I must admit that the past two years have been very tough for me. There were times when I felt like I was losing myself and hitting rock bottom. I did not give myself much time to enjoy things that I like because I was focusing more on how to be perfect. I realized that I would go crazy if I kept living my life that way, so I started to look for ways to escape my routine.

One day, I saw my friend’s Instagram Stories. He was doing Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal. I sent him a message, asking about the details of his trip. He told me that the trek was fairly easy, the foods were cheap, the sceneries were amazing, and the people were great. The positive review from my friend led me to book a flight to Nepal. To be honest, I am not a professional mountaineer, but I love mountains and that’s all I knew. I feel like mountains drive me to be me, mountains let me to enjoy myself, and mountains push me to go beyond my limit.

When I arrived in Kathmandu, I decided to spend the first two days to explore the city, taste the foods, and prepare for the trek. I was devastated to find out that the streets in the city were very dusty and not pedestrian-friendly. It made me choke on dust, so I had to wear a mask everywhere I go. The other thing that I remember the most about Kathmandu was its messy electrical wires.

Meanwhile, for the food, I tried many Nepalese foods and beverages, but only a few became my favorites: momo for the food and lassi for the beverage.

Momo is actually similar to dumpling and is usually served with a dipping sauce. There are technically two types of momo, fried and steamed.

Lassi is a dahi (yogurt)-based drink, which is a blend of yogurt, water, spices, and sometimes fruit. The Nepalis said that many people chose banana lassi, but for me, the original one was the most delicious lassi that I have ever tasted.

I also tried panipuri (the locals call it phuchka), which is a small, round, and hollow piece of bread that is fried until it is crispy and is filled with a mixture of flavored water, tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion, and chickpeas. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed eating momo and lassi. Many of their foods were too bland for me.

I continued my journey by departing to Pokhara on the third day. It took six to seven hours by bus to travel to Pokhara from Kathmandu. I was very happy to find out that the city was much cleaner than Kathmandu and was pedestrian-friendly. After dropping off my bags at the hotel, I went to the famous Phewa Lake to enjoy sunset.

I started the Annapurna Base Camp (I refer to it as ABC) trek on the fourth day. It was the beginning of the much-awaited trek. It took me eight hours to go to the first resort in Chomrong from the starting point in Siwai. On the way there, I crossed several hanging bridges—including the famous New Bridge—climbed steep stone staircases, and crossed paths with so many donkeys (they helped the locals bring food supplies up the hills). After a long walk, I took a bath with hot water (but I had to pay for it; it costs 100NPR or around Rp12,000).

The next day, I began walking at 7.30 A.M. and wished to reach the next resort in Himalaya before sunset. It was because on the fifth day, I had to go through a forest which was rumored to be haunted. Despite the not-so-great rumor, the forest was actually very enchanting and calming. This time, I crossed rivers, passed a waterfall, and climbed more stone staircases.

In the end, I arrived at the second resort at the evening, around 6.00 P.M. I reached the resort feeling unwell, and then I puked. I suffered from fever and headache and was feeling so cold. The locals told me that I had AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), which is also known as altitude sickness. They said it might happen because I was not used to being in a high altitude. After I had my dinner, I took my medicine and went to sleep, hoping that the next day I woke up in a better condition.

Fortunately, my prayer was answered. The next morning, I felt better and was optimistic about reaching the Annapurna Base Camp on the sixth day. I started my journey at 8.00 A.M. with the help of my trekking poles. After hours of walking, I was so exhausted because it was a constant climb and I was not in my best shape. However, I decided to keep walking as the views started to get so breathtaking that it completely distracted me from everything else.

However, after reaching Machhapuchhre Base Camp, my condition got worse. I puked so many times, shivered, and had severe headache. The locals at MBC advised me to stop my journey because my condition was very bad. They even told me to get emergency rescue. I was so sad but decided to do as advised. With a heavy heart, I decided to stop my journey at Machhapuchhre Base Camp (even though it is only two hours away from Annapurna Base Camp). The locals cheered me up by saying that the views at Machhapuchhre Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp were similar, and yes, I could see the top of Annapurna from Machhapuchhre Base Camp.

This trip is surely a memory that I will never forget. I wanted to give up and go back so many times. I cried (yes, I did) because it was so hard for me to keep walking. I even blamed myself for wanting to do the Annapurna Base Camp trek (even though in the end I managed to reach Machhapuchhre Base Camp), but I am happy for myself. Trekking actually has a lot to do with mental strength, and I am happy to tell you that I was able to prove to myself that I was strong enough to walk this difficult trail.

Life is, in a lot of different ways, like a long and challenging trail. As we walk this journey called life, we far too often easily give up on our dreams and hopes and are overcome by challenges, disappointment, and dejection. However, on a hiking trail, you will learn that as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you are getting somewhere. No matter how crazy or how unbelievable your dreams are, they may turn into reality if you persevere and keep walking toward it. Just one step at a time.



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