After living in Summit County for six years, Debbie Bock bought a one-way ticket to Nepal.
“I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know the language. I didn’t even known where I was going to stay the first night,” she said.
Bock, now 30, said she flew in 2008 to the country she had dreamed of visiting for years.
She trusted that people would be nice and helpful. Soon she met plenty of friendly locals and fellow travelers, including an Australian woman running a nonprofit trekking organization.
“If you go with it, it works,” she said.
She started guiding treks for the organization and met fellow guide Chandra Pun, who grew up in the Annapurna region of Nepal. The pair later married and had two children.
Then after living in Nepal for about five years, Bock moved with her family back to Summit County in December.
Now the couple have started a tour company called HiMaLuna Adventures, and they will give a free presentation about traveling in Nepal at the Summit County Community and Senior Center tonight, Thursday, July 10.
She hopes her stories and photos will inspire and connect would-be travelers, and she encourages people to ask her and her husband questions.
Though “you do need to plan and save” to travel to Nepal, she said. “You don’t need a lot of money.”
Even those who don’t want to or can’t travel, she said, could come to learn about Nepal and the couple’s experiences.
“It’s completely opposite of everything that is here,” Bock said, adding that her husband grew up without roads, running water or electricity.
The couple have more than a decade of combined experience guiding in Nepal and will offer clients both the traveling foreigner’s perspective and the local perspective on their tours.
Bock said she has given a couple of presentations about her experiences before, which led to family members and friends visiting her in Nepal in 2012 on a 26-day trip. That group of roughly 20 people included her daughter, who was 2 at the time, and three women older than 70.
“I just really prepared them culturally for it, and we just had an incredible time,” Bock said.
She and her husband have big plans for their budding company, including giving back sustainably to local communities, going zero waste and carbon neutral and offering journeys alongside the adventure tours that focus on healthy eating, yoga and meditation.