It’s funny how it’s hardest to write about my favorite country, Nepal.
While the word itself conjures memories of the times I spent visiting the many, mostly terracota-colored stupas; staring at the omnipresent Himalayan mountain from the roof garden of the hotel I stayed in; and heeding the call of meditation bells and singing bowls that were being sold left and right on the streets, these seem superficial compared to the feeling I had the moment I became conscious that I was actually there—a feeling that had stayed with me since and I suspect, will remain with me forever.
See, going to Kathmandu is a dream I never thought I had until it was realized. It’s one of those South East Asian countries I had to visit so I could say I got to see the entire region. Just an afterthought, a check on my list, another like on my Facebook account. I didn’t think it would change me at all. For one, I stopped taking too many pictures realizing that the less I see things through a hole, the more things become clearer and real.
People say that traveling to a strange land is…all about living in the moment. For a Filipino like me, that would be savoring the wonderment of, say, seeing snow or hearing chants or tasting Momo—all of which I experienced like a child in Nepal and ones that were recorded instantly in my head. Sure, I was conscious of being conscious at every turn which to many travelers, is already worth every penny spent on a trip. What more do you want, right? Well, in Nepal, you just get that: More, and without even asking for it.
But while I had set out to write about these things here, well, here I am just saying them in passing.
Because Kathmandu is not a place but a feeling.
It’s staring into the eyes of the Boudhanath at sunrise and realizing that you can make a fresh start in your life every single day if only you’d choose to do it. It’s getting lost inside Bakthapur and not worrying at all, confident that someone will show you the way, anyway, all in good time.
It’s talking to the pigeons that zealously guard the temples and the gods, and laughing out loud—not because it’s silly but because you’ve regained your voice and you’re hearing it again for the first time in a long time.
Kathmandu is sleeping without locking your door or closing your windows because you know that even in the middle of the night, only kindness and goodness and magic would come.
Am I making sense? I hope for my own good that I’m not.
Because I’d like to go back to Nepal one day and try hard not to figure it out over a mug of Rakhsi.