"This expedition will be an experience of a life time”.
​Some words of Purna before the trek started that soon would be proved to be true.

Back then I could not fully understand what this might look like. Back then I could have not imagined that this trip would not only become a journey to explore mother earth’s wild beauty in the Himalaya, but also a journey deeper into my mind, heart and soul.

Before starting this journey Purna has done a great job not only in helping me complete my gear list for the upcoming trek but also to prepare mentally for the upcoming physical challenge. Although I love nature and have been trekking before, I was a bit worried about crossing 3000m for the first time in my life.

The trek taught me a new way of hiking. Instead of being focused on the destination I have learned to absorb the moment and surrounding beauty of each step. Usually I did not pay much attention to plants along the way. But Purna’s passion for studying the plants along the way inspired me to change my perspective. Now I no longer see a “green bunch” but I rather started to pay attention to single plants with all my senses: not only see their leaf structure but also touch, smell and sometimes even taste them. Listen to the music concert of the insects.

This is when walking becomes mediation.
Purna teaches me about the different plants along the way. He seems to be an infinite source of knowledge about the Nepali flora, sharing it with me. We study the plants along the way, some we collect. The baskets of some porters soon look like beautiful flower baskets.

With every day not only the surrounding plants but also my state of being changed. After a few days I got used to the daily rhythm: being woken up gently with a cup of tea, crawling out of the tent and walking over to the fire where delicious breakfast is getting prepared. We slowly get ready for the day and head off. The next 5-7hours will lead us through the Annapurna mountain range before deciding to pitch up our camp.
For some days we would pass villages, for some days we would walk through the jungle. This part I enjoyed most: We would not meet anyone else for a couple of days, apart from some shepherds and their sheep.
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This is a different kind of trekking. Usually people in Nepal do tea house trekking: they do not need to carry their tents, their sleeping bags, nor their food since they would stay in guest houses along the way. Different to us. For me trekking means becoming one with nature. And sleeping in a tent, cooking food on the camp fire gives me this feeling.

This kind of trekking made it possible to connect with the local people along the way. Shepherds would join us in the evening at the campfire, make music together and show their traditional dance. At some other time we would get invited to have dinner with a shepherd family in the mountains who would make us taste their home made cheese, wine and self-hunted meat.
Every day would feed a different part inside of me: Sometimes my mind, sometimes my heart, sometimes my soul.
The physical part challenged my mind.
The time spent with the local people along the way gave me a close insight into the Nepali culture away from the city and has deeply touched my heart.

And there was definitely one experience that has deeply touched my soul: It was the pilgrimage up to a holy lake to take a dip in the August full moon. Becoming part of this traditional, holy ritual has really touched my soul.

The physical part of the journey ended when we had arrived in Tanchok, Purna’s home village, where he started his garden project.

At the same time a new chapter of nepali culture experience started. It was one of the best decisions I could make to stay some more days after the trek in the village: living in a little clay house, becoming part of a nepali family for a couple of days, being taken care of by a nepali woman who made me soon call her “aamma” (nepali for “mother”). Such an idyllic place where the food grows in front of the house, the milk comes fresh from the buffalo, field work is still made by hand and the yummy dhal bat is cooked over a little fire place in the nice clay house.

There was only one thing that was missing: having a good friend at my side to share all this wonderful moments with.
I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to join Purna on his plant hunting expedition. It was the perfect combination of physical challenge, knew knowledge and best of all: the deep connection with the culture, the people along the way and nature.
Thank you so much for this experience of a life time ☺

Laura U.(22, student from Germany)