After a brief period of getting my sea legs on, the Caspian Sea cargo ship’s doors opened and out rolled a strange mix of overland travelers. Semi-truck drivers from all over Asia poured out alongside Westerners using all forms of transportation to traverse the landscapes to come: car, jeep, motorcycle, and hitchhike. Following closely behind were me and three other cyclists, smirking as we rolled on by the vehicle-drivers who were bound to be stuck at customs inspections for the rest of the day. This smirk was reciprocated as they sped past us hours later, waving a hearty "Good luck!". To them, this next section of the journey was only to take a few days—just a small blip on their maps. To us cyclists, this section would become our lives for the next few weeks.
I stepped outside the airplane door with a slight stumble. My eyes weighed heavy, and a peculiar odor emitted itself from my body as I raised my arms to stretch. My brain, whirring noticeably slower than usual, managed to weakly loft up a plan: immigration, bicycle, SIM card, taxi, sleep.
I slumped down the rickety hostel staircase on an early, dreary morning. My crusty, half asleep eyes were forced open, and I looked up above the reception desk to an improvised sign of nails and duct tape reading: “Wel Come your stay to Kathmandu Madhuban Guest House”.