I bid adieu to my French friends, laced up my boots and headed towards Sinuwa with Gambu. By now, I felt used to the Nepali flat (constantly going either uphill or downhill) and was starting to feel stronger. I even started to appreciate how the steep inclines would naturally stretch my calves out while I walked, which felt more efficient than stretching after.
We made it to Chhromrong for lunch, and I was on my way to pee in a hole in the ground (Nepali version of a toilet) when a tall, tan and handsome stranger appeared on the trail.
Naturally, I gave him a wave and he wandered on over to have a chat.
His name was Harrison and he was a Canadian who left everything behind to travel. He had just come off the Annapurna Circuit, and was now trekking the Annapurna Sanctuary as well. I was of course intrigued, but his next stop was going to be Dovan- two hours past where I was headed for the evening.
I politely excused myself with the classiest thing I could say to a good-looking man, “I have to go pee in a hole now- catch you later,” and let Harrison go on his merry way.
We were headed in the same direction, so unsurprisingly I caught up with him shortly after, and we matched pace.
Gambu asked Harrison where his end point would be today, and he responded, “Sinuwa,” instead of Dovan. Earlier he had joked about staying there if it involved a candlelit dhal bat dinner with me, and now I rolled my eyes at his “coincidental” change of plans.
So, we ended up walking to Sinuwa together and talking the entire way. (Okay, Harrison talked while I huffed and puffed my way uphill.) He towered over me, so his steps were equal to two of mine, but I appreciated his slower pace on my behalf. Every once in a while, I noticed that my pack would feel a little lighter, and realized that Harrison would gently push my pack up so that it would be easier on me- it was quite sweet.
Once we made it to the village, we decided to split a room, for financial reasons and warmth, of course.
We spent the afternoon together, and I learned he was a former football player, turned vegetarian, meditating Zen Buddhist. Very type B, to my very type A.
It was refreshing to talk to someone who was so different than I was. He was insightful and introspective, on a mission to better know himself. Whereas, I know myself quite well and tend to stay away from deep conversations. I realized that his calm was contagious and I found myself sharing a lot of the thoughts I had been having about my life, that I was to hesitant to even admit to myself.
He later asked me what my spirit animal was. Harrison was a wolf- prideful and independent, but happy to also be part of the pack.
I am a mantis shrimp.
I am small, but strong and fierce, and I see the world in more colors than most people do.
We were clearly in opposite exhibits of this zoo, but somehow it worked.
The rest of the evening was lovely, dhal bat dinner and a cozy night in. The next morning he headed off to Annapurna Basecamp- a nine hour trek, so I gifted him the rest of my Quest Bars and wished him well.