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Ok, so ya know I climbed a lot of mountains to get to a really famous mountain, and I nearly died, and blah blah blah–BORING! Let's get to the men, and the ACTION!
Day One–Group Briefing...
Something about we might need to be choppered out and oxygen… but I’m highly distracted; there are two really cute Irish boys in the group, and our trekking guide, although short, is a sweet little nugget of Nepali GOLD. But it's the Irish banter that’s getting to me. Kieran doesn’t shut up, and I can’t stop laughing. He’s ok-looking, and gets more attractive with every gag. Ryan, on the other hand, is a great bouncer for Kieran’s wit, but just isn’t doing it for me; he’s probably wanting to settle down and find a wife or something–YUK. Maybe after 12 days in the ‘Layas’ (that's short for Himalayas guys) he’ll become appealing. It gets cold up there…
Anyway, group dinner, and Kieran says, "My parents are in Brisbane,” and I say, “Really, your parents live in Australia?” And he says... “NO, I said my partner, and she’s in Brisbane for Christmas.” Ah shit. He has a partner. I misheard his stupid Irish accent, which I now hate, because he’s taken, and I can’t have any fun.
Ok so we head off. You don’t want to know about the flight to Lukla where you land on a strip smaller than my little finger, and hit the breaks before crashing into the mountain face… You want to know who I grabbed when I closed my eyes in fear. Well, no one, I'm an independent woman, and I don’t need no… "OH, RYAN, IT'S JUST SO AWFUL... WE MIGHT DIE... HOLD ME NOW!" God, we’re not even on the mountain, and I’m already a damsel in distress with the lesser attractive Irishman. I don’t feel weird afterwards, everyone said their prayers as we landed, we never speak of that flight again. Ever.
Trekking time. Long story short… we go from clean and energetic little buddies, to wrinkled, bearded men with stone cold eyes after the "THINGS WE”VE SEEN," and become family, after all we’ve been through together. Within the next 48 hours, shit got real. I’m not looking at the Irishmen in that way anymore. I’m looking at them to see who has better gloves, and if I can swap my gloves for my 20 protein bars (that are giving everyone the runs, but they haven’t worked it out yet!) to sweeten the deal. Ryan to the rescue again. The biggest baddest gloves I’ve ever seen—my hands have their own sleeping bags. Naw cute, he’s my hero…
But there is no thinking of "funny business" or dates… we just have to make it to base camp, and get down again before we die from the cold, or the altitude. No one wants to get together when you can’t eat, sleep, or breathe. We just march, and regularly forget the pain when we look up from the rubble, and see the skyline—insanely amazing. Is it even from this world? I can’t believe I’m here… game changer moments, ok so we are bonding… over this amazing place, and the challenges we face together. But still, I haven’t washed in over a week so…
Finally, physical contact… we reach base camp, and we all hug the shit out of each other, fist pump, chest pump, have a cup of tea, cry… whatever. I thank Ryan for his gloves that saved my hands… wondering if he’ll get any use out of my hands when we get down from the Layas… (back rubs! You guys have your minds in the gutter again!)
Next four days we come down, and it's so firkin cold, but at least we can breathe. Kieran, although taken, accidentally meets a local 14-year-old girl's parents, and sits down for a marriage discussion with them. But that's a different story… a bottle of whiskey at altitude is never a good idea! Needless to say, we had to sneak out of that village the next morning before the sun came up…
Amazing scenery, BLAH BLAH, we reach Lukla, the place where planes fly at mountains to frighten tourists. It's NYE. We’ve finished the Trek on NYE. This could be big. We start at three PM… at a Scottish Bar in town. A lot of Nepali working men come into the pub. I get asked to dance a lot, so I leave… and we go back to the hotel for dinner, and then the drinking and games begin.
I’m drinking straight vodka with some warm water… it's actually good, because it's still firkin cold! We play some Irish drinking games, we get told to shut up, we drink some more, and turn the music up, we have a group hug that goes for ten minutes, and we all tell each other we love each other… We get told to be quiet, because APPARENTLY it's not the new year for the Nepali people, and the rest of the establishment wants to sleep, we get rowdy, and drink some more…. Then we REALLY get kicked out, and retreat to the Irishmen's room, all six of us who are left... A room with two dorm beds, and some room for feet. It get weird in there. We shaved a guy, and liberated a lot of leftover trekking food. There was a mysterious white powder all over the floor. Sorry Coke fans, I think it was baby powder, but regardless, we’ve all been into it.
After being very respectful of Kieran and his girlfriend in Brisbane… he proceeds to get it on with Pauline, the Malaysian girl that couldn’t get her shit together enough to even make it to Base Camp, that was 30 minutes late to every teahouse, that all the Sherpa told they were happily married so she didn’t try it on with them. OH MY GOD. I don’t know where to look, the things that are going on in that sleeping bag 30 centimetres from my face.
Well, there's me, Casey (she’s on the trip with her husband), Rob (the homeless guy we shaved), and Ryan left… I think it's about three AM. It's bedtime. I am TOEY. But I don’t want Rob. He looks different now that he’s shaved. But Casey is sitting between Ryan and I… and then, it happens… The man that came to my rescue, and gave me his gloves… makes his move… and grabs… the married woman! WOW—I did not see that coming. The look on Casey’s face! She’s like "NOOOOOO, my husband is in the next room," but we can’t stop laughing, because well, we’re draannnk! Hahaha, I’m tired, and I might be TOEY, but I ain't nobody's second choice… I exit stage left, and sleep for a good two hours, despite the Kieran/Pauline loud “union" next door.
Morning… you think it would be awkward, right? It wasn’t. Perhaps what happens in the Layas, stays in the Layas? Not sure. Anyway, we all catch that flight, and take off, and drop off a cliff, before the engines seem to kick in, but we are all so hungover, and lacking in sleep that I think we’d made peace with dying.
FAST THE HELL FORWARD…
Yes, I’ve been in contact with Ryan, and my first text message was, “You grabbed the wrong girl to lay down with you NYE..." to which his response was a rather surprising, “I don’t even remember being in the room.” I guess that explains the lack of awkwardness the next day between all parties… Blind drunk. Pauline however, was not, and is still chasing Kieran for maintenance payments.
Oh well, no luck for Ryan (who now says ‘ah shit, I’m an idiot…' Seems regretful to have not got a return on his heroic glove investment, but… did I mention the sherpas we had with us... Jangbu, Ratna, Kevin, and Shevass?
Shevass still calls. ;)