All posts tagged: tourism

The Sherpa Problem

With growing attention to Nepal and the Himalaya region, the Sherpa community comes into focus. When you think of a sherpa, what comes to mind? You might picture him on a snowy mountainside, wrapped in a down jacket, braving the cold winds of the Himalaya, complete with a dizzying display of ropes and metal tools slung from his harness. All of these images aren’t inaccurate. Sherpas, the ethnic group from the mountainous Khumbu (Everest) region of Nepal, have become known to Western audiences for their skill in the mountains. The region has lent many people the opportunity to work in the Himalaya, such as with climbing outfitters. Most of them take jobs as guides, porters, cooks, and others. So it’s not surprising that the term “sherpa” has become synonymous with “mountain guide.” While the depictions of Sherpas in media aren’t untrue, often a tourist-heavy western narrative dominates the voices of the Sherpa themselves, leaving a huge community of Himalaya  – which is essential to climbing in the region – voiceless and misrepresented. I recently talked …

Why You Should Be Planning Your Trip to Nepal Right Now

Nepalis and other travelers will ask me: “What are you doing in Nepal?” As far as I can see, there are two types of travelers in post-earthquake Nepal. There are volunteers, here to assist in earthquake relief, and there are tourists, who are just as essential in Nepal’s recovery. I first thought that being a tourist in Nepal during this time was odd. I couldn’t really justify “touring” the country especially after it was rocked by two devastating quakes. But after being here for a month, I’ve realized that tourism, now, shouldn’t be viewed in a bad light. In fact, it’s encouraged. In stores that normally attract tourists, like trekking gear shops, owners have said business is slow. “Normally, this time of year is the low season for tourists. But now, the earthquake has made it even more slow,” my friend and store owner, Yogi, told me the other day. These shops thrive – if not survive – on tourist money. And it’s obvious that tourists have avoided Nepal after the country’s two quakes, making …