Tag Archives: Nepal

the toe

26 Nov

A few days (5!) before we left for our trip to Asia, I was carrying laundry down the stairs in the dark (because why shed light on the situation, right?) and missed the last step. In my graceful fall to the ground I rolled over my big toe. It hurt. I laid there for a moment thinking SHIT. I got up and tried to walk it off. When I told Brian what happened, I downplayed the whole thing and acted as if it didn’t hurt that bad because I didn’t want to worry him but I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I iced it that night and tried to go to sleep, but the pain was so intense it was hard to sleep.The bad feeling in the pit of my stomach grew. When I woke up in the morning, it felt worse. I couldn’t put any weight on it and it was a huge swollen mess. Not the best situation when you’re about to leave for a three-week trip that involves TREKKING in Nepal. As you can imagine use of a foot is a big part of the equation.

I mean, seriously fucked, right?

I spent the whole day lying on the couch following a treatment plan I found on the internet- R.I.C.E, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. I also did some praying and bargaining with God to restore my foot to good condition. Despite my best efforts, by nightfall I still couldn’t walk and my foot was still a huge swollen mess. SHIT. When my mom caught wind of the situation, she insisted I get x-rays so I could know what I was working with. I told her I had already diagnosed myself online with a sprained toe and was going to be just fine; there was no point in wasting time and money by going to the doctor. But she can be very bossy in situations like this and she pretty much forced me against my will into the car. As I was incapacitated, I wasn’t able to fight back. So off to the orthopedic doctor we went.

Enter in Dr. Irwin, a sweet old man, who took one look at my swollen mess of a toe and said, “there’s blood in there and that usually means you have a break.” I fought back tears and told him that I was leaving for Nepal in four days for a trek through the Himalayas and that I really hoped he was wrong because I needed my toe.

He raised his bushy grey eyebrows to this and said, “Oh I see. Why Nepal?”

“Well, my fiance and I found a great deal online and we decided to take the leap and book it. We’ve been planning it for months”, I said

“That’s a shame. Can I ask you a personal question?”, he asked.

“Sure”, I said a bit confused

“How did you and your fiance meet?”

“We went to high school together and reconnected ten years later”, I said.

“Ahhh I see. I only ask because I have a daughter and she’s twenty-seven and she’s not married. I’m not sure where she’s supposed to meet a husband. Where do people meet husbands anymore? Twenty-seven and she’s not even dating anyone!”

Thankfully, before I had to engage in the conversation further, the x-ray technician walked in to take me to take me to another room. I hobbled down the hallway while I bargained with God some more.

Please God don’t let it be broken…I can’t cancel this trip…Brian would be soooo disappointed…pleaseeeeee don’t let it be broken….I’ll do anything…I’ll even help Dr. Irwin find his daughter a husband! Just don’t let my toe be broken. Pleaaaaasssseee.

Five minutes later, Dr. Irwin had my x-rays in hand and said with a sense of accomplishment, “I was right, there’s the break!” and circled a spot on the x-ray. I squinted and said, “You mean that miniscule rice shaped piece of bone next to my big toe?”

“Yep!”, he said

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was just SO ridiculous. It was such a ridiculous looking break! Of course that’s how I’d go down.

Dr. Irwin went through my options-

1. Cancel my trip to Nepal

or

2. Trek with the broken toe and hope that I had a high pain threshold.

I went with option 2, asked for a vicodin prescription (helps take the edge off) and boarded a plane to Asia!

…and we’re off!!!

1 Nov

(me in my new sleeping bag)

We leave for our big adventure today! Hong Kong and Nepal here we come!! I can’t wait to share it with you when we get back! See you soon.

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“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”- Les Brown

prayer flags

18 Oct

the travel doctor

8 Oct

On Friday afternoon, Brian and I paid a visit to the travel doctor in preparation for our upcoming Nepal trip. Can you tell by the photos above what a baby I am with shots and what a badass Brian is? You would think that with five tattoos, I would behave way cooler around a needle than this. But no, I turned my head like a wimp and let out an audible sigh when pricked. Brian, on the other hand, gave me that “no big deal” look when receiving his shot. Although in my defense I did have to get THREE different shots ( Hep A, Hep B and Tetanus) and Brian only had to get ONE, since he was up to date on the others.The whole experience was quite a shock to the system. I left the office feeling incredibly prepared for illness as well as terrified about all the possibilities.

During our visit, I learned that we will be in areas where we could contract Malaria, so we got a prescription for Malarone pills to prevent this. These pills can have psychiatric side effects! That should be interesting!

Speaking of prescriptions, we each walked out of there with seven others. We could start a clinic over here with all our pills!

– We have vaccine pills to prevent contracting Typhiod fever

– We have Diamox to prevent altitude sickness

– We have Medrol in case despite our efforts to prevent altitude sickness we still get altitude sickness

– We have Tamiflu in case we catch the flu while there

– We have Zithromax in case we need antibiotics when there

– We have Ondansetron for nausea

– and lastly we have Florastor which are probiotics for our stomachs

As if getting three shots and talking about Malaria wasn’t fun enough, I also had to pay a $435.00 dollars for my visit. I mean, seriously?!

When we got home from the doctor’s appointment, Brian happily walked around the house in his new hiking boots to continue breaking them in for the trek and I googled Typhoid fever and poured myself a glass of wine. Says so much, huh?

the universe has rearranged itself

14 Sep

If somebody had told me a few months ago that the above photo would constitute as my fall boot shopping this year, I would have told them they were on drugs. Kate McClafferty does not buy hideous looking hiking boots in September, she buys gorgeous new leather boots for christ’s sake. But I guess the universe has rearranged itself or something, because I could be found shopping for hiking boots Wednesday night at REI. Totally against brand, as my friend Alison would say.

Ever since we booked the trip to Nepal, Brian has been telling me that I needed to get a pair of serious hiking boots for the trip, ones with better support, especially for my ankles. I kept telling him I could do the trek in my tennis shoes and he just kept giving me a look. Yes, that look, the look that tells you somebody thinks you are insane. I was putting up a good fight regarding my tennis shoes until I started reading the memoir, “Wild”, about a woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail by herself and the way in which she describes the state of her feet during the trek has left me with a deep sense of appreciation for my feet, as well as a deep sense of fear. She gets more blisters than she knows what to do with, her feet bleed and her toenails fall off. HER TOENAILS FALL OFF? Ummmm…count me out of that whole situation. I like my toenails and have no desire to lose any. With that being said, I finally agreed to get serious hiking boots and off to REI we went.

When we got to the women’s shoe section I walked up to the boots and almost started laughing when I noticed that some of the boots where 350 dollars- 350 dollars for hiking boots?! That’s crazy talk. I’d rather buy that buttery leather jacket at Club Monaco I’d been eyeing for the last week. So I grabbed the cutest looking boot I could find on the lowest shelf and asked the sweet, goofy REI employee named David, to grab me a size 9. David asked me what I was “looking for in a hiking boot” (still don’t know how to answer this question) and “where will you be hiking”. While holding the cheapest boot to my chest I meekly replied, “I’m going on a 10 day trek in Nepal”. David gave me that look, that same look Brian’s been giving me recently. So I put the boot back down and asked what he would suggest.

Ten minutes later, I was climbing on fake rocks in the middle of the REI store in 350 dollar hiking boots while David asked me how my toes where feeling…

…yes the universe has most definitely rearranged itself.

eye of the tiger

10 Sep

Considering Brian and I leave for Nepal in seven weeks, we decided that it was time to get serious. We needed a plan- a training schedule of sorts to build up our stamina, so that our 10 day trek at high altitude through the Himalayas isn’t a painful experience. Ok, let’s be honest, it’s probably me who needs the training schedule  if I am going to survive a 10 day trek through the Himalayas, but let’s just say “we” anyway. If I were a betting woman I would say that our friends and families are less concerned about how Brian is going to fare in this whole situation.

Perfect case in point- on Friday night I met Brian and his friend Ramsey for a drink. The minute I sat down out the table Ramsey told me that he heard about our upcoming trip, then he laughed (a very loud and guttural laugh) and told me that he thought I was going to die on the trek. Yes, he was being playful (I hope). Yes, he had had a few margarita’s (too many) but still…this is a bad sign, right? Not only does the image of me trekking produce a guttural laugh from a person I barely know but it also inspires jokes about death!

I will say that I got a laugh out of imagining myself hanging from a helicopter in a rescue basket while being airlifted out of the Himalayas. We all did actually. Brian also assured me that if this happens he will take lots of pictures for the blog, on his fancy high-resolution camera no less.

Trust me, I can understand why people are unsure about me on this trek. I’m a sensitive girl and I don’t just mean emotionally. I happen to have the world’s most sensitive stomach. It’s easily affected by changes in diet, travel and stress. Brian learned this first hand when I spent most of our trip to Nicaragua with a stomach ache on a pool chair. I’m also incredibly sensitive to the cold. My extremities have been known to turn a ghastly blueish white in the winter months…in LA. In case you didn’t know, LA isn’t known for its cold weather.

When you look up the word “rugged” in the dictionary you’re probably not going to find a picture of me accompanying it. But i’d like to think that what I lack in physical strength, I make up for with spirit.

So when the opportunity arose to trek through the Himalayas, an overly confident, “YES!!”  rolled out of my mouth, and it was only after I received an email from Earthbound Expeditions, the organization we will be trekking with, entitled “how to prepare for your trek” did I realize that I may have gotten myself in over my head.

You mean, I don’t just show up for this trek? I need to prepare for it??

Clearly a training schedule was needed. Cue the Rocky theme song music, please.

The plan- complete one very long hike every weekend until we leave on the trip. This weekend we tackled a 5.5 mile hike up a trail called Paseo Miramar in the Santa Monica mountains. Note- this trail has a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean the entire way up but has no shade cover. None. And the sun was a punishing sun yesterday. It kinda made me feel like I was going insane by hour two. I swear I saw Jesus. It was so hot in fact that I got to witness a girl get rescued by the fire department for suffering from heat stroke. It was a pretty dramatic scenario. There was a helicopter and everything. I’m just happy it wasn’t me because that would have been a truly embarrassing start to this whole training thing.

Here is a photo of Brian in a sliver of shade we found. He looks so happy doesn’t he?

and here’s a picture of us at the top!

After one hike I am feeling very confident that I will NOT die while trekking. I got this.

1 down! 7 more to go!!

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Don’t let the door hit you on the way out summer.

5 Sep

In case you didn’t gather from the title of this blog, post summer isn’t my favorite season. This admission probably just garnered me some hate mail, but it’s the truth. When I told my mom and Brian my feelings about summer, they both looked at me as if I had just said something personally offensive to them. I guess people feel pretty strongly about summer. I’m not saying summer is all bad. I, too, enjoy long days, afternoon BBQ’s and the beach, but I find that I get tired of it all rather quickly and then I’m just hot…hot, drained and unfocused.

I much prefer the fall and winter months. I love fog. I love rain. I love bundling up in cozy sweaters. I love spending grey afternoons writing. I love the holidays. I love wearing boots. I love wearing leather jackets and scarves. I love crisp air. I love Christmas lights. I love fall movies. I love pumpkin spice lattes and gingerbread cookies. I love all things cozy. I do cozy really well. I also find that I feel more creative and alive in the fall and winter months and, well, I would welcome that feeling right about now.

While I know it’s not officially fall just yet, I have decided that now that it’s September, I’m going to act like it is. I’ve picked out soup recipes to make, changed my closet over to sweaters and boots, painted my nails grey, my toes blood-red and I even…dyed my hair brown! For some reason that felt like the biggest F-U to summer.

Kate McClafferty has brown hair now, Summer!

Not only do I love fall and winter but they are shaping up to be a pretty fun travel filled few months. We are heading to North Carolina at the end of September with Brian’s family for a wedding. While I have never met the people getting married, I do love a good wedding, enjoy traveling with Brian’s parents and I’ve never been to North Carolina before! Win, win, win. Then in October, I head to Ojai for a yoga retreat with my favorite yoga teacher and sweet friend Jennifer Pastiloff. Her “manifestation retreats” are known to be life-changing, amazing and FUN. I mean there is even going to be Karaoke yoga! Oh and wine. So again this is a win. Then, on November 2nd, Brian and I take off on our adventure to Nepal…with a stop in Hong Kong first! Hong Kong was a recent addition and I am excited about it. We have to stop there anyway on a layover and have decided to make a trip out of it. Why land in Hong Kong, and not see it right?? When we get back from our trip,(if I survive the 10 day trek) the craziness of the holidays begin- my absolute favorite time of year! Then, somehow, it will be 2013? WHAAAAAT?

Are you guys as excited for the change of seasons as I am???

Signed,

your brown-haired blogger friend Kate

“Can’t we go somewhere with a pool?”

28 Aug

Recently, I paid a visit to my mom’s house to have breakfast, do laundry (yes, I still go to my mothers to do laundry. Hey, it’s a hell of a lot better than going to a laundromat in my opinion. Does your laundromat serve you scrambled eggs?? I think not) and tell her all about our upcoming trip to Nepal.

I was going on and on and on about our 10 day trek through the mountains, the Buddhist temples we will see, the food we will eat and showing her lots and lots of pictures of  animals that we will see during our time in the Chitwan National Park –  a Bengal tiger! A one horned Rhinoceros! A crocodile!

When I was done, I looked over and realized that not only did my mom look excited for me but she looked rather amused.

“What’s so funny, Mom”? I asked

She said, “I was just thinking back to when you were a little girl, maybe 7, and I wanted to take you on an African safari during your summer break. I thought it would be any kid’s dream to go to Africa and see all these amazing animals. I was so excited to tell you the news. After explaining that we would be in an open air jeep and sleeping in tents, I looked over and realized you looked pained.

and you said “Can’t we just go somewhere with a pool”?

“Can’t we just go somewhere with a pool??”- I mean really, Kate. A pool won out over an African safari? I’m not quite sure when I became a fan of adventure. When I was a kid, I hated most things that involved being “uncomfortable”. I hated summer camps- especially the organized activity part. I hated swimming in the ocean- so much sand. I hated skiing- so much snow. I hated strenuous things in general.

My, my, how things have changed. Now there is nothing that excites me more than going on an adventure and my fondest memories from my twenties include my travels. My time couchsurfing (translation- sleeping in strangers homes) through Panama still takes the cake.

I got such a laugh out of picturing my 7-year-old self with a pained look saying…”Can’t we just go somewhere with a pool?”

What a brat.

Although, I will admit that I still get glimpses of her sometimes. I definitely looked a bit pained the other day when Brian read me the below paragraph from our Nepal guide-book…

“Outside Kathmandu and Pokhara, the “squat toilet” is the norm…

next to the squat toilet is a bucket and/or tap, which has a twofold function; flushing the toilet and cleaning the nether regions (with the left hand only) while still squatting over the toilet…”,

To which I replied, “please tell me that was a joke”

*

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”

Helen Keller

Currently on my nightstand

22 Aug

Last night I went to put my glass of water on my nightstand and couldn’t find any room…it has become overrun with books! Here’s the rundown…

1. Lonely Planet Nepal– As I mentioned on Monday, Brian and I are going to Nepal in November! We are seriously excited. Is it November yet?? The first thing we did after buying the tickets, was head to the bookstore (yes a few still exist) to buy books. To say I have become obsessed with researching Nepal would be an understatement. Swayambhunath, I’m coming for you!

2. Blue highways– I bought this book before I left on my road trip across the USA last year. Sadly, I still have not read it. At least I accomplished driving across the country!! I have high hopes that I will get to reading it at some point soon, so for that reason it stays on my nightstand.

3. The Spontaneous fulfillment of Desire– I have read this book a million times and every time I do I find something new to love about it. It makes me remember that the world is a pretty magical place.

“I do not believe in meaningless coincidences. I believe every coincidence is a message, a clue about a particular facet of our lives that requires our attention.” – Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment Of Desire

4. The Color Of Water– This was given to me as a present for my 30th birthday last month and it’s fast become one of my favorites. I am almost finished with it and I can’t say enough about it. Such beautiful writing on it’s pages. Love it. Go buy it.

“And when James asked what color God was, she said, God is the color of water.” 
– James McBride, The Color Of Water

5. The Alchemist- I am sure many of you have read this one considering how famous it’s become. It is my favorite book of all time. Yet another one that reminds me that the world is a magical place and that we all have a purpose to fulfill.

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

6. Wild- Just bought this book  at my mother’s insistence. She thought it would give me inspiration for my book. Considering the woman knows me pretty well, I did as I was told.

7. FIfty Shades Of Darker- I know. I know. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have read two out of three of these. I will say that after finishing this one (in two days…they are an easy read) I decided that I’m not reading the third. I’m done with the saga.

8. I Feel Bad About My Neck– I love Nora Ephron. LOVE. She is a huge inspiration to me as a writer and this book is one of my favorites. fifty

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
― Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

9. Awaken The Giant Within– I have mentioned in prior posts that I have been to a Tony Robbins seminar in the past (keep your laughter to yourself). I know people have mixed messages about him but I happen to find this book a helpful tool in living my best life.I re-read it often.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Tony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within 

What books are on your nightstand??? I would love to know!

Nepal

20 Aug

Big news! Big news! You know how one of my goals for the year was to take a big trip with Brian? Preferably an overseas trip to a destination that neither of us have ever been to? Well, we booked a trip to Nepal on Friday night! Yes, NEPAL. I get seriously giddy every time I say it. I am going to Nepal in November. NEPPPPPPAAALLLL. The land of The Himalayas, Buddhist temples, elephants, tigers and oh the tallest peak in the world Mount Everest.

We have both been itching for a big adventure but were unclear on where we wanted to go. We have been throwing around ideas for the last few weeks. Thailand? Cambodia? Laos? Croatia? Argentina? Truthfully, we both would love to go everywhere, so there wasn’t a trip that sounded bad. So we decided to keep our eyes peeled for deals and see what felt right. Cut to Wednesday night. We were lying in bed on our computers and Brian came across a “trekking and yoga” trip in Nepal. We were both instantly excited by the idea. Brian is a fan of trekking, photographing landscapes  and he’s always wanted to go to Nepal- it’s on his short list. I am a fan of yoga, spiritual places (remember last years trip to a Buddhist monastery?), adventure and breathtaking scenery, so I was sold.  I also read that I will get to ride an elephant while there. I mean, amazing, right?

I will admit  that I am a little nervous about the whole trekking thing. When you think Kate McClafferty, you don’t see trekking either, do you? It’s ok. I’m not offended. I’m having a hard time picturing it as well. But I am always game for a good adventure and, I thought…if one was to ever go on a trek in their lifetime, what better place to trek than through Nepal. It’s kinda like the world’s trekking capital. So what that I will be walking for 6 hours a day. Totally doable, right? No. Big. Deal. In a moment of panic I did say to Brian that I hope I don’t die while trekking. He told me he thinks I am being a bit dramatic. Me, dramatic?

I’ve decided to just focus on the fact that I am going to Nepal in November with the man I love, instead of worrying about the whole trekking thing. After we booked the trip, I proceeded to spend the rest of the evening scouring the internet for pictures, blogs and info about Nepal. Getting more and more excited with each new picture. I am going to NEPAL!

Here are a few of my favorite shots…Oh and have any of you ever been to Nepal? Any tips?

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“That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter much whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home.

–  Edward Abbey