Kathmandu, Nepal Odyssey 2019
In October 2019, at the invitation of local colleagues, Tumbuh Global welcomed four global travelers to Nepal to intersect with the sacred Tihar Festival; three Americans and one Dane. This was the first trip to Nepal for each of these women. Tumbuh travelers visited many prominent religious sites and participated in one-of-a-kind ceremonies with local business and families while in Kathmandu. The group opened themselves to the people, the culture, the hectic holiday environment, the food, the faith, and the questions of daily life like true global citizens. Below is the daily update we shared with supporters during our journey as well as an album of images from our time together.
We are truly grateful for the Nepal Multi-Faith 2019 Travelers and their openness to the lived experience of the Nepali people. May the lessons learned, the stories heard, and the connections made forever transform and inspire us all as global citizens learning how best to live and thrive together.
Celebrating Laxmi Puja at Star Gems in Thamel
Update: October 22, 2019: Arrival Day
All Tumbuh Travelers have arrived safely in Kathmandu. Activities begin tomorrow!
Update: Wednesday, October 23 – First Full Day
Today, our Nepal Travelers started the morning with breakfast on Mandala Street and an introduction to Tumbuh’s odyssey philosophy. In the afternoon, we made our first sacred site visit to Hanuman-Dhoka Durbar (Kathmandu Durbar Square) where our colleague, Bicky, explained the cultural and religious significance of this noted World Heritage Site and shared insights about his own lived experience growing up in Kathmandu. After an early rooftop dinner overlooking the royal palace, we tried to catch a glimpse of Kumari, the living goddess (4.5 years old) but were told she was napping. (We will attempt a viewing again later in the week.) All travelers are healthy, curious, and learning to navigate the festival traffic with great confidence.
Update: Thursday, October 24 – 2nd Full Day
Today, our Tumbuh Travelers embarked on a city trek from Thamel to the Tibetan Buddhist part of Kathmandu in order to visit the famed Swoyambhuntah Stupa (Monkey Stupa), the World Peace Pond, and Amideva Buddha Park. The splendor of these historic sites truly cannot be captured in an image. The group enjoyed meeting Tibetan Buddhist monks along the way and learning more about the art of making Tibetan singing bowls.
Update: Friday, October 25 – 1st Day of Tihar
Today, our Tumbuh Travelers trekked nearly 13 km from Nagarkot into the Kathmandu Valley after watching the sunrise over the Annapurna Mountain Range. The trek took us through villages, temples, and farms on the ridge around the Kathmandu Valley. Though tired and sore, all travelers are happy, healthy, and treasuring their newfound village friendships.
Update: Saturday, October 26 – 2nd Day of Tihar
Today, our Tumbuh Travelers took a tour of Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple. They mingled with Sadhus (holy men), observed a sacred cremation ceremony, had their palms read, and learned about the holy river that runs through Nepal. All travelers are happy, healthy, and looking forward to Laxmi Puja celebrations tomorrow.
Update: Sunday, October 27 – 3rd Day of Tihar
Today, our Tumbuh Travelers started the day with a nice breakfast and then headed back to Kathmandu Durbar Square to see Kumari, the living goddess. We toured the royal palace museum and learned more about the reconstruction efforts post-2015 earthquake. We had a late lunch and then headed to Star Gems to celebrate Laxmi Puja with a local shop owner and his family. We shared greetings from Tumbuh with two local shop owners and exchanged gifts. We ended the evening by joining locals in the streets with song and dance to usher the coming of Laxmi, the god of wealth into their shops and businesses.
Update: Monday, October 28 – 4th Day of Tihar
Today, our Tumbuh Travelers used an unexpected change in the schedule to head over to Bhaktipur City to learn about one of the oldest areas in the Kathmandu Valley. They visited the Tihar market, learned about sand mandalas, and tasted dried coconut from a street vendor. After the tour, they headed back to Thamel to prepare for an evening Nepali Cooking Class with the women’s co-op of Journey Nepal. They learned how to make many classic Nepali dishes including chocolate momos! All travelers’ spirits are high and their tummies are full!
Update: Tuesday, October 29 – 5th Day of Tihar
Today, our Tumbuh Travelers spent their last full day of the odyssey with the women of Local Women’s Handicrafts Cooperative in Thamel. This fair trade organization was started by women for women in Nepal. All proceeds from the sale of store items go directly back to the women – some of whom are disabled and work from home. They ended the evening with a group dinner at Roadhouse Cafe where they shared reflections with one another about their odyssey experience. This has truly been the “trip of a lifetime” and a wonderful experience to be part of such a blessed festival. Thank you, Nepal!
Update: Wednesday, October 30 – Last Day
Today, we say goodbye to our Tumbuh Travelers as they head off to new adventures and some head home. Traveler Amanda was the first to arrive and is sadly the first to depart. We sent her off with blessings and traveling mercies early this morning. Our final travelers are preparing for a domestic flight to extend their stay. Truly global citizens embracing all Nepal has to offer!
I cannot say enough good things about the Nepal Odyssey. From preparation to coming back home, the experience was phenomenal. The online tools available to prepare allowed for open communication between the organizers and fellow travelers. Once in country, the partnerships and itinerary flowed well and I was able to experience a once in a lifetime journey. Not only did we visit Nepal, we were able to connect with local friends on personal levels, adding to the overall journey. Tumbuh cares about their mission and delivering quality substance and an intimate travel experience. I am available to discuss my experience one on one and highly recommend anyone take an odyssey with Tumbuh.
Mille Filtenborg Jensen
My odyssey with Tumbuh to Nepal this fall was a once in a lifetime experience. Everything was well organised, from beginning to end. I felt very safe going on this journey with Tumbuh and the other travellers joining this journey. We got to experience the life of local Nepalese, see the beauty of the country and ask all the questions we had. The odyssey was such a personal and growing experience. I would recommend this trip to anyone!
Just signing up was a stretch as I’ve had little international travel experience. I thought about backing out more than once. So glad I didn’t! I learned that I’ve probably got more inner strength than I give myself credit for. Now that I’m home, I’m reading about the history and religious evolution. It’s a little like a Russian novel – so many names and multiple names for so many of the gods and goddesses. The overlap between Hinduism and Buddhism can be confusing. Great group, great group dynamic. Very tolerant and caring group of women. I liked the size of the group. Lindsay and Mary are exceptional women and I really do hope I get to travel with them again.