Time is running out for all the adventures I’d planned to have as a child that were forbidden or forgotten.Sandakphu is the Himalayan dream I’ve been chasing all my life. I’m afraid that if this may be a dream too late. Forbidden when I was 16 – can I do it when I’m sixy?
To gaze on towering Kanchenjunga and the Sleeping Buddha nestled in a snow-white blanket against brilliant blue skies, I snatched glimpses of this impossible, ridiculous and forbidden over the long tiring years of motherhood and career.
Did you have a dream at 16 that is buried deep under the messy muddle of more important things?
This is the story of that dream and how it became a reality. This dream is only about the right place, at the right time, to do nothing at all. To be in a waking dream in the white heart of a sacred mountain. I must walk five days and 61 kilometers to do this. Three days up and two days down. Touching 4000 meters.
It is the mountain that has been calling me, and it’s time to answer. At 16, the perfect age to fall in love I saw Kanchenjunga from Darjeeling for the first time. It called me relentlessly since then – but as a 16 year old girl alone? Impossible!
No, not even a group of girls together. Unthinkable. I started my subversion – at the top of Sandakphu, I asked a group of schoolboys where their classmates who were girls, were. That started them thinking, and hopefuly, changing. Maybe there is a 16 year old today, who will walk to Sandakphu before she is 17!
Today they have “YA fiction”, my “YA” favourites alternated between the classic quest stories, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, and Tolkien’s The Hobbit. They inspired me to laze on the sun warmed stone benches on long winter afternoons, plotting out, with complicated maps, how I could cycle from Lucknow to London, or take a train from Vladivostok to Venice.
Until I finally did it, and then write the bestseller about it. Check it out!
You can also check out a slightly flatter adventure on the Camino