Connections you make on trekking adventures are probably my favorite. Meeting people on trails in the middle of nowhere is vastly different than meeting someone at some random city bar. Whether you are travelling together as part of an organised group or simply seeing the same people on the trails each day heading to the summit – you are enduring the challenge together. Smiles act as symbols of encouragement when the trail gets difficult. Chocolate becomes an offering of sustenance as the camp food becomes boring. Late-night, fireside chatter becomes the foundation of lifelong friendships. This shared experience not only creates bonds, but does so bringing diverse people together in ways I haven’t experienced elsewhere.
One of those bonds I always look forward to on these trips is with my trekking guide. Prem Tamang was our fearless OUT Adventures leader as we headed through Nepal’s Everest Region towards Everest Base Camp. Having led trekkers through the Himalayas for many years, Prem knew his way around the trails and took the headache out of our initial flight delays out of Kathmandu. He literally wheeled and dealed with the locals to get us on the first plane out the following day and made reshuffling our pre-booked tea house accommodations for the 15-day trek seem like a piece of cake. What a champ.
It was clear that Prem loved his country and shared a similar passion for all things Everest. We spent a lot of time on the trails sharing stories about pretty much every topic under the sun – including our experiences in the mountains and life in Nepal. Getting the gist that I had a real appreciation for Mt. Everest, he introduced me to some of the region’s most accomplished Sherpas including Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa – 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. While technically capable of doing the trip unassisted, it was special moments like these that our guide Prem created that I will never forget.
Meet Prem Tamang.
Name: Prem Tamang
Home Base: Nuwakot, Nepal
//HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
I was born in the countryside of the Nepal into a family of farmers. When I grew up I moved away from the village to find a job to secure a better life for my family. When I came to Kathmandu I met with a relative who was working in the travel industry. I joined his trekking company and assisted as a porter during the trekking season. I ended up being a trekkers porter for six years and used my savings to learn English. I started to do the course work to become an official trekking guide and worked as an assistant guide for three years. Once I completed my trekking guide training, I began working as the trek leader on trips throughout Nepal with companies like OUT Adventures.
//WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT GUIDING?
My favourite part of guiding is when I first meet my clients. I like to get to know their personalities and understand what they hope to get on their tour. I also like to share with them information how friendly we are and about the lifestyles of the locals.
//WHAT IS IT ABOUT NEPAL THAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO KNOW?
Nepal altitudes start at 60m above sea level and goes to 8848m at Mt. Everest. It is 800km long and almost 200 km wide and as a result provides many activities for all travellers. Nepal has beautiful plans for wildlife safaris in places like Bardiya National Park and Chitwan National Park. We of course have hilly & mountain regions for kayaking, white water rafting, paragliding, trekking and peak climbing. The Everest Region is the most popular in Nepal, but we also have the Annapurna Region near Pokhara which is a great place for trekking. Nepal is also a culturally diverse country. You will see many different art styles, culture and customs throughout the country.
//WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE PREPARING FOR A TRIP TO NEPAL?
Just remember that Nepal is a developing country. While there is infrastructure and development, not all regions will have this. I would always advise guests to Nepal to book tours with companies that use local use guides or local companies. Local know how goes a long way to making your trip successful in more remote places. For travellers coming to Nepal for trekking, be physically fit and prepared for high altitude trekking/climbing. Guides can help keep you safe for your high-altitude treks and help support your success.
*DomOnTheGo: Safety is paramount on high-altitude treks. If you decide to take to the trails on your own, be sure to educate yourself on the effects of high-altitude and how to properly acclimatize. This not only makes the difference between whether you succeed or not, but also whether you risk more serious repercussions.
//WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AS A GUIDE?
My most memorable moment as a guide was when I led my first OUT Adventures tour. It was my first time leading a LGBTQ group through the mountains. While there are different views of acceptance in Nepal, I was happy to operate the trip. I was a bit nervous at first as I didn’t know what to expect but everything went smoothly and we had a great trip.
*DomOnTheGo: Nepal is pretty progressive in terms of legislative protection for LGBTQ people, but like anywhere in the world discrimination can occur. Keeping your wits about you is advice that you can take anywhere. One of the key reasons I join OUT Adventure trips is because they work with open-minded and supportive people like Prem. OUT Adventures’ guides go the extra mile to ensure you as a LGBTQ traveller have a safe and fun trip.
Please note the Q&A Edited For Clarity
If you are looking for more information on Everest and how we tackled our trip, be sure to check out the below posts.