Around the time I was in Hong Kong, I had updated my TravBuddy.com profile to reflect my plans to trek in Nepal in April. It was the first time I’ve tried to arrange to meet up with someone for the purpose of traveling together. I didn’t have to try too hard because I soon received a message from Gela (pronounced “gay-lah”), a Dutch woman planning to visit Nepal at the same time as me. Over the next month or so, we exchanged emails every few days. She would be arriving in Nepal before me to volunteer in a village outside of Pokhara.
On my flight to Kathmandu, one of the Kiwis sitting next to me made a joke about the idea of planning a trek around someone you’ve never met. I responded that it felt like an adventure within an adventure. For some reason, the idea that Gela and I would not get along never occurred to me. I just assumed that we were both the kind of person who liked the idea of having someone to meet up with in advance. Through e-mail, we had also ensured our interests and priorities surrounding the trek were similar.
We bumped into each other on the sidewalk in Pokhara a few hours before we were due to rendezvous at the Moonlight restaurant for dinner. It felt great to finally connect with the person I’d be trekking with for 10 days. We walked down to the lake’s edge as she hadn’t yet seen the view yet. Once there, we sat on the concrete steps and began to get to know each other.
After our butts began to tire, we spoke to three travel agencies about hiring a guide and porter. The prices for an 11-day Annapurna Sanctuary trek were all about the same. I was happy we ran into Rob and Rosie at Moondance, though they left soon after for their night bus back to Kathmandu. Gela and I discussed our options for the trek, and settled on hiring the guide/porter through The Mountain Guest House where she was staying. It would cost me about $32/day, which included the cost of accommodation, 3 meals/day, and transportation to/from Pokhara.