Episode 47: Trekking the Himalayas with Robin Boustead
Nepal is famous for having the world’s highest peaks, the Himalayas, and most travelers know the country is a hotspot for trekking, and likely have such a trip on their bucket list. But Nepal and trekking is much more than just big mountains. This ‘small’ Himalayan nation on the map would actually be about the size of the US if flattened out – it’s huge! In just 230km the country rises from its southern border at 70m to 8,848m in the north. That’s some serious vertical gain! The country has pretty much every climate covered and a lifetime of walking to be done. Our guest today, Robin Boustead, has been working on what must be one of the world’s longest walks for more than a decade, the Great Himalaya Trail. Going through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, it’s over 6,000km long and looks incredible. We chat with him about how the Trail came about and how travelers can enjoy it.
Before Trevor moved to Thailand, he really enjoyed hiking and camping, and had done quite a bit in Vermont, California, and New Zealand, particularly, though he has done a bit of trekking around Southeast Asia as well. He explains that he always finds something spiritual about sitting atop a majestic peak and looking out over the land. So, although Trevor has never been to the Himalayas, he feels that he understands why Buddhists in Tibet have always considered their mountains spiritual places. Trevor says that he would love to at least visit Nepal, , where he knows there are some amazing treks.
Since 2006 Scott has been lucky enough to visit Nepal about eight times, and says he has done 5-6 treks in various regions. It’s really incredible to walk for days, village to village, with a talented crew carrying your gear, and have sweeping views pretty much all the time, he explains. While Scott says he felt like he has covered a lot of ground while trekking, when looking at a map he realizes that he has barely scratched the surface! This really is a massive country he declares.
Trevor says that he understands a lot of the trails in Nepal follows some really high elevation trekking, and there are a number of factors involved, weather and altitude to be sure. He is sure that doing any part of the trail in India, Nepal, or Bhutan would be an unforgettable experience, but it seems to him that you would want to be in relatively decent physical fitness and have some decent gear, such as comfy hiking shoes and a pretty decent coat to protect you from the wind and rain or snow. Trevor suggests that maybe this is some information that our guest can shed some light on.
Today’s Guest: Robin Boustead – Scott explains that their guest today is truly one of the world’s great modern travel pioneers. In a day and age when many places are receiving throngs of travelers, you can get Google street-views of much of the world, and photos of seemingly everywhere are just a click away, Robin Boustead has gone well beyond the typical guidebook and travel website. Over the last decade he’s pioneered a more than 6,000km long trekking route that spans the entire Himalaya mountain range, east to west, providing travelers the opportunity to navigate some of the world’s most remote and toughest terrain. Welcome to Talk Travel Asia Robin!
Now and hear Robin Boutstead’s answers to the following questions:
Scott: Where are you now? When did you first visit the Himalayas and what captivated you about the area?
Trevor: What did you do in your previous life prior to pioneering this route – is it now a full time job?
Scott: When people think trekking, they for the most part think Nepal; is this the best place to trek the Himalayas, or are other countries just as good and nice?
Trevor: We’ll get to the Great Himalaya Trail, but first, for those that have not been to Nepal or the Himalaya, what is it like and what can people expect from a trek (is it all high altitude trekking)?
Scott: Where did the idea for the Great Himalaya Trail come from and how has it been developed?
Trevor: I see that people can attempt sections of the Trail. What are some of the best parts to start with, then what are some of the most beautiful and challenging?
Scott: If someone wants to do a section of the Great Himalaya Trail how do they go about it – can they do it on their own – or need they hire a trekking company?
Trevor: What’s your hope for trekking throughout the region going forward?
Scott: What are some of your favorite parts of the trail?
Trevor: How about accommodation: what’s the camping like? or do you stay in huts along the way?
Scott: What’s next for Robin Boustead?
About our guest:
- Great Himalaya Trail
- Robin’s book: Nepal Trekking and the Great Himalaya Trail – A Route and Planning Guide
To learn more about Scott & Trevor:
- Follow Scott on Twitter: @scottcoates73
- Trevor’s Blog
- Scott’s Blog
- Groovy Map Seoul
- National Geographic Cambodia
- National Geographic Thailand
- Follow Talk Travel Asia on Twitter
- Follow us on Facebook
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Vine
- Theme Music by Jamie Ruben
Our Sponsor: Himalayan Trails
Himalayan Trails is a local Nepali business with an international team. They are perfectly placed to custom design journeys to fit the travel preferences of their guests, who come from all over the world and travel in a range of different styles. From long adventures to short holidays, they combine the diverse experiences on offer in Nepal with the hotels and transport suited to your way of traveling. From getting out into the mountains or the jungles and experiencing the diverse cultures through trekking, mountain biking or jungle safari, to more leisurely sojourns experiencing the famous hospitality of the Himalayas, they will design the trip for you.