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Essay: Staying Safe

Many years ago I traveled to Nepal with seven women to trek in the Himalayas.  One member of the group—I’ll call her Janet—had researched everything and liked to share her what she’d learned.  Such as Nepal being the second poorest country in the world, such as the dangers of being robbed or contracting food poisoning.


Since most of us had traveled before, we were aware of the risks and willing to take them. Our  touring company assured us that their cooks had received scrupulous training and we decided to trust them.  Everyone except Janet who announced that she would be eating only cooked rice and drinking bottled water.  

We hiked in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas and as we passed through native villages, our cooks purchased local produce which later turned up in delicious meals.  Our favorite was dhal bat, a lentil stew with vegetables and lots of cumin and curry served on rice.  The local beer was good, too, and we were grateful for it.

Janet, meanwhile, stuck with her cooked rice and bottled water.  And, strangely enough, at the end of the trip, she was the only one who became seriously ill.  I’ve thought about her during the recent coronavirus pandemic.  It’s a balancing act for each of us:  living our lives and saving our lives.