Day 10 of 30 Days of Indie Travel Project, from BootsnAll
Prompt #10: EARTH
“At what point in your travels have you felt most in tune with the Earth? Share a story of how you interacted with the local environment or nature.”
Moon rising over Mt. Everest
There are so many moments in life where we both go deep into ourselves, and yet feel outside ourselves, suffused in the world. Some people get that sense from hiking or climbing; some get it just by lying on the grass in a park. You can feel it at home, on a peaceful sunny afternoon in your own backyard, or you can feel it in distant lands, in the midst of cultures you don’t know and languages you don’t speak.
I’ve felt a sense of being in tune with the world at many times, but one in particular stands out.
In 2004, I got to overland through Tibet, from Lhasa to Mt. Everest Base Camp. After days of sucking the thin Himalaya air, my tour group and I were spending our last night in Tibet at the North Base Camp, 18,192 ft. above sea level.
Between the thin oxygen, the high altitude, the harsh environment and the chilly air, it was a difficult night to need to do things like breathe and keep warm. But there was one thing I’ll never forget.
Late that night, I think around 11 p.m., I’d nipped to the loo. On the way back to the tented hut where we were staying, I stopped for a while to look at Mt. Everest. In some of the most remote mountains of the world, standing 29,029 ft. above sea level, Everest is the tallest mountain in the world—and I was looking at it with my own eyes. I wasn’t looking at pictures online or in a magazine. I was standing mere miles away from the base of Mt. Everest.
And the moon was rising over the mountain.
My mind still sees it, though sometimes I wonder what the low oxygen might have done to my brain. But this is what I remember: the full moon, silver and white, rose up the slope of the world’s tallest mountain. The moon shined down on the gray-white mass of rock, and seemed nearly as big as Everest itself.
I don’t know how long I stood there. I could’ve stayed there all night, watching the moon and the mountain. Standing in the moonlight, I thought of how fortunate I was, to travel, to know where I called home, and to get to see the tallest mountain in the world. How many people in this big, big world, can say that?
And then I just stopped thinking. There was nothing to think about anymore. There was just the time to appreciate how beautiful it was. The moon rose over Mt. Everest, and I got to see it.
Since that trip, there have been so many moments of serenity in nature, of a sense of place and profoundness at the amazing world we live in. But that night, barely able to breathe, freezing my arse off in the Himalayan chill, I saw one of the most amazing sights of my life, and I’ll never forget it.
More like this: Urban Fantasy and Travel Stories from Rucksack Press »
What is the 30 days of indie travel?
Every day in November, the BootsnAll Travel Network is inviting bloggers from around the world to a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year (or whenever) have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as we like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on our own blogs. More information: Join the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project »