Nepal: Escape to the Top of the World

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Despite the fact that I’ve absolutely loved my experiences as a third-year medical student, the hours on the wards mixed with the demands of studying — while constantly trying to learn, impress and care for others in ever-changing environments — can take its toll.

One night this summer, I found myself at my kitchen table after a particularly long call day, thinking, “I need to get as far away from all of this as possible.”

The world’s highest mountain, on the opposite side of the globe, was the best I could come up with, so by the next evening, I had booked a trip to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

After nonstop work and studying since January, simply sitting on that plane to Nepal at the beginning of October felt downright indulgent.

Unfortunately, weather kept thousands of eager explorers — including myself — from the Everest region this fall (climate change is no joke, friends!).

So instead, I embarked on a 10-day trek through the Annapurna region of Nepal, traversing lush green forests, hillside rice fields and glacial waterfalls, dipping into hot springs and frigid rapids and finally ascending to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), where snow-capped peaks reigned in majesty against a clear azure sky.

Standing at ABC, I felt as free and far from San Francisco as I had desired on that cold, dreary, post-call summer night at my kitchen table. Well, until I got called away from my moment of peace to help take care of a sick Sherpa.

And in that role, thousands of miles away and on the top of the world, I somehow felt at home.