Pokhara is 200m lower that Kathmandu, and therefore warmer. I’m staying in a nice hotel which requires arrival by canoe since it’s on an island on a lake. My room has heating, a shower, and a mattress more than an inch thick. I’m very happy.

I’m on my own now so I organise to take in a few sights while I’m here, visiting the Mountain Museum, The Peace Temple, and the amazing Gurkha Museum (The Gurkha’s are still actively recruited and trained in Pokhara). But the most incredible sight by far came from the 5 am trip to Sarangkot to witness the sunrise over the Himalayas. Stunning. So peaceful. Just me and 100 Chinese tourists with very large camera’s and tripods!!

The twenty-minute flight back arrived without the need to “brace, brace”, the time passing pleasantly, particularly when discovering the lady sat next to me was returning to their hotel to wait for her husband, who was busy training the new Gurkha recruits. They were then flying home. To Aldershot – a base for the British Gurkha’s. It was at the Aldershot Buddhist Temple that I made the connections with the Lama that I was now staying with. Small world.

“Eerrm, so you want my phone? No electronics allowed? No Wi-Fi? No internet? No outside contact?” As the Monk at “check in” takes my electronics and my passport, I’m escorted though the grounds of Kopan Monastery to my room. Back to basics. No heat, immersion shower, single bed, a small wardrobe and a bin.

This is the real deal. This is what I came for. It’s amazing, for reasons I could have never imagined. I’m learning to meditate, for six days while also gaining an understanding of Buddhism. It’s a subject I know a little about, but this education is really eye-opening.