Best friends find strength in travel


Cory Thaxton

Some people say “its not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” For these two friends, it’s about both.

Jansen Nowell, a freshman marketing major, said climbing a mountain is much like anything else in life. He thinks about where he is going and makes goals at locations within sight to achieve that nal destination.

Nowell and his best friend Gaurav Phuyal also known as G, a freshman biology and chemistry major, have both always loved to travel, and they do it pretty often. Now they feel lucky that they get to do it together.

“Many of my travels have been in Nepal and surrounding countries. Unfortunately, all of the places
I’ve been so far have been solo,

so I’m very happy to have found Jansen, someone I can share these experiences with. He is an adventurer at heart and has the same love for expeditions as I do,” Phuyal said.

Nowell and Phuyal rst became friends on campus after “talking extensively” about Phuyal’s country, Nepal, which is practically on the other side of the world.

Phuyal has now been in the United States for three months and he wants to know more about this “great


“I’d like to travel to a lot of places in the U.S. and around the world, but some things have to wait, just like I am waiting for my 18th birthday to skydive,” Phuyal said.

During winter break they plan to head up North. ey will be traveling to Washington D.C., New York and Niagara Falls.

“This trip will give us the opportunity to visit some of the most iconic American landmarks,” Phuyal said.

Nowell said the holidays will be a “fantastic time” to experience his native country. ey will even be in Times Square on New Years Eve to see the ball drop.

Since being in the states Phuyal has only been to Arkansas with Jansen and to New Orleans with a few of his Nepali friends.

Nowell said it’s a fortunate thing to be able to travel. He has a photography business, and he takes time out to travel.

“I’m the happiest when I can get away, it gives me the opportunity to reset and look at my life from a di erent perspective. I nd myself,” Nowell said.

Nowell has climbed two of the three tallest mountains in the U.S. He has been to several states. He spent the last two summers living out of his van and at one point even under a bridge. He lived with the homeless for a week.

“It’s all about the experience,” Nowell said.

Phuyal said he feels self- accomplished.

“There is an internal happiness I can’t explain…While traveling we learn how to push ourselves past the limit to new levels of internal and external strength. When visiting new places, we learn about different cultures, form new opinions and achieve a better understanding of ourselves,” Phuyal said.

Nowell has been in a lot of sticky situations. He’s been surrounded by emergency helicopters rescuing fallen climbers before.

There is a lot going through his head while he’s pushing himself on the side of a mountain, and it really tests his focus to the extreme.

At one point, Nowell and Phuyal were thinking about climbing the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, which stands at 29,029 feet.

Unfortunately, they won’t be climbing Everest because it would cost over $70,000.

However, next winter they will hike to the Everest base camp which is still higher than the highest summits of at least three continents.

They will have to endure the freezing temperatures for 15 to 18 days.

They will y into Lukla Airport in Nepal which is said to be the most dangerous airport in the world.

Even though Phuyal grew up in Nepal, he has never been to Mount Everest. He said it’s prestigious and is, in fact, the only place in Nepal he hasn’t been.

They are both excited about the trips that they have planned, and they know they will never really be able to chose their favorite trip they have ever been on.

“Wherever I am going next is always my favorite trip. Jansen and I have lots of trips planned within the next year. I can’t say much about this one particular trip, but I feel it will be my favorite at the time,” Phuyal said.

Nowell encourages everyone to travel.

You only live once, and he said the people that say they hope to travel one day are the people who never will.

One thing these two friends from different sides of the world knows for sure is that this is only the beginning.