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I was dropped off at SEA-TAC airport a couple hours early the day we flew out to Nepal. So I had a couple hours to kill after security and bag check. I decided to call my mom (bad decision) and let her know that today was the day I was leaving the country, “and my cell phone will be off for a month,” you know, little last minute reminders. We’d had several conversations about the trip and she knew the specifics already. But my mom doesn’t do last minute the same way I do, and she took the opportunity to panic about her daughter flying to the other side of the globe instead. The conversation went something like this:

-Hi Mom, I’m at the airport, just about to fly to Nepal. Thought I’d say ‘bye’ and remind you that I’ll be out of touch for a while.
-You’re leaving now? A whole month? Will you be in contact with Chris? How will we know if…
-Yes Mom, we have it all worked out. Call him whenever you want. I just wanted to remind you of the day so you know I won’t have my phone on for a while.
-Ok, so who are you’re going with anyway?
-A Nepali climber who lives the next town over from us, a couple American musicians from the same town, and a whole bunch of Nepalis.
-But do you know any of them?
-I interviewed the lead guy and I’ve met the Americans.
-So you don’t really know any of them. Are you…
-It sounds like you don’t really know anyone you are going with and you’re going to be far away. I’m just…
-Mom, I am sure that in a week or so I’ll have 30 new hiking buddies. Don’t worry! I’ll be fine.

That tactic worked and I wriggled my way off the phone. I said what I said to get my mom off my back, but honestly I had no idea how it might go. I wasn’t worried, I knew it would all work out fine. But I didn’t anticipate how wrong I could be. In the end, I didn’t end up with a bunch of hiking buddies. I ended up with a bunch of people that I used to call strangers but they became close enough that now I call them family.