Conquering the Adventure Clothing Stores

I feel by the time I go on my mountain Climb in September, I shall have conquered the Adventure Store shopping expedition.

I will share with you soon my packing list…. It’s 2 pages and man are there a lot of things. I don’t know how I’m going to only have 15 kg!! There is too much stuff.

Gaitors? What the?

Apaprently they are like shin guard/ pant covers- they cost $100 and really… I see no point in them. I can put up with some dirt on my trousers if it means saving that much money.

The list actually intimidated me and made me feel really unprepared- which would have a grain of truth to it, but seriously, I gotta get myself ready.

My friend came with me and helped me to tick off the things I had on my list – that was about 3 out of 75… ooooh no! We tried on Boots at Paddy Pallin but I wasn;t really feeling it. Plus the extortionate process started to really irritate me.

We went to Kathmandu next, and with 60% off for the EOFYS sale made me feel more positive about the shopping experience and my bank account. I liked the boots better here but really need to try more on and get a better feel for it. I don’t know what I’m really looking for – It’s rather frustrating.

I tried on a few backpacks and questioned the need for a 35L backpack. They’re actually massive!! I really don’t think that’s necessary. I’m gonna buy the things I feel suit me more- I think this whole over prepared thing is a bit unnecessary.

I then bought my camel pack, which I’ve long desired, a polar fleece ($50 reduced from $130- score!) and a microfiber towel. I felt a bit better now that I had a few items. But many more shopping trips are needed. A discussion with mumma at home also proved to be fruitful as she has quite a few items I’m going to be needing for the trip including bed matt, and my windproof jacket!

This mountain climb is proving to be a challenge in so many ways.

I’m doing this climb for the benefit of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW:

To sponsor, click here

Nature’s Show at Nagarkot

Sunrise on a mountain top with the Himalayas glistening in the morning light behind you. Could anyone ask for a more spectacular view? At Nagarkot mountaintop just outside of Kathmandu you can see this spectacular sight.

The day starts at 4.30am in Kathmandu. Either by private tour guide, tour bus or by your own transportation (Taxi’s are relatively cheap) you can take the journey. It’s a 32Km drive east of Kathmandu, reaching the picturesque district of Bhaktapur.

A slow and steady climb up the mountain path in the darkness is an intriguing journey as you strain your eyes to see what is happening in the quiet, early morning world around you.

Reaching the top of the Mountain at approximately 6am, you have plenty of time to choose the best point for viewing. There are 3 options. The lovely little Tea house to the far left is a small and quaint little place with a stunning view of the sunrise to the east. The other option is to stand on one of the outdoor terraces of the Club Himalaya Nagarkot. The views from this lovely hotel are stunning and if you can’t stand the cold on the winter mornings, go inside for a nice hot breakfast and incredible view.

If you are looking for the complete package, you should head to the Tower view, the highest point at Nagarkot. From here there is a stunning view of the Indrawati river valley to the east. The area has an elevation of 2,195 meters, so you are sure to see all of the amazing surrounds of this valley and the villages that are nestled within the hills. The tower is a simple structure with coloured flags flowing from the tip to the ground, reminding you that you are in the Buddhist following country of Nepal. Apart from the tower, you have an unspoiled 360 degree panoramic view.

I must warn, that it’s not always sunshine and clear views. The morning I went up we unfortuantely were surrounded by a thick fog and the clouds were continuously rolling in and out obstructing our view. Despite the cloudy weather, we had glimpses of the famous Himalayas behind us and were able to sneak a peak at the tip of Everest. As the light begins to cover the area and it seemed as though the sun had risen, we began considering heading back to the restaurant. Then all of a sudden a little ball of red pops out from the clouds and for 5 minutes slowly rises to its heavenly position looking over the earth. Some will get a better view than this and be able to see clearly for miles around, others won’t even get to see the suns glory. On that day though, we were lucky enough to be guests at one of Nature’s most stunning shows.

The fog quickly took over and you realise that thegrand spectacle is over. With freezing fingers and cheeks we shuffled off the mountain top and took the short drive back down to the hotel for a steaming hot buffet breakfast.

A lovely idea is to reach Nagarkot the afternoon before and this way you will get both the Sunset and the sunrise. The Club Himalya Hotel is a little piece of luxury in this natural setting with a pool, spa and spacious rooms decorated in Nepali style. There are also other hotels dotted down the hill but for the full experience, I recommend this one. It’s also possible to walk to the Tower from here.

On your way back down you will see the Nepalese Army training and it’s no wonder the Gurkha army were known as the best in the world. These guys are extremely fit. For example, running up the mountain with a fellow soldier sitting on their shoulders. Look at the picture! You have to see it to believe it.

Nagarkot is a must see when in Nepal and it can be very cheap if you drive up on the same day and come back. You can also make the most of your journey by stopping the Ancient City of Bhaktapur, one of Nepal’s 4 remaining kingdoms.

If you need a guide, contact the wonderful Shadev Panday. We met this delightful gentlemen on top of the mountain. Speaking English, Spanish and Nepali and with a deep knowledge of Nepal, he is the perfect guide.

Mob: 977 9841 348750

Sunrise is generally around 6.30am in the winter months, so make sure you are there nice and early.


Visiting the Room to Read Program, Nepal

I have nothing but admiration and praise for the wonderful team at Room to Read. Their tireless efforts to provide communities with the essential resources for learning and education should not go unnoticed. My visit to Nepal in December 2009 was greatly enriched by the opportunity to visit the head office of this organisation and a few of their successful sites in regional Nepal.

I was contacted by the Room to Read team through a shout out on a great website about my fast approaching trip to Nepal. I am so glad now that I took the chance to have a unique experience visiting the school and libraries in remote districts. I feel that there should be a lot more promotion of this simple but effective program.

The day started with a presentation on the history of the organisation, which started in Nepal in 2000, and the achievements of the program over the past decade. Room to Read was founded in Nepal by John Wood after he learned of the countries struggle to gain sufficient learning resources for the regional communities and small districts throughout Nepal. In August 2006, John Wood, released a memoir entitled Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children, which explains why he started the organisation and the passion behind making a change. ( A great read, definitely pick it up).

John Wood saw the schools just didn’t have libraries. They also didn’t have English books so his first goal was to get the books to them. Now the books are supplied in large quantities in both Nepalese and English to supply to the local market and teachers.

It was great to learn about the programs which we would see later that day and get to know the staff at the head office in Lalitpur, Nepal. There were 4 of us going to see 2 schools that day- 2 Australians and 2 Japanese women.

On the way to the regions we were able to ask our host Rishi many questions about the program and learn about the NALA district where the first school would be. We drove through beautiful rolling hills of green, saw enormous Buddha statues and temples perched on mountain tops and people in the village fields going about the daily chores. Going to visit the schools of Room to Read allowed me to see parts of Nepal that I may never have gone to without the organised trip.

Upon arrival we met the head teachers and program operators. We were then taken to see rooms in the school and children were studying in the corridors and classrooms for their mid term exams. Their sweet faces looked up with curiosity before studiously returning to the econometrics and mathematics at hand. We were guided through the computer room and educated about the village and establishment of the program. I asked a number of questions and browsed around before turning my attention to the kids. I wanted to get to know them.

I approached some of the younger looking children and began to greet them in Nepali. Shy at first, the older few quickly became confident and those who spoke English began bombarding me with questions. We then counted together in English and Nepali and posed for photos. When it was time to move on to the library room, I had 7 little friends holding my hands and skipping along with me. This is why I came. I wanted to see how the program was influencing the children and how much they were gaining from the experience.

A quick visit to see the kindergarten and grade 1 cuties working with their teacher and then on to the library. Wall to wall, it was lined with books, educational posters, atlases, encyclopaedias and stories in many languages. I was so impressed with this set up and the great experience these children would have with the wonderful world of literature.

As soon as we got inside, the kids ran and grabbed books and 14 of them were sitting around the big table reading away. We sat and read with a few of them and then the photo shoot began. We took hundreds of photos with smiling happy faces and of the children’s favourite books. We were then invited to an impromptu dance performance by 2 outgoing young ladies. Singing and dancing in the school yard for their new foreign friends. What a fantastic experience and what a joy to share it with them.

I then presented the Librarian with a poster of Australia and it’s states so that the children could have that to look at in the library as well as a colouring book with facts about Australia. The headmaster was very pleased and he also gave me permission to give gifts to the kids. I gave them Aussie stickers which they wanted on their backpacks, clipboards and faces. I was more than happy to share my Aussie souvenirs with them- including a few pencils with Australian animals decorated on them. Then of course, more photos.

Sadly we had to leave after only a short hour and head off to the next school. I went to enter the bus but was informed we would walk to the next district. WHAT! Walking to a whole new district? I did not sign on for this. But to my relief, the school was a mere 10 minute walk away and the 2 districts were neighbouring. Unfortunately this school didn’t have any children to meet as they had all gone home to study for exams. We did get to meet the kindly staff at the school and get a good look at the Nepalese Room to Read titles. The library was bright, colourful and cosy. A great space for learning.

We left around 12.30pm for the long drive back to Kathmandu and all of us were quite exhausted. The 4 of us girls were delighted by our experience and chatted away together about our new little friends. The drive back was again lovely through the fields and villages of the people of Nepal.

I’m so glad I was ableto have this experience and encourage anyone going to Nepal to contact the lovely staff, Gopini Pandey and Pushkar Lal Shreshtha, at the Room to Read Head office to make a visit. Large groups are welcome to co-ordinate a trip with the staff or if you would like to go alone or in a smaller group there is a set program of site visits.

You can also help Room to Read by contacting the head office in your own country to find out what sponsorship, fundraising and charity projects they are running on a local level.

A bit more about the program:

John Wood, Founder, Autobiography:

Room to Read, Nepal, homepage:

The program has 5 different aspects:

1. Room to Read.
The original program which has been established in 20 districts in Nepal. There are now 2000 libraries with 389 schools being built in 2007 and 394 in 2008. A further 425 were built in 2009. And the program continues to grow

2. School Room
The plan is to have these constructed within 1 year, without demolishing the old school until project is complete. The community and school must first agree to co-operate for the sustainability of the program.

3. Computer Room
35 computer labs established across Nepal which are also open for the community to use after school hours and weekends. This program is fantastic as it contributes growth to the whole community.

4. Girls Education Program
Something close to my heart. The girls are given a full scholarship and empowered through education. They are given life skills training and the child is counselled as well as the parents. Education for girls in normal schools is still quite disadvantaged due to a longstanding gender bias. There are now 1256 girls in the program receiving full scholarship. Yearly sponsorships can be made through the Room to Read website.

5. Local Language Publishing
An important program to encourage Nepalese stories and writing to further the economic development in the country. Titles are written, published and printed in Nepal. There are now 93 titles that can be purchased via the official Room to Read website.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2009 Summary

Only 8 hours left of 2009 and it’s time to reflect on the year that was. I thought 2009 would be a big one for me, but I don’t think I realised how life changing some of the events would be. When you face the year ahead you make goals, plans and set targets for yourself, having direction is a great thing. Often though, it’s the unexpected and the changes, the things we never could have foreseen that really make us.

I’m not making any really big new years resolutions. I made a list of plans and things I would ‘like to’ achieve as I feel this is a much more flexible and approachable way to look at our future. The list of resolutions can often be reflected upon at the end of the year as a list of failed attempts. We shouldn’t feel discouraged and let down if we don’t get to do everything that we set out to do. So I’m saying for 2010, give it all you got, have a blast and make mistakes, it’s the best way to learn. Most of all, enjoy! Nothing is a waste of time as long as we learn from it and at differently in the future.

These are of few of my highlights from 2009:

  • Ringing in the New Year in London and spending New Year’s Day in Mexico
  • Spending 4.5 months in Monterrey, Mexico on Student exchange
  • Losing my Grandmother and having a tattoo done as a memorial to her
  • Doing an 18 day road trip from the Cancun – Oaxaca, Mexico with 3 Aussies and a Belgian
  • Visiting the incredible Mexico City, not once, not twice but 3 times!
  • Facing a pending Pandemic (aka swine flu) and fleeing Mexico for the United states In April 2009
  • Attending the Indy 500 qualifying weekend with my Cousin Bill and big brother James, May 2009
  • Sitting on a crocodile and riding an airboat in the Everglades, Miami, USA with my new German friends
  • Visiting all 4 Disneyworld parks in Orlando as well as the 2 Universal Studios parks over a period of 2 days.
  • Attending the FAPAA 36th Consecutive Council meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, for my work in Freight Forwarding.
  • Competing in the Easter Uni Games, Australian University Sports Competition in Soccer for UTS, and getting the Wooden spoon. Bathurst, NSW, Australia
  • Attending the UTS Ski Trip in Thredbo, Australia
  • Competing in the Australian University Snow Sports Competition at Thredbo Australia.
  • Breaking my back at the Australian Snow Sports Competition. Successfully fracturing 2 vertebrae, spending 1 week in hospital and 9.5 weeks in a back brace
  • Starting my blog –
  • Attending my friend Khushboo’s wedding in Delhi, India
  • Riding an elephant in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
  • Visiting the charity based in Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Seeing the Taj Mahal for the Second time in my life. Agra, India
  • Achieving my 5 yr dream of taking a vacation to the beaches of Goa, India
  • Returning to my beloved Mumbai and learning about the great history of India
  • Making it home in time for Christmas in Australia with family and friends

What a great year! 2009 has taught me a lot. I just can’t wait to see what 2010 holds.



Today is The Global Day of Action on Climate Change, and we should all be standing up and taking notice.

With Climate Change at the top of the World agenda, it was of no surprise to find a group of youths in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square promoting the cause. The people of Nepal are proud of their famous Mountain ranges but all could be lost if things don’t start to change quickly. The young students have realised this and are standing up for their beloved natural beauties.

A group of 10 young people had set up their banner and display on one of the temple monuments in Kathmandu’s most prestigious and cultural centre of Durbar Square. In a peaceful and friendly way they were approaching passers-by to ask them to sign post cards which would be sent to the National Newspaper and the messages printed for the Prime Minister to read. The youths were shouting messages, talking to passers-by and playing gentle music. A very polite and unoffending way of raising awareness about an issue close to their heart and of National concern.

A concert is to be held all day today, 12th December 2009, in the Durbar Square in promotion of the efforts to Stop melting the Himalayas. No easy feat admittedly but the first step is awareness. The concert will again spread the word and hopefully get more people interested in the topic. The concert will be held in Basantapur.

With the Nepalese Government paing special attention to this issue in more recent times, even hosting their meeting at Everest Base Camp, changes should start to occur in Nepal. The strong focus and movement has been taken by the Nepalese representatives to the World Summit in Copenhagen and the message from Nepal is clear, they care.

Climate Change Network Nepal has initiated this campaign in order to highlight the plight og the poorest and most vulnerable communities of Nepal. This campaign is intented to raise the profile of an issue affecting the country and taking voices of the poorest and most vulnerable population int he global platform to make a sustainable deal which will benefit them.

The group is urging people of the world to stand up and take notice of this epic campaign and actively take part in making changes in our world. The message from Nepal is ‘STOP MELTING LIFE, SAVE THE HIMALAYAS’. Let’s help to spread the word and really make the change.

See Climate Change Network Nepal’s website for more information:

Natural Nepal

Here I am in the beautiful, natural and picturesque Nepal. I’m visiting friends and will only be in Nepal for a total of 10 days, sadly it’s already halfway through the trip. Time just goes too quickly when one travels. This is a quick summary of what I have been doing so far with many more detailed articles and tips to come from this interesting and dynamic country.

2nd Dec

  • Delhi- Kathmandu flight delayed 1.5 hours, arrived 9.30am.
  • Quick stop to the house I would be staying in with my friend Sundar.
  • Drive to Pokhara, approx. 5 hours. 200km from Kathmandu.
  • Drove through Dhading District, famous for supply of vegetables of all varieties.
  • Malekhu- Famous for fish, also a spot for young Nepalese to come and party.
  • Manakamana – 10 minute cable car to the top where there is a temple which is said to make all your dreams come true. Very Holy Place.
  • Arrived Pokhara 6pm. Walk to Lakeside.

3rd Dec


  • Western Region.
  • Lake Fewa, boat rides and temple Talbarahi.

  • Breakfast at the FEWA LAKE RESTAURANT.
  • Motorbike is a great way to get around the Pokhara and really see the 360 degree great view.
  • Devi’s Falls.
  • Gupteshower Caves (no photos allowed).
  • Bindabasini Temple – Saw a wedding take place.
  • Seti Gorge- See the raging river coming under Pokara from the melting       glaciers
  • Mahendra Caves.
  • Lunch at Thi’k Tha’k. Located in the Tourist Area. Great Nepali and western cuisine.
  • Saw Disabled Day March through a town of greater Pokhara.
  • Lake Begnash – Most serene and calm place with boat rides and fish farms.

  • Dinner at our lovely little hotel, HOLIDAY POKHARA HOTEL.

4th Dec


  • STRIKE in Damauli.  2 hours, no cars allowed to go through – UN arrived   and only ambulances allowed through. Regular occurence in Nepal these days.
  • Drove through Muglin, main HUB for bus and car transportation to the       rest of Nepal and the divide for Pokhara to the Southern and Western part of Nepal.
  • Souraha, CHITWAN. Chitwan National Park is a tourist hot spot for the       elephant riding, river activities- canoeing, fishing and boating, jungle treks and relaxing.
  • Boat ride in canoe down the river to ELEPHANT BREEDING CENTRE. Less than Aus$1 entry and I got to pat and name a baby elephant, Malachyte.

  • Cocktails at the riverbank – SUNSET VIEW RESTAURANT & BAR.
  • Tharu Culture Program at night. Stick and peacock dance which is specific to this region and the ethnic group of the Tharu people.

5th Dec


  • Breakfast in our hotel,  RIVERSIDE HOTEL, next to Budagandaki River
  • Go to Baghmara (translation Tiger Killer) for Elephant Ride, 1450 rps           (Nepalese rupees) for 1.5 hours through Jungle. We saw deer, peacocks,     kingfishers, 2 x rhino plus a baby rhino and more birds.

  • Drive back to Kathmandu at 12pm.
  • Noticed NARANYAN GHAT, this is where the road divides to lead to the  Western part (Lumbini, birth place of Buddha in this direction, road to        Kathmandu and the Southern and Eastern part. Interesting and busy section of the country.
  • Lunch at the lovely RIVERSIDE VILLAGE RESORT. Luxurious hotel on the river bank with white water rafting nearby, trekking, swimming pool and relaxation.
  • Return to Kathmandu 4.5 hours from Chitwan by car, perhaps 6 hours in   the bus with no strikes.
  • Dinner in the home of my friendSundar with wife, daughter and two nieces.  Amazing experience to stay in a real Nepali home.

6th Dec

HOME DAY, Kathmandu

  • Typical Nepali day at home\due to STRIKE. No cars, bikes or buses               allowed to move. Most shops closed. Cars were burnt in the centre of            Kathmandu in the morning as they were breaking the rules of the strike,     according to the Maoists.
  • Walk around the local area to visit the carpenter who is making the               families furniture.
  • Washed my own clothes BY HAND. Now I am true Nepali women. Washing  the clothes on the rooftop with the Himalayas in the background.
  • Made traditional Nepali food, Momo’s, in the afternoon with all the girls. Delicious!
  • After 6pm, strike lifted. Went to Thamel, the main tourist area, to visit my  friend from Australia, photographer Krystle Wright                             (
  • Dinner and drinks at the famous RUMDOODLE 40,000 ½ feet. Trekkers   can right on giant foot placards and stick them all over the restaurant

The adventures in Nepal continue. Stay tuned!

NB: Strikes are currently occurring on a regular basis in Nepal due to the Maoist movement. The UCPN Maoist ‘political’ group plan the strikes across the country, stopping most trade, all transport movements and bringing the country to a practical standstill. Tourists and visitors from other countries should know that it is still safe to be in Nepal at these times and flights will still be operating out of most airports. The strikes are more of an inconvenience to tourists for transport reasons and lack of opportunity to see sites, rather than a threat or danger.

Nepalese Home Stay

When travelling to a foreign land and a new culture we can feel alone, scared and tentative about the experiences we are about to have. These feelings are greatly minimised when we have friends or family to meet or stay with in the new place.


I am lucky enough to have met so many wonderful people from around the globe and to now have a place to stay when I visit that country. Many people have this opportunity as well, they just don’t take the offer up. I am the “yes girl”. You offer me a bed, I’ll be booking a flight and seeing you there before you know it!


In 2 weeks I will be going to India and Nepal and there will only be 4-5 days, out of the 30, in which I will be needing hotel accomodation as the rest of the time I am staying with friends I have met around the world. This is not only great for the budget but it also gives you a great cultural immersion and a better understanding of the country you are staying in. You have a 24-7 tour guide and cultural expert.


When I went to Nepal in 2006, I was to meet my friend Sundar and spend most of the time with him. He wanted to have me stay in his home but unfortunately it was too small at that time so I was to stay in a hotel. That first night was the loneliest of my whole trip and I hated it. Luckily, I had met a wonderful Indian woman on the plane who offered me a place in her home she was renting for work for the duration of my stay. I really feel that my trip to Nepal the first time was so much better as I was able to iThe lovely people I stayed with in Tahmel, Nepalnteract with people of that culture and learn so much more from people living there.  Home cooked meals, playing with local children, seeing a wedding procession from my bedroom window and having lovely people to speak to anytime of the day was such a unique experience. I am just thankful that I was open to the experience and took on this once in a life time opportunity.


This time I thought I would be staying in a hotel which was perfectly fine until I recieved this beautiful message from my friend Sundar:

“During your stay in Kathmandu, If you like and comfortable you can stay at my house I am near to airport bit far from Thamel you can do tipical Nepalese homestay. Its like a fimily, In my house we: My wife, my sister-in-law and daughter Sourya,  so you may have to share the room with my sister-in-law.

At my house you will have LAN internet access 24 hrs, Hot Shower and self made tea coffee and my wife made meal (Nepali style). We will be happy to welcome you at our family”


I was excited before but now I can barely contain myself. To see another Nepalese family living their daily life and being taken around to all the cultural sites with my personal tour guide will be so magical.


If you don’t have a dear friend in Nepal, do not lose hope. There are many places that offer homestays and a true cultural experience in Nepal. Here are just a few:


Recommendations and reviews by past guests will be the best thing for you to look into. Also on many of the hotels are small and family run and are available for only A$6.00 a night.


I found Nepal to be very safe and friendly towards foreigners. Even in a time of political turmoil and trouble between the people, I felt safe.


If you are looking for a different experience then check out some homestays, I promise you won’t regret it. Also think about some of the friends and contacts you have and maybe someone has a friend or family member you can get in touch with in the place you are going to make you feel a bit safer.

View from the roof of the house I stayed in, Nepal