I have to be honest, at first, the idea of a home stay intimidated me. A thousand questions flooded my mind- what will I eat? Where will I sleep? How will I talk to them?
As we approached the home where I would be staying for the night, I was nervous, but I quickly forgot all that as the warm smiles of the kids and adults told me to relax and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I was quickly told to take off my shoes (It’s Nepali custom to leave your shoes at the door- which was a bit embarrassing- they were starting to wreak after days of trekking). But then as I settled around the wood-burning stove and sipped on the tea I was handed, I couldn’t help but enjoy the company.
We sat and relaxed for a bit, then my Five14 guide and our host showed us around the village. They took us on a short hike to some waterfalls and introduced us to what seemed like the entire village. Children tugged at our shirts and laughed with us. Older people shook our hands. It felt like I was returning home after a long journey.
We returned to a snack of popcorn and enjoyed the feeling of the coolness of the evening. As the smells of dinner wafted over from the kitchen area, I glanced skyward and suddenly stopped mid-sentence. The stars are unbelievable in the Himalayas.
But it was dinner time. We gathered around the stove as we were handed plates weighed down with Dahl Bhat (rice, lentil soup, and curry). We ate with our hands, which was a little tricky to figure out at first. Our host kept heaping more rice on our plates- I finally had to declare that I was stuffed.
Then came the moment I had been waiting for- where would we sleep? Would it be with the goats?
I was shown a room on the side of their house where a thick mattress waited. Honestly, it was one of the nicest beds I have found in Nepal.
In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast and then they proudly showed off some of the development projects that Five14 had partnered with them to build.
I couldn’t believe I had been hesitant to stay in their home. It quickly felt like I had an entire village of old friends who I couldn’t wait to visit again.