By Hope A. Bauman
Bosque Class of 2008
University of Vermont Class of 2012
In the summer of 2012, I traveled to the Mustang region of Nepal with the University of Vermont (UVM) and the Above the Clouds adventure trekking company. The Mustang region is extremely rural, but beautiful, as it is the region in which the Annapurna Mountain Range rests. Mustang also represents one of the most politically volatile areas in Nepal because it shares a border with Tibet, and therefore, remains a region that reveals the truth behind the Nepalese saying that “Nepal is a country resting between two giants”—those “two giants” would, of course, be the quickly developing nations of India and China.
Finally, the Mustang region faces a cultural crossroads as an area that remains largely isolated from modernity, but still a region in which tourism is quickly increasing, despite the historical Nepali bans and caps for how many people can enter the region per year. Thus, the UVM trekking group studied the delicate balance between modernization and cultural preservation in the region. This included looking at changes in Tibetan Buddhism, the environment, art, technology, social order, etc. I trekked through Nepal for about two months and visited many sacred Hindu and Buddhist sites, and climbed some pretty high mountains. Overall, it was an eye-opening experience and I hope to return someday.
Hope plans to continue her studies and is currently applying to grad school for the fall of 2013.
Photos by Hope Bauman