Some days when I open my front door and breathe in the morning air, some scent triggers the nostalgic region of my brain, and I swoon a little.
It’s something sweet and pungent, like the smoke from juniper branches burnt every morning in Himalayan households.
Outside their front doors, branches burn in large urns, an offering to God.
Of all the wildness I’ve witnessed this past year, nothing has stirred such a frenzy of drums in my heart as Namche Bazaar, Nepal.
Every morning, I’d watch the sun crest over the ridge from my 12,000-foot vantage point, inhaling crisp, pure juniper air.
My vision of heaven was transformed. It now includes swaths of shape-shifting clouds and low-tone drum beats. There are yak bells clinking, Sanskrit chants, and a warm welcoming committee in the tightly knit streets.
I left a piece of my heart – the back burner of my mind – in Namche Bazaar.
Yak bells. Usually adorning their bovine necks, these ones are for sale to tourists.
A baby calf (not a yak), but still insanely adorable.
The Everest View Hotel. Behind me, the world’s most stunning view. See the valley fading into the far left? That’s where we trekked from.
My trusty, glorious Keens.
Trekker Survival Kit. Tiger Balm, Snickers ($1-5, depending on the altitude), leather journal, philosophical travel book, SPF 50+ sunscreen. Oh, and one battered deck of playing cards.
My goal is to return to this place and trek with as many friends and family as I can humanly persuade.