women in nepal

One great privilege that comes with trading in pure artisan essential oils, is the opportunity to create links with different cultures around the world.

And the travel itself.

But what exactly is it that makes 18 hours folded up in 17 inches of airplane space, with compressed air, back to back movies, prepacked dinners and sleep deprivation, a happy experience?

And why would I allow myself to forgo ventilation, natural light and standing room, for a narrow, uncomfortable stop-over bed in a small black box in central Singapore?

Certain basic standards are the ground rules for a healthy life. And yet…

By the time I am blasted by the hot sticky breath of a sleeping Singapore, discomfort seems a measure of my successful departure. From there on in, despite a carefully planned itinerary of conferences, meetings and distillery visits, I am basically subject to the forces of a world I have little or no control over. And it feels like an adventure.

I vaguely contemplate the yin and yang nature of my normal life and this, as I chew through some stringy vegetable part in a coconut milk and shitake stir fry in China Town.

But the exotic hustle and bustle - the noises, colors and of course the aromas, awaken my senses and hold me captive. Half-formed thoughts float away.

When my taxi ride is high-jacked by a local policeman for a 90 minute detour on arrival in Katmandu, being a passenger on adventure to the unknown becomes distinctly less appealing.  And the harsh realities of poverty, pollution and ill health that I witness all around me undermine my optimism and weigh heavy on my mind.

Ordinary life for thousands of people seems an incredible feat of endurance to me. I am thankful for the chance encounter that delivers a safe sanctuary of an old monastry converted to hotel rooms. I lie on a simple bed and my weary thoughts go round and round.

By complete contrast, precious days trekking through Katmandu valley transport me to an intensely rewarding journey through arguably the one of the most breathtaking parts of the world.

Bo in lab

I pass through small villages where Nepalese people live traditional lives, out of the reaches of the city, and discover much about my own nascent levels of endurance. (Watch this space …)

And I visit a distillery that supplies us with Chamomile, Spikenarde, Mint, and Lemongrass essential oils, where the field work is organized as a women's co-operative and workers receive a fair-trade wage that is high for any woman or man in this region.

I see the process in action, rub the light soil through my fingers and hear about the low-tech, natural techniques that are essentially organic; dung fertilization, hand weeding etc. (No official certification body in existence as yet in Nepal, working on that one).

So. A journey in every sense of the word.

Absolute Essential supports fair trade in Nepal

As a company we strive to source directly to ensure 100% pure essential oils with organic processing. We say it often and continue to say that holistic health care should care for the local environment as much as it cares for the end user… so there will be more visits. More journeys. And more opportunities to look at that personal compulsion to keep stepping out of my well-ordered comfort zone.

You might find it useful to know that I give myself the best of Absolute Essential natural health care products on any long haul flights.

My Travelwell Essentials pretty much live in my suitcase and trusty Lavender True is just one of a handful of organic essential oils that helps to ensure that I can look after myself through all the minor stuff with safe natural health care (headaches, relaxation, scrapes, blisters, bruises, tension), wherever I may be.

Since 2002, Absolute Essential plants a tree for every 100 air-miles in business travel.