Not everyone would jump at the opportunity to travel to Nepal with their boss, but then again the true passion that lives within Neroli isn’t one you see every day which may be part of the reason I have been working with the company for 10 years. Our owner, Susan Haise, loves to travel and with that she plans trips on a bi-annual basis where team members are able to join should their interest and financial means allow. Last year when Susan shared with the team that we would be doing a trip to Nepal where we would meet the people within the community that make the AVEDA holiday paper I knew it would be a once in a lifetime experience and something I did not want to miss. This blog piece is a journal of our journey together along with Bridget Baker, a Neroli guest who won our Nepal trip giveaway and AVEDA Executive Sue Trondson.
Driving to the hotel from the airport could almost take your breath away. The land, people, busy streets, dirt and smells where all so different than the comforts of home. But….driving up the hotel driveway was a completely different vision. The beauty and attention to detail was mind blowing. The front desk reception staff had smiles from ear to ear when we arrived. We were greeted with beautiful white scarfs and a flavorful warm lemon, ginger and honey beverage.
Our rooms were spacious and very comfortable. The bathroom is a whole room in itself with a huge tub for bathing which was much more than I imagined.
There is a beautiful salon on the grounds where a couple of us had a terrific massage. The staff was so accommodating to us, as they readily arranged for on the spot treatments without hesitation.
The breakfast buffet is a hungry persons dream. Wonderful fresh squeezed juices to homemade omelets and local dishes were options every morning.
Every night there is something going on ….short videos played, local dancers performed, barbecue dinner outside and a very warm bar to kick back and relax.
The night we went to the bar a local band played covers of Pink Floyd….they were fantastic. Made us feel like we where back home. You could almost get lost on the premise of the hotel. The beauty can not be explained – not even in a picture. The attention to detail with its perfectly manicured flower pots to the owners four dogs walking around like they own the place. It’s like heaven on earth!!!!!
The day we went to visit the paper making facility was warm and sunny – it really set the tone for what we were about to witness. I think for all of us the experience was out of this world. The biggest thing for me is getting the story of the journey of how this beautiful paper is made to our guests and coworkers. We were blessed to watch the women make the pulp, turn that into paper and then dye the paper with a beautiful array of colors and prints. The women were so happy doing their tasks. Laughing and talking together making their jobs look so fun that I wanted to jump in and help!!!
We got to see full circle of how the paper gets to AVEDA with the partnership of the Himalayan Bio Trade. In a small house the paper is inspected for quality….piece by piece. The production and quantity that comes out of this small house is mind blowing. Talking to the managers it also put into perspective on how many people are affected by the business AVEDA gives them. Today has really made me realize the importance of working together for the good of all!
Off to Pokhara
Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal settled in the range of the Annapurna Mountains. Many call it the ‘jewel of the Himalayans’ which is easy to note as the views we have experienced thus far are breath taking….
We were fortunate to be able to stop at the Panorama Hotel for a meal which was delicious. All of the items we ate came from their garden. Falling in love with the sustainability practices that we continually see throughout our travels.
After traveling to Pokhara we were happy to arrive to the Tiger Mountain Lodge which was our home base for a few days. It’s located 1,000 feet above the Pokhara Valley and is surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains. The beauty and hospitality is an experience that is hard to give justice through photos as I will forever remember these moments.
Now that we have gotten settled in my anticipation for our venture into the Annapurna mountains is rising…
Annapurna Mountain Trek
I consider myself a fairly athletic person but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit anxious about our 7 hour trek into the Annapurna mountains. Before we began our adventure we were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a lovely breakfast with a breathtaking view…
Throughout our trip thus far we have had wonderful guides that have truly given us an insight into the Nepalese culture. Below is the team from Nepal who guided one leg of the trip. They had never felt snow on their face or played with it, so we stopped the car while on the trip so they could experience it. It almost seemed ironic as clearly the mountains are covered in it, but since it is very warm in Katmandu they don’t have the opportunity to experience it unless they are in the mountains.
There are some journeys you take in life that stay with you forever. For me, our trip into the Annapurna Mountains is one of those times along with meeting the people who make the AVEDA holiday paper. To have the opportunity to visit the Nepalese people that live their daily lives within these Annapurna Mountain ranges was incredible. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all felt honored to be welcomed into their villages and culture with open arms.
After a long day of hiking one might think that all we would want to do is rest, but what girl can say no to shopping when you have these amazing one-of-a-kind Nepalese hand-made items to view…
Our Last Meal in Nepal
The food that we have been able to enjoy over the last week has been wonderful and I enjoyed every bit of it. Being that we started this journey with a meal together in Dora on our way to Nepal, I don’t think there is a better way to end our time in Nepal than with a delicious traditional meal – I savored every piece!