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Seeing the Struggle and the Beauty


Emma N

25th of June, 2024


Nepal '24

There’s a specific allegory that was written by Plato, or maybe it was Socrates or some other old white guy who had way too much time on his hands, either way it’s one killer allegory. It’s called the cave allegory and it opens with three prisoners. These three prisoners are chained to a wall and can only see what’s in that cave and have no idea about the whole world outside of that one crammed space. One day a prisoner gets loose and goes out to the real world, once he’s adjusted to the light and can see the all consuming beauty of the world, he simply can’t go back to living in the cave. He tries to go back and rescue the other two prisoners, but his eyes have become so accustom to the light of the real world that he can’t make his way back to them.

There are many parallels to be drawn between the Old White Man’s allegory and this trip to Nepal. There are many things I never planned on doing in my life. Getting attacked by leeches, climbing nearly 700 feet in one day, and hitting the splits on a downward slant in the Himalayas are just a few of the unplanned happenings on the 25th of June, 2024. Although all of those things sound next to torture to some, I haven’t been this happy in an embarrassingly long time. It’s extremely hard to wrap your head around the fact that Western life isn’t the best life to live, but the cave wasn’t built to be stayed in.

The one similarity that I simply cannot find with this group and the three prisoners is the fact that the first to escape ultimately didn’t go back to get the others. Over these 15 or so days, I can confidently say that every member of our group would crawl through that cave in total darkness to drag another out. Wether it be Eliza staying by Lilly’s side throughout the intense trek today, Harper explaining the entire plot of South Park while we fought for our lives on the downward slopes, or Toby pinching me every time I make a mean comment, this group is closer than most.

Being able to step out of a culture that is so heavily reliant on independence and money into a completely diverse community isn’t easy in the slightest. But seeing the way that the local people interact with each other at each of our tea spots and hostels gives me hope for a kinder America. There are sufferings in the world that will probably never be fixed, but being aware of them and diving in head first anyways is a skill I never even dreamed of developing until I came to Nepal. Even more important than seeing the struggle is seeing the beauty that is packed around the edges in the form of Monasteries and Sherpa soup at the end of a 6 hour hike through Nepal.



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