Shuvechha Ghimire

The author is a Sociologist from Jawaharlal Nehru University and ‘Wine Feminists’ is a term she coined. Also, the opinion expressed is personal.

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Published On: August 27, 2017 10:38 AM NPT By: Shuvechha Ghimire

Learning Humility through Travel

Learning Humility through Travel

KATHMANDU, August 27: Sanjay Kafle had met a guy on a chance encounter. The guy, a middle-aged man, said he lived alone in the woods, collected medicinal herbs and was notorious for making friendships with the wildlife. “He told me he preferred to be friends with elephants and lions instead of humans,” said Sanjay. 

“He proclaimed to be an astrologer and told me he would die precisely in six months.  He would talk to animals and would make efforts to calm the animals down every time a danger appeared.”  While this man’s story might be all but a bluff, but Sanjay recalls being fascinated by the man’s detachment from worldly fears and materialistic desires. It awed him that one could find eternal bliss in nature. 

Sanjay introduces himself as a nature lover. He is a restless soul that seeks to find essence in conversations with strangers. He has travelled to 15 districts of India and over 45 districts of Nepal, the experience of which he documents in his facebook page Nepal Travel Tales. 

What makes him different from other travelling aspirants is the fact that he vlogs touching stories when he stumbles upon them. These stories are usually unheard of, and appeal greatly to, people’s emotions. His stories also reach out to those that are willing to financially help others in need. 

Sanjay is originally from Chiluwa, Parbhat. He first aspired to travel when he was in Grade VIII. He wanted to travel all around the world. By no means, however, did he think that such big ambition would be economical. He had realized early on that he would have to start saving. It was only later he understood that travelling to places didn’t always need a good bank balance, but a curious and good heart would work just fine. 

“During my Annapurna Circuit trek, I came across a hotel in Thorang La that employed two young children to wash dishes. These children had to finish their chores in freezing temperatures even if the process required them to stay late at night,” recalled Sanjay. “I spent a few hours by their workplace—the kitchen— and helped them wash dishes by pouring water and doing menial chores.” 

The next day, as a symbol of gratitude, the children had left two boiled eggs on his backpack, which are rather expensive when one starts ascending. “The point I am trying to make is that a mere conversation, small gestures of kindness and egoless desire to understand others when you are away from home takes you a long way.”    

Travelling all around the country for more than a year taught him to be humble, he said. He has learnt to adopt a down-to-earth persona and forsake any form of pride that might prevent him from helping anyone in need or asking for help. 

Through his vlogs, Sanjay has bridged the gap that pertains between those in need and those that can help. For instance, he has made it possible for Prashant Neupane—an orphan—to purse quality education in Kathmandu. That said, he is not exempt from being on the receiving end. He has been given lifts to many a places, which definitely is a big help to an ambitious traveler under budget.  

“Every random conversation with strangers brings you closer to the world and the nature. Small talks about family and life in general result in happy faces,” said Sanjay.

When asked to recall one of the best conversations he has had with total strangers-turned-acquaintances, he talked about his time in Kanyakumari, India when he was given lift by Tamilians, who understood neither Hindi nor English. “While language was a big barrier, I had the best conversation of my life with them. We made small talks and somehow bonded by the end of the voyage.”

Sanjay starts his day with meditation. He makes an effort to travel to any peaceful place nearby and practices gratitude. He is thankful to his parents, the nature and all those that helped him achieve his dreams of travelling.  

As passionate as he is about travelling and vlogging, Sanjay feels that it still won’t be feasible for him to make a career out of it. “While I get exciting offers to work as a freelance vlogger with incredibly talented people, travelling won’t be as feasible once I finish my bachelors and would have to assume to the responsibility of my family,” remarked Sanjay. 

This reflects a sad truth on our country’s side: our youngsters still have to travel a difficult road if they want to follow their passion. 

On a positive note though, Sanjay said his undergraduate course brings him closer to nature. He is currently pursuing Agriculture Science in IAAS Lamjung. Agriculture Sciences has taught him to appreciate the rural areas more. “We don’t have as much people in rural villages as we used to have. I hope to change that by modernizing farming and encouraging rural existence.” 

Sanjay believes that if youngsters see opportunities within their villages, they will never feel the need to migrate from the greenery into concrete mosaic of cities. 

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