Journey to Nepal

May 23, 2013

Over a year ago a dear friend to Hannah and I felt called to go do volunteer work in Nepal and so she went. But, before she left, Han and I promised her a visit during her two year commitment. We didn't know how or when it would happen just that it would. Fast forward to April 24th. Suddenly, going to Nepal was not a thought or far off dream but a reality!

During our planning, Hannah and I separated the trip into 2 parts: first, a relaxing few days in Chitwan alongside the Nepali National Forest and the rest of the trip would be spent in Kathmandu living Bekah's day to day life with her. The goal of the trip was simple: to encourage Bekah and facilitate [as best we could] a relaxing and rejuvenating two weeks for her. The girl hadn't had a break in nearly 15 months; I was exhausted for her just thinking about it!

Our travels through China and then to Nepal were seamless, no complications or rushed moments. By the time we got to Nepal the whole 30 hours of travel almost seemed too easy. We were there! Early the next morning we boarded a bus with Bekah for Chitwan. I didn't know what to expect but definitely didn't have high expectations for our lodging. However, all of that changed the minute we stepped foot on the restort. A Nepali paradise awaited us...

The entire staff was wonderful and so accommodating during our stay. We were completely spoiled! Relaxing in hammocks, getting massages, and eating amazing food; it was the perfect setting to catch up and relax those first two days. By the time Monday came around we were completely rested and ready for some adventure. We got up early and by 6 am we going through the Nepali jungle ON [!!!] an elephant! It was my favorite morning of the entire trip...
Riding through the jungle I couldn't help but think the morning felt like a "Pride and Prejudice morning." With the sun peeking through the trees and fog rising off of the jungle floor it was almost too perfect!

This Monday became fondly referred to as "elephant day" for the rest of the trip. As if riding on an elephant in the morning wasn't enough we went back to the lodge and went swimming with an elephant in a nearby river, Bekah painted an elephant after lunch, and in the late afternoon we took a canoe ride to yes, you guessed it... an elephant breeding center! Elephant overkill? Yes, probably! But, you don't get to hang out with elephants every day so we had to take advantage of it :)
Do you spy the croc?
I can't tell you how important those first days were for all of us -- it set the tone for the rest of our trip. Four days in paradise was the perfect amount of time and Tuesday morning we packed our bags and made the 6 hour bus ride back to Kathmandu.
We'd experienced a small taste of the craziness of the city on our bus ride out to Chitwan, but I was quickly reminded the moment we got back. Honking horns and the constant barking of stray dogs lining the streets are the cities soundtrack. Theres no such thing as rush hour because the flow of traffic is equally congested and chaotic from sunrise to sunset. Piles of trash outline the city streets like confetti at a birthday party. Despite the poor conditions of the crowded city the Nepali people were extremely friendly and welcoming. Kathmandu is a large city and each day we ventured out I became increasingly grateful that:

1. we had a friend who spoke fluent Nepali
2. knew how to maneuver the busy streets

I can't imagine having been there if that wasn't the case.
Bekah's "neighborhood"
The main mode of transportation.
Crowded "bus" meant sitting on laps not seats.
The one morning we could see the Himalayas -- completely breathtaking!

Each day we explored a different part of the city, Bekah introduced us to her favorite coffee shops, cafes, and shops...
Bekah had experienced a lot of growth during her 15 months in Nepal as had Hannah and I at home. When we left on the trip I was anxious to see what our friendship would be like. Would it be the same? Would it be hard to connect at first? We'd been separated by long distances before but not for 15 months and by several countries. Despite the distance and infrequent e-mails/skypes our friendship at its core hadn't changed one bit...
I left Nepal completely exhausted but for all the right reasons. Our main mission in going was complete: our friend was refreshed and encouraged. But, not only her... I was too! Traveling internationally has always been such an eye opening experience for me and this trip was no different. Its a treasure to experience another culture and to see how other people in the world live. I came home with a renewed perspective about what really matters and how great God's love truly is.

I know this is just a brief overview and if you're interested in hearing more, please tell me. I'd love to share!

Also, I really can't say thank-you enough to everyone [YOU] who followed along on this journey. To those of you who prayed, gave sweet travel packages, liked all the Instagrams, and left encouraging comments on Facebook along the way... thank-you! These things might have seemed little to you but they meant the world.

*Photographers: the photos in this post are a collection of iPhone pictures, Instagrams, and images captured on my Canon 5d with the 50mm 1.4 and 28mm 1.8 lens.


  1. Those pics are gorgeous! Breathtaking if you will. So happy that you guys had a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. I can't even handle this, J. Magical. Your photos are flawless. So happy to see the three of you so happy + REUNITED!


  3. Loved reading this and looking at all your amazing pictures Jules! Seriously so beautiful. These are lovely images. It's so fun and such a blessing to hear about your trip, thank you so much for sharing! What an adventure. So glad you and Han could spend that time of encouragement with Bekah. Thanks for sharing how God has deepened your heart and view of His love for the world in going to Nepal.


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