Pictured here is my beautiful friend May, whom I met by chance on a spontaneous nationwide women's rock climbing meetup in Alabama with the Ladies Climbing Coalition. When May learned that I was undertaking the Everest Base Camp tours with Driftwood Adventures, she eagerly jumped at the opportunity to join us. Her presence brought such a radiant, bright, and peaceful energy to our group. I'm so grateful for the sisterly bond that we developed as roommates over the course of our 17-day trek.
What's special about this photo is that May is seated by the beautiful bay window in the home of our sherpa, Tshering, and if you research the adventure trek groups in Nepal, you'll soon understand how uncommon it is for the tourists to be able to stay at the home of their sherpa, let alone spend the day at their local village school, receive cooking lessons in their kitchen, or sit around the dinner table with their local friends and family from the village and dance together - more on all of this soon.
We shared many memorable moments of the guided adventure treks to Nepal by this window, gazing at the mountains, sketching, writing poetry, drinking tea, and speaking of dreams. It was our home base before our departure in one of the Everest adventure treks, and it also welcomed us back upon returning from the mountains - all of us, inevitably changed from the people who we were when we first laid our heads to rest on the comfortable beds of our sherpa's guest rooms.
Tshering's home felt like a reflection of his heart: it offered a peaceful retreat for us to gather ourselves and be joyfully present in the moment.
I believe that one of the greatest strengths of Driftwood's programming is the level of trust and connection that founder Bri Gallo works so hard to seek and establish with all of her expedition leaders, as well as program participants. Bri has a gift for connecting with people across cultures and fostering a sense camaraderie within groups that is interwoven into every expedition she leads. Her lighthearted, gregarious, and deeply-caring energy seems to attract the kinds of guides and leaders who have a twinkle in their eyes, an expert knowledge base, and are genuinely interested in offering guests authentic experiences that are full of connection and meaning.