Dec 2, 2019
You leave behind a wake of warm memories.
Fare well Prajwola Karmacharya! We remember you.
We are sad to announce the untimely demise of Prajwola Karmacharya, our friend and a core member of the NepaliTravellers team. Prajwola suddenly passed away in her home in Nala on November 30. We are just beginning to accept this loss, and we are in complete shock.
We are in complete awe of how Prajwola lived her life. Always full of smile, her humor and carefree attitude only highlighted the spark in her eyes. Sometimes, it seemed she was lost in her own time and space; as if she had to bring herself back from her imaginations to catch up with us. Her dad today recalled how she easily made friends and endeared people wherever she went. She had a light presence but cared passionately about her family and her dreams.
We first got to meet her through her biggest passion: travel. She applied, but got eventually rejected, from the Solo Woman Travel Challenge in 2017. However, she left a lasting impression with her attitude. We would always joke about this rejection, and how it only pushed her to explore more. That year, independently, she went on to trek to EBC and head out on other travels across Nepal.
Next year, in 2018, we could not deny Prajwola. She was perhaps the most unanimous pick with her passion, sheer confidence, and an eye-rolling 10-page travel plan. Rather than us, she managed to bring together other applicants and inspire them to all give their best on the selection process. She perhaps was one of the few people to realize that our challenge was not necessarily about competition but collaboration to create a widespread culture of travel.
After the selection, we spent a lot of time getting to know Prajwola. She was single-minded about her travels and never indecisive, sometimes even when she was wrong about details. Whatever said, we just couldn't deny her drive. When asked how her professional work as career microbiologist in a pharmaceutical corporation could hinder her five-weeks travels to Kanchanjunga area, she simply responded she would either work it out or quit. Enough said; we just accepted her matter-of-fact response. She worked extra shifts on Saturdays and during festivals to add up her leave. She showed us how travel is not an escape from life, but something to work out and plan.
Her travels to Kanchanjunga was as colorful as her personality. From getting invited into people's homes to making lasting connections in Ghunsa, she travelled places and got to know people. Her dad remarked today how people from Taplejung came all the way to meet her in Nala. Really, she was just full of life. After her travels, we perhaps had too much of her too sweet home-made wine when we were filiming video of her solo travels in Kanchanjunga. She was also full of fun.
Since then, she actively took part in events that we hosted and challenges that we announced. She came to meet people and to share her stories. She jumped in as a founding partner when we brainstormed a network of travel hostels in Nepal. Prajwola really understood that we are all playing our part in encouraging travels in Nepal.
Just past week, we talked about how she felt she would leave her profession behind to trek the Great Himalayan Trail. Prajwola had first mentioned her desire to do the whole trek in 2017, and she had not let go of her dream. We talked about comfort, security and then about adventure, risk. We said we would carry the conversation later. Just last Thursday, we egged her on joining us for BBQ and night out at the hostel she helped start. Just last Friday night, her apparently last FB post was about the opening of NepaliTravellers Cafe. We have had lots of weeks of chit chats; this last week just stands out more because it was also her last.
Today, we went to her home. She had invited us more than we can count; we had put it off for later. Today we were there, but she was only in our memories. Mournings are awkward when you only know the person that is not there. People who were there, perhaps, remembered her differently than we did. For us, she was our friend, our supporter, our team, our community.
She was. Difficult to write that. Difficult to accept.
She lived. Easy to remember that. Easy to celebrate.