During those 11 days, 25 students from Madrid and Segovia were immersed in an incomparable universe. The trip started in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, and followed with an 8 days journey to the Himalayas. During that time, students are put through a physical and mental challenge that encourages them to push their limits.
A lot of people asked us before we went: Why is IE sending you to do the tour of the Himalayas? It was hard to see the correlation between a trip of 20 students to discover a new country and an educational objective to help us later with our careers. After making that trip, I can say it will not only help us later in our careers but will also follow us every day with the life lessons we learned. Before I tell you about everything the experience brought us as individuals, we will make the trip again together.
The trip to Nepal was an experience in itself—departing Segovia at 5 am, we met Madrid students, half asleep, at the airport and took two flights with a total travel time of 11 hours, including a layover bus tour in Qatar. Finally, we arrived in Kathmandu.
When we arrived, small buses took us to the hotel. The first thing I noticed was the density of the air. It’s hard to breathe and full of new smells—not all good ones. Yet, Kathmandu was so much more than I imagined.
It is a hive of activity; thousands of motorbikes surround us, and a city that lacks sense presents itself to us. No matter where you look, it becomes captivating. Every street, building, and shop is different and has much to offer. Different colors adorn the walls of every building, and the teeming noise of the city never stops. If Kathmandu is anything, it is alive. Later on, I would realize the richness and different facets this city offers.
A plane and bus later, we arrive at the start of our walk on April 1rst. A two three-hour walk to go to our first lodge in Ghandruk, in the Himalayas. So much grandeur surrounds us. On our first night, we did a meditation session in front of an impressive view. Those five minutes of silence had so much beauty and respect in them. We were all quietly facing one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Then we had a fantastic dinner while playing games to get to know each other better. The relationship between students and IE staff was great; we were one team.
A challenging route
The walk starts for real. We were accompanied by a group of sherpas whose role was guiding us through this unknown land. Everyone was able to walk at their own pace, making this physical challenge more bearable. Besides, all of us were supporting each other to continue. We never felt alone, and the new friends we made would give us the strengths to continue. That opened my eyes to how much teamwork helps you reach your objectives and pushes you even further. I could not have done it without this incredible group, whether the students, the teachers, or the sherpas.
For the next two days, I will be going through breathtaking landscapes. We were absorbed in the jungle, passing by waterfalls and never forgetting to say ‘namaste’ to anyone we would see on the way. We had the chance to see many animals, such as monkeys and yaks. No WIFI, no technology around us, just the group walking 6 or 7 hours a day to reach our objective: Annapurna base camp.
Lessons by the Sherpas
The sherpas impressed me a lot. These people, who did not know us, were present and did anything in their power to help us. Whenever someone was not well, they helped them and stayed by their side for the rest of the entire walk. They showed us selflessness during the entire trip.
One lesson our sherpa, Tashi, taught us when the hike was challenging is: going up an enormous number of stairs is like life. If you look up at everything you have to achieve, you will be scared and too lazy to do it. But if you take it stairs by stairs, you will arrive at the top without realizing it. Take life day by day, and it will seem manageable.
The tension rise
The day we went to the Machapuchare base camp was a day we will never forget. We were accompanied by Edurne Pasaban, the first woman to climb the 14 highest points in the world, and her presence and expertise were reassuring for everyone. The further we went, the more the snowstorm intensified, and we had to walk on an avalanche that had just fallen to continue our way. It was impressive, not just for the landscapes but also for the challenges we faced.
By this point, everyone’s physical and emotional limits were about to be reached. We therefore needed to sit in the kitchen or living room together after each long walk. It was a moment to recover from our emotions and to connect with others. We all needed it.
Feeling on top of the world
Finally, on the 6th day, we reached our goal at the Annapurna base camp. We felt a sense of accomplishment and euphoria. We did this as a group. We pushed ourselves and arrived at 4130 meters. We took the time to do a Buddhist prayer with the sherpas. It was a moment none of us will forget.
The return to civilization
The walk back was easier and faster. After spending six days immersed in the Himalayas, we were all excited to return to civilization. Once we reached our final destinations, jeeps were waiting for us there.
We arrived at Pokhara, a valley around a lake. The town was vibrant, full of shops, restaurants, bars, and more. We had the chance to do a grand boat tour. During the last two days in Kathmandu, we did tourist activities and visited famous places such as the monkey temple (FYI: the monkeys rule the temple).
A transformational journey
An article could never reflect the number of feelings that were felt and how each detail made the experience special. After spending six days with people going through the jungle, you form genuine connections that will last a lifetime. This trip forced us to go above our limits, taught us that you go further in a group than by yourself, and to think for others before putting ourselves first. It taught us not to be scared to do an adventure that takes us miles away from our comfort zone and not to be biased about a country’s people or culture. We all joked during the trip about the transformation idea of the adventure, but it is safe to say we learned, grew, and changed during those 11 days that marked us for life.