02 Jun

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Jacim

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Annapurna Sanctuary – The Journey

When I saw the movie about Island Peak Expedition for the first time, it had left me breathless. All I kept saying was: if only I could see this with my own eyes! And then I was told it was quite possible – all I needed to do is start climbing mountains, in Serbia for a start, and if I liked it, I should just pack and go on The Journey. ‘It is not just a journey’, I was told, not a simple transfer from one destination to another, but a Journey that lasts a long time even after you actually get back to your home town. And it was the truth. It’s a Journey where you get to meet some wonderful travel mates, you get to learn about a completely different country, people and culture, and most of all, you discover a completely different, new and better yourself…and you let others meet her, too…

Ever since I got back, my friends keep asking: ‘What happened to you over there? What did you do? Where does this gleam in your eyes come from? The smile on your face, the calm in your every move?’ I don’t have a particular answer for them.

What did we do, indeed?

We walked, we climbed up and down, we descended, we ascended and descended again… Down the hills, by the rivers, over the streams, bridges, through the villages, woods…. Oh, and what woods! Woods of blossoming rhododendrons, woods smelling of earth, jasmine, spring, air… Oh, yes, air! Air with no pollution, smoke, evaporations, chemicals, fresheners…Pure, clear, real air! Air that smells of oxygen. Back at home, I use to buy air fresheners that you plug in and you get the ‘smell’ of a spring breeze, mowed grass or blossoming garden…Hahahaha, seriously? What a fake!

There I was breathing the morning breeze, and trust me, no chemistry can imitate that.
I watched the sun rise behind 7000m mountain, splashing the gold color all around and turning the grey scenery of dawn into the shades of rainbow…I strolled on rhododendron petals, stone stairways, melting snow…Walked along the edge of cliffs, rickety bridges, streams running down the hills, scrambled up the steep rocks, walked through the mud on a rainy night, with nothing but a head light on…I was swimming in hot springs, showering with cold water; I slept in a bag, waking up before dawn to catch the sunrises… I ate momo, veggie noodle soup, Tibetan bread, drank ginger-lemon tea…And I was watching those mountains…with my own eyes…

Magnificent, calm, white…

Mountains with summits where wild wind lifts the clouds of snow making them look like smoke of invisible fires… Mountains so grey, horrible, deserted and sad in their solitude… Mountains green, blossoming, sprinkled with villages, or blue roofs of lodges that await those tired trekkers…

And I was indeed that perfectly tired trekker…

Exhausted from walking, from fresh, thin air, from incredible impressions, new and unique, day by day. Not from sitting in a chair, phone calls, emails, meetings. Tired from the Nature itself, which can and will take away the last morsel of your strength, but in return will infuse you with a new form of energy, different, stronger, powerful, noble… Energy that is being kept by and within those mountains, energy which the more they give, the more they retain… And you want it and need it, more and more… you want to embrace it, hold it and take it with you…

And those who are lucky, succeed…

And feel grateful…

I hold it within, store and share, not fearing it will ever vanish… being a memory I’ve never brought from any other journey I took…

For this was The Journey.

Pavlica Papovic
Extreme Summit Team

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