Regarding Nepal, I’ve been getting the WTH question a lot lately, so I thought I’d answer it here. Actually, to be more specific, the question is twofold: 1) Why do you want to go trekking in Nepal, and 2) Why did you want to start a business sending people there?
Let’s start with #1, but let’s ask it in the way I’ve been hearing it:
Why, in GOD’S NAME, would you EVER want to go trekking in Nepal, of all places? Are you IN-SANE? (The person is usually shaking me by the shoulders and slapping my face as they’re screaming this, like a United Airlines employee.)
OK, if we’re all settled down now, I’ll answer.
- I like doing outlandish things. Probably more than that, I like to be able to SAY I’ve done outlandish things. It’s probably an ego thing, but I’ll own that. When my time on Earth is up, I’d like to be able to look back and say to myself, “Good job, MJ. You were a pretty decent guy, all things considered, and you had the guts to do some pretty cool, unpredictable stuff.” I don’t want to reflect on all the time I wasted by playing it safe and refusing to step outside my comfort zone.
- I want to see something amazing that the vast majority of people won’t. Let’s face it, most folks are OK to only read about Mt. Everest or maybe watch an occasional documentary on TV. That’s just not good enough for me. I want to see the greatest, most iconic mountain on earth through my very own eyeballs. I want to feel the snow, rocks, and air with my own skin. I want to understand firsthand exactly how vast and impressive this planet can be.
- I love the concept of experiencing an extremely remote place on foot, and in Nepal, you can do it without mosquitos or bears trying to eat you. I’m attracted by the idea that, aside from a helicopter, the only way to get to where we’re going is by walking there, unless you can hitch a ride on a very accommodating yak. Sure, there are some places like that in the U.S., but those come with a different set of challenges. In Nepal, the biggest challenges will be the airplane ride and the altitude.
- I want to test myself. I’ve done this before, most notably when I was a Crossfitter and participated in a Tough Mudder obstacle a few years ago. It gave me a goal to train for, just as a two-week trek to Mt. Everest will. Otherwise, I tend to become an unmotivated slob who finds excuses to eat Jelly Bellies like I’m doing now. (Shhh. Don’t tell Holly.)
- I want to meet those people and experience that culture. Although I’m proud to identify myself as a Christian, I’m fascinated by the Buddhist and Hindu cultures that dominate the Nepali population. They’re famous for their gentleness, friendliness, vibrant color, and are very different from what Americans are used to. I know what stuff is like here. I want to check out some of that.
#2 — Why would a country boy like you start a business like this?
- Trust me, I didn’t just wake up one day and decide that I should start a trekking company that sends people to Nepal. I believe I was led there by the Good Lord himself. This may sound overly dramatic or extreme, but so be it. Never have so many puzzle pieces lined up so well for me, so I didn’t chalk it up to coincidence. Point, God.
- The idea of marketing these kind of treks was appealing and sounded like a boatload of fun. And it is! Point, me.
- After meeting Dawa Jangbu Lama and learning his story, Holly and I wanted to be involved in helping him achieve his dream of moving back to Nepal, raising his children there, and supporting his native economy.
- If we could make a go of it, this business would allow our family to travel to Nepal and other amazing places — and write it off!
- Helping other people achieve their bucket list? Heck, yeah, sign me up. Seriously, what could be more rewarding?
One more question we often get: Why do this now?
That one’s easy for me. Everyday, we hear sad stories about people who leave us unexpectedly. They aren’t doing crazy, daredevil things; they are usually on the way to the grocery store, at work, or at home in their own front yard. There are no guarantees in this life, so I’m determined to do things while I’m relatively young and can still do them. I also want to provide that example to my kids, so maybe they won’t wait as long as I have.
Life’s too short! Get off the couch and go live it!
P.S. Come with! www.hobnailtrekkingco.com