Here are the top ten things we're not looking forward to when we return to the U.S.:
10. David: Okay Mike, here's what I say: work. I'm finding it hard to think about returning to a cramped office. Maybe we can move my laptop out beneath a tree.
Mike: David, we can put you up in a tent in the conference room. How's that? I'm not looking forward to telephone solicitations.
9. David: Driving. After a few days of riding in cabs in Kathmandu, I'm not sure how safe I'll be.
Mike: Junk mail, filling my mailbox for the last 20 days or so.
8. David: Ringing phones. I wonder if there's a way to make them sound like those yak bells.
Mike. That's a great idea, but then we'd never answer them—we'd just listen to them ring with serene expressions on our faces. I'm not looking forward to being cooped up inside everywhere and not being able to walk all day.
7. David: Ditto, Mike, I'm sure we'll find the scenery a bit lacking.
Mike: Oversanitation. Okay, I love that the U.S. is really, really clean, and I miss that, but surgical gloves to make a sandwich? Come on. If we survived Nepal, is this really necessary?
6. David: I'm going to have to go with malls and the zombie-like humans that inhabit them. Let's hear it for Namche Bazaar and the independent merchant.
Mike: Well David, despite your soapbox, I have to say it's nice to see enterprise at work. Now I'm afraid that the next time I go to MasterCuts in Mall St. Matthews, I'm going to try to bargain the price down. So I agree—down with malls.
5. David: Paying bills. Enough said.
Mike: Oh yeah, those—ditto.
4. David: Television, because it's intrusive, and I've done more writing on this trip than I have the past six months. But I do miss the movies.
Mike: Commercials on television. They're so annoying, and I've actually been able to concentrate on one thing at a time without being interrupted every seven minutes. It's a nice feeling.
3. David: You're on to something there, Mike—back home, we rush, rush, rush to do everything. Let's hear it for a little tranquility and a slower pace of life.
Mike: Works for me.
2. David: Home chores. Can't I just get a maid and continue to enjoy that tranquility?
Mike: Fear. Somehow, there's more paranoia and worry about everything in the U.S. than here—especially about crime. We even had a meeting with a security expert once who told us how to be aware of possible muggers and rapists lurking in parking lots. I have never, never felt that way in Nepal.
1. David: Of course not, Mike. There are no parking lots in Nepal. But my number one answer would have to be work. I thought I'd box my list nicely.
Mike: Mine is kind of work-related, too. The top thing I'm not looking forward to coming back to is… meetings. I'd rather be on Island Peak at 20,285 feet, in the snow, with frostbite, having dropped my ice axe down a crevasse than attend another meeting. All in favor, say aye.
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David Bard has been a fixture at TechRepublic for some time now. At one time, he was editor in chief of LinuxRepublic and then AdminRepublic. Currently, he occupies space as an editor in chief with TechProGuild. In addition, he’s a freelance writer who has covered extreme sports for years. He also is a writer of horror and—contrary to what his climbing partner may think—is hoping the expedition to Nepal doesn’t provide fodder for his next story. When he’s not at home teaching his year-and-a-half-old daughter why it’s not a good idea to eat rocks, or trying to convince his wife why yet another expedition really is necessary, he’s usually off in some remote section of woods trying to discover himself. He’s still looking.
Mike Jackman is an editor in chief of TechProGuild, an editor of PC Troubleshooter and Windows Support Professional, and also works as a freelance Web designer and consultant. Together with his co-editor in chief David Bard, he is traveling to Nepal to report on high-altitude technology and to climb 20,285-foot Imja Tse. In his spare time (when he can find some), Mike’s an avid devourer and writer of science fiction, parent to two perpetually adolescent cats, and a hiking enthusiast.