For the soldiers of our expedition, Kathmandu has brought back memories of a city not a million miles away from here, and despite what you may think, it's not actually a negative. "It's absolutely incredible how much Kathmandu reminds me of Kandahar!" Corey tells me. He is positively radiating and I am somewhat surprised.
"The architecture is really similar, but it was the smoke and burning refuse that I could smell during the night that really brought back memories," he laughs. I am curious about his positivism and ask him why. "What I remember primarily of Afghanistan is the camaraderie with the other soldiers and I am really feeling that with our team." I wanted to know more, but we had to go. Our flight to Lukla was waiting.
Fourteen of us flew out on the first flight which was exhilarating, but unfortunately Nepal being Nepal, the rest of our team weren't so lucky and were delayed until the early afternoon. After our dramatic arrival Michelle, Roseanna, Neal and Corey spoke to me about how the steep descent into Lukla reminded them of contour flying in Afghanistan, where planes fly low to avoid detection and vulnerability. Their shared memories were almost tangible.
Over breakfast, Michelle told me about how thrilled she was that her local Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle club were raising funds for the True Patriot Love Foundation by holding sponsored rides.
With the team reunited and as darkness fell, we ended a beautiful day walking happy but tired by head torch into Phakding, thus ending the first day of our expedition. What echoed in my mind that evening were Corey's words. "As a Reservist I had to volunteer to go overseas and it was a privilege to serve my country. This whole expedition and uniting with these vets makes me nostalgic for what was an adventure of a lifetime."
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