The landlocked, beautiful country of Nepal has an economy largely based on tourism. Since the increased availability of adventure package holidays and cheap flights into the country, a growing number of tourists are making the trip to Everest Base Camp, and in some cases beyond to the cloud-wreathed summit.
In an age where it is possible to go online and book an adventure holiday to anywhere on the planet within minutes, it is easy to forget how mind-bogglingly beautiful, remote, challenging and sometimes dangerous the trek to Everest actually is.
The 2016 bestselling book from Nepal; The Envelope: Walking Up To Everest Base Camp by Andrew Stevenson (Vajra Publications 2016) is travel writing at its best. A witty and well-travelled child of the modern world, Stevenson presents a mountaineering guide and travelogue that captures the beauty, loneliness and degradation of modern Nepal better than almost anyone in recent years. Think Lonely Planet meets The Snow Leopard.
The Envelope is a personal journey of almost spiritual discovery, setting out a blueprint for others to follow, with each page displaying a childlike wonder at each new experience. Here is a western author in as foreign a culture as it is possible to imagine, faced with landscapes for which he has nothing in his home country to compare. Indescribably vast mountains, exotic wildlife, remote temples and colourful villages are described in captivating detail.
The Human Mountains
But this is also a very human story. The ordinary Nepalese people that Stevenson meets along the way, as well as his Western co-travellers, are painted in intimate detail. These are real people living real lives in a world undergoing frightening change. The devastation wrought by recent natural disasters in Nepal has left its effect on thousands of families. And the influx of Western tourists, although it has bought great prosperity to many, has also come at the cost of massive cultural and economic change.
A greater number of young Nepalese men and women are choosing to leave the country, for instance, in search of careers and opportunities in India, China or the West, upsetting the demographic balance of traditional communities. The environmental impact of tourism is also not ignored, the problem of litter and overcrowding at Everest Base Camp itself being a particular problem.
Andrew Stevenson is an evocative travel writer that transports you to the places he writes about. Many chapters make you want to strap on your hiking boots and head out straightaway. Others make you pause to think, wondering if there is a way to preserve the lonely majesty of Everest and its people while maintaining the increased accessibility of recent years.
Who Will Enjoy The Envelope?
The Envelope will appeal to both seasoned travellers and armchair mountaineers alike. Its portrait of the cultural riches and natural beauty of the Himalayas make it a great addition to a travel writing section in any bookshop. If your shop stocks books about adventure writing, travel or Asian geography and history, your customers will love The Envelope.
Explore The Riches Of Nepalese Publishing
Nepal has a small but well-established publishing industry that produces many high-quality titles in English each year. Among these are books about natural history, mountaineering, Nepalese Buddhism, environmental issues and contemporary politics. To find out more about English-language books from Nepal, India, Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, click here to download our Independent Booksellers Guide to Books From India.
We also stock a map showing the trek described in this book as well as several other well known treks in Nepal - contact us for more information.