03 May
Thanks Gilda, I think we’ll always be a little homesick for Chiang Mai but we are now totally absorbed in our new adventure. As always, thanks for following along. Here’s hoping we make it to base camp!
RhondaPosted at 18:04h, 01 May
Good luck you two! I’m sure you may not read this for a month but we’ll be thinking of you and looking forward to enjoying the tales from the hike!
AmyPosted at 09:05h, 03 May
Thanks so much Rhonda, I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of the toughest travel experiences we’ve faced, but also one of the most rewarding!
KristenPosted at 20:21h, 01 May
Good luck! I am so excited to hear how it goes. I want to do this so badly but the altitude scares me!
AmyPosted at 09:07h, 03 May
Thanks Kristen! We’ll post all about it and hopefully set your mind at rest. The altitude is a serious business but at the same time if you go slow and are careful it should be fine. I’ll let you know how we fare!
Louisa KlimentosPosted at 23:42h, 01 May
I can’t wait to follow your adventures in Nepal.I know people who done the trek and even a British mountainere that i met in the Blue mountains actually climbed Mount Everest and he said to me that climbing Mount Everest gave the feeling of being close to heaven.Please enjoy your adventure ,love louisa
AmyPosted at 09:11h, 03 May
Wow, it must have been incredible to meet someone who had scaled Everest! The trek to base camp is proving tough enough at the moment!
Victoria @The British BerlinerPosted at 12:24h, 02 May
Good luck guys.
It’s going to be a hard slog, but you’re going to love it all at the end! 😀
AmyPosted at 09:12h, 03 May
Yep, I’m sure you’re right Victoria, it’s definitely proving tough at the moment but the incredible views make up for that 🙂
Finding BeyondPosted at 16:09h, 09 May
You guys should be so proud of what you accomplished in Chiang Mai. You worked so hard and got so much done. It is hard to leave and always takes a while to adjust but it still worth it in the long run.
Great news you’ve published your Ebook aswell ? All the hard work has paid off.
I hope you saved some chocolate as a reward after everest. Stay safe and can’t wait to hear all about it. Xxx
AndrewPosted at 11:51h, 16 May
Thanks Guys, we are happy with what we accomplished and now that we’re back in Kathmandu we’re pleased to say we made it to Everest Base Camp (and celebrated with a Snickers!) x
DonnaPosted at 21:17h, 12 May
Everest! How exciting. Best of luck to you both, and I look forward to pictures on your return.
AndrewPosted at 11:49h, 16 May
Thanks Donna! It was definitely an adventure, that’s for sure! We’re back in Kathmandu now and will be updating the blog with news and pictures soon 🙂