Rebecca Slater, mom to fur babies, Sonoma, CA
I’d love to have our readers get a sense of who you are…
What are 3 words/phrases that describe or are important in the way you travel?
3. personal connections
Please share one of your favorite travel experiences.
Definitely Nepal. I have a true love affair with Nepal because it changed my life. In 2015 I went for the first time. I’ve since been back 13 more times. I’d had dreams since childhood of seeing a tiger. I had this thought that tigers would just be wandering around in Nepal. Happily that is not the case.
The Eastern philosophy about life is so different. The importance of festivals, traditions, community, family and celebrations just drew me in. It’s the only place in the world that I get emotional when I’m landing at the airport.
Katmandu is a wonderful mix of noise and congestion contrasted with beautiful, peaceful temples. I love staying at Dwarika’s Hotel. It’s not Four Seasons luxury, but its comfort, authenticity and service make you feel immersed in the culture and like welcome guest.
There is a phrase commonly used in several countries – go for the mountains, return for the people. I have found that particularly true for Nepal. The country is the size of Wisconsin and the terrain goes from 0 – 29,029 feet above sea level. A 45-minute flight takes you anywhere within its borders. The mountains are of course beyond impressive, but the people even more so. Although you might consider them poor, their great sense of pride and kindness surpasses their small means.
After the 2015 earthquake I was compelled to help these wonderful people so I started an organization to support artisans who design and create scarves. This is just one example of many life changing moments I’ve had during my trips to Nepal.
What is your favorite memory from this trip?
While sitting at one of the highest lodges in the world, at 13,500 feet, near the top of Mt Everest, with prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, overlooking the Himalayan horizon I was eating breakfast and sipping champagne. I still remember what it was like to see Mt Everest for the first time. It was surreal – it literally did not feel real.
To get up there it’s either a two day trek or an early dawn 10 minute helicopter ride from Namche Bazaar, where we had stayed the night before. I chose the helicopter. Since it’s located at 13,500 feet I could only stay about 90 minutes because my body did not have time to acclimatize to the altitude. Namche Bazaar is a terraced village where a community of Sherpas live. It’s dotted with small tea houses and gear shops. Quaint and special are the two words I would use to describe it.
What tip would you give your best friend if she were going to Nepal next week?
You must visit Mustang – it’s a treasure. It just opened up to foreigners in 1992 and I’d still consider it quite undiscovered. It has the purest Tibetan culture that I have experienced. Mustang is surrounded on three sides by Tibet and was a central point of resistance after the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet. This is where I rode on a pony with a jingling bell around its neck, drank yak milk tea and ate the sweetest apples. I went to the Kingdom of Lo and saw the Sky Caves (part of the Silk Route) and experienced the most dramatic landscapes.
October and November are great months to visit because the weather is good and it’s when the festival of Diwali happens, which is a central part of their culture. March is my next favorite time.
What’s on your bucket list?
Turkey has been on my list for a long time. I’d like to see the contemporary art scene in Istanbul, experience ballooning in Cappadocia and visit the Grand Bazaar market. And the fact that it is the only city in the world standing upon 2 continents gives it a unique cultural feeling.