So I am sitting in a café in Pokhara, Nepal. I am surrounded by the mountains rising out of the horizon, the snowcaps poking up into the sky, so much clearer than they were in the big city. There is a lake here, and trees (!), and everything is slower. Slower and cleaner. It is such a contrast to Kathmandu, where the roads are fast and dirty, where the air is never clean and everywhere you go is crowded with people. People on bikes, in cabs, trying to sell you things or trying to get money. Of course there is some of that here, but much less. All to a smaller degree.
It is an odd thing, leaving a place. It is hard to remember how long you have been somewhere, how much you can grow attached to it, until you leave. I was actually pretty sad leaving Kathmandu: not that I didn’t think that it would be a sad thing to go, but I did not expect to actually feel it. I will be coming back, in the spring, albeit for a shorter period of time.
It was sad leaving the little alley off which I live. It was sad, passing the vegetable market for the last time, dark still in the early dawn with the street dogs asleep in the middle, where all of the sellers would set up their stalls later in the day. It was sad, too, catching the early morning micro bus, still half empty, filled with school kids making their way to college, and men sitting with bags of things to sell on the streets that day. I got so used to my routine, to seeing these simple things every day, that I forgot that it might be sad when I had to see them or sit with them a last time.
My last day at my NGO was also incredibly sweet. They had a little going away thing for me, said a few words and gave me a plaque to take home to remember them by! We took a lot of pictures with it, and had a dance party with the children. My friend, Stephen, got here last Friday (we will be traveling together for the next few months), so he came, too, to the NGO, and got to meet all the children. They sang their welcome song to him, they danced with him, and when all that was done we sat and watched them singing their evening prayers, and ate daal bhaat. It was a good last day. Sweet, and wonderful to get to share with a friend from home.
And now I am on the road! I have my frame pack, my backpack, my camera and my ukulele. All the essentials for being on the road. The next few months will bring many new countries, sites, people and foods. It is a different thing, being on the road. I wont be able to go back to my apartment every night, to the same things, see the same people, follow the same schedule. The things that I do will change every day, and the places that I am and the people that I meet will change every day, too.
So it is a different type of traveling. A more exciting one! But I will still miss my home in Kathmandu. The smells of the trash fires burning at night (which really does grow on you), the same dogs hanging around near my house and my local temple. The worn out streets and the people that walk along them and the little micro where I know the route so well. And the city that slowly became my home without me realizing it. That I will miss most of all.