Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Prologue - Chapter 9: What Now?

PrologueDaniel Casadio2 Comments

At my hotel in Kathmandu. Luxury is actually pretty sweet, I now see what the big fuss is all about.  

I wrote this blog: 

Teaching English here at the school has been fulfilling and satisfying. These kids are just always over the moon and when you walk past their classroom they constantly shout your name and try to pull you in and teach them. I love it. I love the energy and how determined most of these kids are to learn English.

There’s another volunteer with me named Arjun and he’s from America. Great guy and a very inspiring story he has about his past.

Fridays is normally a half-day at the school, so we start school at 10 and finish at 1. Our host, Arjun and I decided we’ll leave the village and go for an overnight hike straight after school finished. And we did. We hiked for about 6 hours (including breaks) and met some of the locals on the way – also beautiful people.

When we got to the top of a mountain we stayed the night and ate some of their roast chicken with the locals. It was great up there, you are literally completely away from it all and you are surrounded by people who are satisfied living simply.

Although, it was such a beautiful hike, nice sunset, great dinner and gorgeous people. The night was probably one of the worst nights of my life.

Throughout staying at the village and teaching English we were asked to donate $5 USD to cover breakfast and dinner; and we will teach English 33 hours a week (6 days). In my mind I thought ‘Wow I don’t think I’ve volunteered that many hours yet still payed for myself daily’. But I snapped the negative thought out of my mind because I’m doing this for the kids. But the issue was, wherever we went, whatever we ate outside of the house we always had to pay for our host. Whether it was for a bus fare, lunch, drinks, etc. At Kathmandu before we arrived at the village, we were also told that we had to buy some school resources and other stuff for the kids. And don’t get me wrong. I was all for it, I couldn’t wait to buy school resources for the kids – but I just didn’t like how I HAD to do it, how I didn’t get a choice to give but I had to. And at the beginning I didn’t mind – but it got really annoying how the $35 USD and 33 hours a week and paying for our own lunches wasn’t enough. I felt like the host was trying to take advantage of me and I don’t have a lot of money anyways.

Arjun and I discussed this and found everything quite dodgy and just not really right. So the topic came up during dinner, whilst we were eating chicken and having a few drinks. And at the beginning it was quite good, we were doing our best just to find out why we are always having to pay for him and the whereabouts of the school resources we bought; because we haven’t seen any of it being used and the kids were asking about it.

The discussion quite quickly erupted and turned into an argument. Arjun and I just wanted to know why we had to pay for so much without being told properly before we came. As the argument went on, it got louder and louder. And things started to get worst when our host shouted; ‘I’m going to show you something and if I’m right, I’m going to punch you in the face’. After that point it was within minutes Arjun and I decided to leave, we hated that we gave so much and yet here we were being threatened just because of our curiosity. We didn’t know really where to go but this just wasn’t right at all.

It was 11 PM; Arjun and I packed our bags and as we thanked the people who feed us on the mountain and gave them some money we started to leave. And as were leaving we were passing our host being held back by two of the locals, our host shook them off and grabbed two hand sized rocks. This is when Arjun and I really did not know what to do – I mean where could we go?

Our host screamed at Arjun saying ‘I’ll kill you and throw your body off this mountain before you get to America’.
Our host took a swing and Arjun saw it coming and dived into him and they both hit the ground. Our host started whacking the rocks into Arjun’s head. The locals and I quickly ran to the fight and held down the host and as Arjun got up he had a busted ear on one side and a wounded temple on the other; both sides were bleeding a lot.

As the locals held down our host and tried to calm him down, Arjun and I had to descend the mountain in the dark. We had no idea where the track was, so we had to climb down rocks and just do our best to keep our balance from falling and seriously hurting ourselves. Arjun was feeling dizzy from the two rock hits and I tried to clean him up and stop the blood – but I honestly had no idea what to do. I was so utterly scared. Arjun and I arm in arm; I did my best to support him but with so many obstacles we both were falling all over the place. And the night sky did not help at all.

At one point Arjun’s dizziness got the better of him and he fell and hit his head hard on a rock. He was in so much pain, I tried to help in anyway I possibly could but in the end I felt helpless. But the only thing I could possibly do, is get Arjun and myself back to base before our host gets there. Because we had no idea what he would do to our stuff.

As we got back to ground, we woke up lots of people in hopes they could tell us how to get back to our little village. We got back to our village at around 4 am, we were so exhausted but we knew that matters had to definitely be taken care of.

Our host had gotten to base before us but his family put him straight to bed. When we got there another argument was had. The family wouldn’t give back Arjun’s MacBook because they believed that he stole our host’s iPhone. It was an on going argument that lasted an hour. Arjun and I went to sleep in another house whilst keeping our bags and possessions close.

We woke up an hour later to Nepalese Police Officers. The family host had called them, to solve the matter. We explained the situation and really Arjun and I just wanted to get our stuff and get out. Arjun got his MacBook back and was taken to hospital to get his wounds fixed up. Then probably 7 or 8 hours later of sitting around, watching Police Officer’s shuffle papers and sign documents, our host came and apologized. There was no actual physical harm done to me so Arjun was definitely the one who should be forgiving him.

By the afternoon, we shook hands with the host. Arjun got a bus and went to another district to be with a friend – whilst I stayed one more night. And that night I really did not feel safe. The host and his family were trying to convince me to stay and as much as I would of liked to – I just couldn’t.

That family lost so much of my trust. I left the next day, shaking hands with the family and saying goodbye to the kids. I spent a day in Kathmandu. And tonight I get on a plane and arrive home at 3:10 PM on the 21st of June.

Jacob is coming to pick me up and then I’m hoping to surprise my parents and family.

Its funny because by the time I’ve posted this blog and you are reading this; I would have been back home. But right now I’m in my Kathmandu hotel.

So. What now? (#notcopyingkevinhart)

Good question.
Currently thinking very hard. Too hard. I mean I always had this idea that I would travel for a living and as a lifestyle and I would be gone for ages. But I’m coming home only after two months. And I think that has been the biggest lesson learnt on this small two month journey; is that I made people have an expectation of me being this ‘care free traveller’. I loved the idea of being that person – but for now I guess that person can wait. Maybe I was to young, naïve and just not ready. I’m not really sure hey – but I’ll work it out.

I’m thinking of returning home and trying to get some work somewhere and do what I did when I travelled. Take each day as it comes and see what happens.  See what opportunities arise.

Sorry to anyone who I have disappointed in not ending up being this ‘care free traveller’. But although it was only two months, I had a blast (except one night) and I learnt so many lessons. And that’s what its all about.

If you want to catch up, shoot me a message on Facebook or whatever and I would be stoked to hang out with you and grab a coffee/beer.


Thank you for also letting me be so open with you about my experiences. It was fun – we should do it again sometime.