By the time I get to Kathmandu you’ll be having your Tuesday lunch ... yes, it’s that time of year again.
I’m packing. As a process it doesn’t faze me - I just gather everything I need and tuck it into my suitcase. (What? No rucksack? Sadly my knees have, finally, rebelled at being asked to carry a quarter of my body weight on my back. And so I’ve found a lovely wheelie suitcase with plenty of pockets and I am beginning to forgive it for not being a rucksack.)
But packing is so much more than just shoving things into a suitcase. It comes with that tingly feeling that precedes every trip. Even returning to somewhere I know and love, like Nepal, it is impossible to predict what might happen.
Last time I visited just after the earthquake. There was devastation everywhere, but almost no tourists. How much has been rebuilt? Have the tourists returned? What has been built to lure them? I know that Pokhara now boasts the longest zip line in the world (a drop of 600m over 1.8km) ... shall I?
Last time I had too close an encounter with a crocodile. The time before that it was a tiger. Is it time to settle by the riverside and steer clear of the wildlife?
Last time Tika’s children were aged 6 and 14. Is the little boy too big for balloons now?
I know I need some recuperative time after the challenges of last year. And I know the country well enough to be sure I can find some restful places. I also know that it is full of the unexpected - and to go with too many plans means I miss the opportunities that might leap out at me (metaphorically - I don’t need leaping tigers!)
These are the sort of mumblings that accompany my packing. It is a glorious dialogue between the familiarity of last-minute preparations and possibilities that lie ahead.
Enjoy your Tuesday lunch. While I unpack in Kathmandu.