What defines a journey? Annapurna Circuit, Nepal.
By Eric Bennett
Right now I am currently on a flight back home from New York. What I usually do to pass the time while flying from one place to another is reflect on past travels and adventures while listening to my usual playlist. Listening to music while you are making memories helps to make them more vivid and easier to retrieve and relive in your mind later on. Right now the one that is sticking out the most is my most recent trip I made to Nepal.
I decided to go to Nepal in April to hike the entire Annapurna Circuit. While trying to gather information, everytime I searched about it, an avalanche incident would come up that happened last October. Around 80 people died, half of them were foreigners and the other half were Nepalis. It was the biggest tragedy that had happened in the entire history of the circuit being open. I was a little nervous being there in very snowy conditions and hiking through extreme blizzards at insane altitudes.
Thank God we all got through it ok and had an amazing experience. While on the trail, I met some amazing friends both Nepalese and Foreigners that I will never forget. After finishing the circuit, I flew out of Nepal and on to Turkey, leaving my friends behind in Kathmandu and Pokhara. To my shock, it was just a couple weeks later that the catastrophic 7.8 earthquake struck just between Kathmandu and Pokhara, killing thousands of people. For several days I wasn't able to get in contact with any of my friends, I felt so useless not being in Nepal and I wished I was still there so I could have helped out. I thought "why me? Why did I get out just in time and my friends were the ones left behind?"
Frusterated and feeling useless, I decided to do my best to help out. The same day of the earthquake, I received an email from a friend who owns a non profit organization in Utah, Wasatch Mountain Arts. He had started a fundraiser and was asking me to share it and donate what I could. I thought, how genius, I have a whole 50GB of Nepal photos, why don't I sell them to raise money? The next day I got to work and edited a decent amount of my favorite photos from my trip and put them on my site, www.bennettfilm.com/photo. I shared it on my Instagram and Facebook profiles asking people to donate by purchasing my prints and all of the profits would be donated to help Nepal. After only a few purchases in the first few hours, I was still feeling inadequate and useless. I decided to email a friend for help. A couple of months prior to my trip in Nepal, I was contacted by Tony Hawk who was planning a trip to Iceland. He said he enjoyed my photos and wanted to know where I would reccommend that he should go. Because of this, I still had his email and figured he would be willing to help out. I asked him to share it on his social media and within an hour he had it up on his instagram, twitter, and facebook. Within 24 hours I had raised almost $800 in profit. The next day I hit $1000. The emails were overwhelming, order after order I felt more and more like I had made it back home for a reason. If I had still been in Nepal, I could have shoveled rubbel, mourned with the people, and maybe done some good, but I would have been stuck there with limited resources. I would never have been able to raise the money that I did. My friends ended up contacting me and to my relief they were all ok and had not been directly affected. They were all out there working but also said there wasnt much they could do with what they had.
I have now donated over $1000 to my friend's relief effort fund. I have still been receiving orders and I am hoping to have another $1000 to donate soon from that. I also decided to ask my coworkers at jetBlue to pick up one extra hour of work each week and donate the money to Charity:Water. In just a week or so I raised $300 from that. It's not much, but in the end, it is way more than I could have donated myself.
Sometimes we feel limited by our own finances, but that doesn't mean we don't have the power to inspire and rally others to get involved and help out in the cause.
Many people want to help but they just don't know how or where to donate their money to.
thisworldexists would like to congratulate Eric Bennett from Eric Bennett Film for his tremendous personal effort to single handedly raise a tally now over $2500 dollars for relief efforts in Nepal.
We are currently seeking assistance to support our crowdfunding campaign to develop sustainable education improvements in the developing world that will help empower people in some of the most disadvantaged communities to have the knowledge and capacity to perpetually improve their lives, their families and their entire community.