Preparing for my first trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek Review. November/December 2014

Trekking, what does it entail and is it for me? is probably something I should have asked myself as I contemplated what would be my first trekking trip to Nepal, especially since I did not consider myself a walker or hiker (even I know that walking one mile to work along the road does not constitute being a 'walker') and didn't even own a pair of trekking boots! However, I didn’t and in many respects I am glad of that! It meant that I was able to enjoy everything about the trip from the preparation to the actual trek itself and all that flowed from that. I stayed open to all experiences including those I had no idea about and learnt about things I had no previous knowledge of.

Not really knowing where to begin, I started to look at trekking options and companies on line and was fortunate enough to speak to a couple of ex marines who recommended Raj of Responsible Adventures. Raj had been involved in a mountaineering expedition marking the 50th anniversary of Tenzing and Hillary's first ascent of Everest being undertaken by our Royal Navy and Royal Marines. I also recalled coming across Responsible Adventures during my own internet searches and for me, it all then seemed to fall neatly into place.

Tara Austin and Raj TamangI sent Raj and e-mail explaining that I had never been to Nepal and had never trekked before but was thinking about trekking the Annapurna Circuit Trek as it offered a diverse array of terrain, cultures, scenery and climatic zones. I explained a bit about myself and the activities I enjoyed and undertook on a regular basis and in a roundabout sort of way, I was asking Raj if he thought I would be fit enough to undertake such a trek. I also had a few other questions such as renting verses buying certain items of kit, what to expect regarding the climate and altitude (I had never been to altitude before so had no idea how it might affect me), medication and additional travel arrangements as I had planned to spend some time in Pokhara at the end of the trek. Raj's reply to my e-mail was prompt, informative and answered all my questions and included some good advice regarding the items of kit I had asked about. In particular Raj informed me that I could rent a good down sleeping bag for USD$1 per day (this being considerably cheaper than the GBP£250 it would have cost me to buy one of the same quality and warmth rating) and that although you could buy trekking poles in Kathmandu, the quality varied widely and Raj had known some to last only a few hours before breaking so it would better for me to buy trekking poles in my own country. It also led to me ask more questions which Raj encouraged so that I could get the most out of my trekking experience. Raj was always quick to reply and I soon found out that Raj has travelled to my home town and the town I went to school in! My questions continued, ranging from how much money I might need to bring and budgeting, food and particular dietary requirements including any additional food supplements that might aid me during the trek, what to do with luggage I would not need on the trek, extra accommodation and activities for the additional days I would be in Nepal for outside of the trekking itinerary, travel insurance requirements as well as day to day things. Raj's openness regarding all things trek related and also his own personal experiences was very reassuring, especially as I would be in Nepal on my own as a single, female traveller.

Tara AustinMy preparation for my trip continued and sadly just weeks before I my departure, a disaster occurred high up on the Annapurna Circuit resulting in the worst trekking disaster of it's kind. Raj put my mind at rest and informed me that the trek was still due to go ahead and confirmed that as a single traveller, I would be accompanied by one of his experienced team who would be my guide as well as my porter. My only concern about this was, I hope my guide likes to talk as I can chat away for hours! As it happened, this was not a problem! I was also told that my guide was from Pokhara so if I needed anything during my stay there after the trek, I could always ask him and if need be, he could assist me with any additional arrangements. Raj’s assistance and advice continued after I arrived in Nepal where he helped me change money so that I had local currency, showed me where I could purchase items I had asked about and places I could go to eat and drink in the evenings as well as things I could see and do in and around Kathmandu. The exceptional service and hospitality I had experienced from Raj carried on when I returned from my trek as we had lunch and I shared my stories of my trek with him hours after eating. Raj also arranged transport for me to get to the airport on the day of my departure and came to see me before I left.

I have many fond memories of my time in Nepal and my first trek and I know that this was only possible because of Raj. I can highly recommend Raj and his company Responsible Adventures and look forward to returning to Nepal to trek again.
Tara Austin
United Kingdom

Why Choose Responsible Adventures for trekking in Nepal

Nominated in the category "Best in Mountain Environment" on "Virgin Holidays, Responsible Tourism Awards 2010, 2011."

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