Tea Houses in Nepal: Everything You Need to Know About Accommodations on the Trail

If you're heading to Nepal for a trekking expedition, expect to stay in the basic lodges that have sprung up along all the popular trekking routes in the Everest, Langtang, and Annapurna regions. Known to travelers as “tea houses,” these mountain shelters are a welcome sight after a tough day of trekking.

But what exactly is a “tea house”...?

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Quick Overview

Tea houses are accommodations along trekking routes in Nepal that offer basic lodging and meals. In lower elevations, tea houses may be multi-story concrete buildings with private rooms and attached western style bathrooms.

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The further you hike up, the more basic the accommodations get. Base camp may include a dorm style shared room, boiling water (because it’s all frozen!), and a game of cards by solar light to conserve energy.

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Every tea house is locally owned and run. Many Sherpas local to the Everest region own and operate tea houses along Everest’s trekking routes. To the west, the Annapurna region is protected in a vast conservation area managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). Tea houses in the Annapurna are monitored by the NTNC and must meet specific requirements including fixed pricing, standard menus, and limits on how many tea houses can be built along specific routes.

Dining / Communal Area

Every tea house has one large communal dining area with a wood burning stove in the center. It’s a great spot to meet other trekkers, swap stories, warm up, and sip tea while you watch the sunset over the mountains. Domestic tourism has skyrocketed in the past 6-7 years, and the growing number of Nepali trekkers coupled with an influx of international travelers can lead to overcrowding in the high seasons. At higher lodges, some travelers may sleep in the community room on extra cots or even tables if all the rooms are full.

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Private and Shared Rooms

Most tea houses more than a days walk from a town have a similar setup; two to three twin beds in every room, one overhead light (that works sometimes), a window and personal lock and key for your door. The beds are generally comfortable with a foam pad, pillow, and a blanket. We always ask travelers to bring a sleeping bag to ensure that you stay warm enough at night, and there is no guarantee of cleanliness when it comes to shared beds and sheets. A sleeping bag, or at least a liner in the warm months, is always a good idea. A solid pair of earplugs will also help ensure a good night’s sleep.

We always try to reserve single rooms for travelers who request it. At times, the trail gets so crowded that trekkers may be asked to share rooms to save space. While not ideal, it’s just a fact on the trail as tea houses are limited and everyone needs a place to sleep!

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Toilets and Showers

Tea houses will either have western style (sit down) toilets or the more traditional squat toilets found across Nepal. You never know which on you’re going to get, but the higher up you trek, it’s more likely to be the latter. Make sure to bring enough toilet paper for your entire trek and always have hand sanitizer nearby.

As for showers, they’re generally only available at the lower elevation tea houses and hot water is not always a guarantee. Wet wipes are your friend!

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Electricity and Wi-Fi

Many of Nepal’s tea houses are run on solar power, providing a renewable and clean way to keep the lights on. Sometimes the power needs to be conserved, especially if it’s cloudy during the day, so expect for some power outages or afternoons where the lights won’t turn on until there’s enough energy to get everyone through the night. The electricity can also be disrupted by bad weather and wind.

Some tea houses do have wifi for a small fee. Expect slow, dial-up-like speeds. Outlets are also available at the larger, concrete tea houses near towns, but just like the lights, may not always be running with electricity during the day. Expect limited to no power the higher up you go, although some tea house owners will let you use their power strip for $1-2/hr. If it’s a huge concern, bring an extra battery pack or small solar charger.

Food and Drinks

Tea, tea, and more tea! The name isn’t misleading. Often the first thing you’ll be greeted with at a tea house is a warm cup of black tea with sugar. If you’re hiking in the rain, snow, or wind it’s the perfect way to relax.

Meals are often cooked over a fire in the kitchen by the owners. While much of the food is delicious, especially the Nepali staples like momos and dal bhat, the quality of the Western style dishes will vary greatly. Here’s a typical list of what you can expect to order in a tea house:

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Breakfast:

  • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, & juice
  • Eggs any style
  • Ham/bacon/sausage (if available)
  • Toast with butter/jam/honey
  • Chapati, Tibetan bread, muesli porridge
  • Hash brown potatoes
  • Pancakes/crepes

 

Lunch & Dinner:

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  • Pasta & noodles: chow mein, noodle soup, spaghetti, fried rice
  • Momos, dal bhat, pakauda
  • Popcorn, chips, potatoes
  • Spring rolls
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches & soup
  • Dessert (rice pudding, chocolate pudding, apple or banana fritters)

 

 

Definitely help yourself to the generous portions of dhal bat, Nepal’s local dish that literally means “lentils and rice.” Mostly vegetarian, but sometimes served with meat on request, this dish is a daily staple across Nepal.

If the tea house is under staffed, or there are an abundance of trekkers, guides and porters will often hop in the kitchen to lend a hand.

  OneSeed guides Lalkaji, Kale, and Bishnu helped make some delicious food on a OneSeed staff trip earlier this year!

OneSeed guides Lalkaji, Kale, and Bishnu helped make some delicious food on a OneSeed staff trip earlier this year!

Helpful Tips

Tea houses are a unique part of your trekking experience in Nepal and add to the warm and inviting hospitality found throughout this amazing country. Here are a few extra tips for prepping for your tea house stay:

  • Have some extra rupees on hand to purchase candy bars, beer, or other snacks.
  • The plywood walls separating rooms are very thin - a good pair or two of earplugs can do wonders.
  • Fleece pants and comfy sandals are key for post-hike relaxation.
  • Portable solar lights can provide some extra light if the electricity goes out (or if you forget a headlamp).
  • Cards and books are a great way to pass the time, and don’t forget to play a friendly game of spoons with your guides! Just keep an eye on the spoons, until you realize, there is no spoon….
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🎥 Footage from local tea houses along the Mardi Himal trek in Nepal's Annapurna region:

Playing Tejo in Colombia: The Subtle Art of Throwing Rocks at Gunpowder

So what do you need to play Colombia’s national sport? Beer. Gunpowder. And one good arm.

Tejo can be found throughout bars in Colombia and is a great way to throw a few back and keep your friends on their toes. The goal of the game is to throw your “tejo” (a weighted steel disc) inside the “bocin” (a metal ring) from over 70 feet away. The bocin is rigged with mechas, paper triangles filled with gunpowder. Hit a mecha and - BOOM.

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While explosions are certainly the attraction, the scoring is based more on accuracy:

9 points: the tejo lands in the bocin while also exploding one or more mechas
6 points: the tejo lands in the bocin without an explosion
3 points: exploding a mecha without landing the tejo in the bocin
1 point: landing closer to the bocin than your opponent

Games can be played between two people or in teams of up to six, with one throw for each player per round. If you have a knack for the game, you can throw the tejo to ensure it lands in the clay surrounding the bocin instead of bouncing off the walls and heading straight for someone’s drink.

It may seem pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of rules for more competitive games. More serious players frequent outdoor venues and sponsored professional teams and tournaments can be found all over the country.

For the true Colombia bar experience, head to a local spot and try your hand at this explosive game that you’ll likely never find in the states...

MFI Partner Spotlight: Banigualdad Foundation

Explore the World. Invest in People.

This has been our credo since 2011 and it drives our approach to adventure  travel, ensuring that 10% of your trip cost is invested in the local economy through microfinance institutions (MFIs). Thanks to our travelers, as of March 2018 over $2900,000 has been invested in small businesses around the world, with 90% funneled to women entrepreneurs. That’s 619 loans in 5 countries! (For most recent numbers, visit the Invest page)

The Banigualdad Foundation is instrumental in engaging our borrowers in Chile. Working directly with MFIs like Banigualdad ensures that local experts drive loan approval and investment. Whether it’s a training session on how to open a hair salon or seed funding that can turn a small cooking business into something more, Banigualdad helps through financial planning, training, and loan distribution for small-scale entrepreneurs.

 Marta Costa in her shop stocked with supplies ready to greet customers

Marta Costa in her shop stocked with supplies ready to greet customers

Banigualdad Foundation is non-profit foundation that has spent over 10 years providing small loans and training to groups of low-income entrepreneurs. They currently support more than 45,400 entrepreneurs from La Serena to Puerto Montt, with 89% of the beneficiaries being women and 53% heads of household.

The mission is to invest in entrepreneurs from vulnerable sectors throughout Chile so that through their own means and support, they can improve their quality of life and be an example for their communities.

 Kati Oñate preparing a meal as part of her small business funded through Banigualdad.

Kati Oñate preparing a meal as part of her small business funded through Banigualdad.

Their work methodology is based on groups of at least 18 entrepreneurs who take out individual loans ranging from $165 to $1,650 but which are jointly guaranteed, that is, if one person can’t pay the weekly fee, the other 17 members assume it collectively (Banigualdad’s repayment rate is 99.9%).

Each loan, which has a fixed duration of 5 months, goes hand in hand with a weekly training provided by social workers who work in the field with entrepreneur groups. Subjects include business, finance, basic accounting, marketing, as well as personal development (self-knowledge, healthy eating, etc.).

Small business owners like Chilean artisan Karola Vera can access services that make opening or expanding a business more manageable. When she was unsure about how to move forward, Banigualdad stepped in to help guide Karola through the loan application process that allowed her to expand her craft business.

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I wanted to work and take care of my children at the same time. I have a craft business and work with recycled materials: the wood I use for hoops comes from furniture, copper from electrical installations, and leftover fabric that other artisans do not use...When I [needed] to invest in machines and keep growing, Banigualdad appeared. The loan and the training sessions have helped me a lot, as have networking with other entrepreneurs.
— Karola Vera, Los Lagos Region, Chile

For updates on the total amount invested with Banigualdad and our other MFI partners, please visit our Invest page. All numbers are updated quarterly. 

The Daily Q&A: 5 Questions for Chris Baker

2018 marks the first year that the outdoor industry's largest US trade show has been held in our hometown of Denver, CO and we couldn't be more excited. This past week we got to catch up with some of our close friends and favorite brands at the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show.

The Daily featured a great spread on OneSeed Expeditions founder Chris Baker to share more about the state of adventure travel, the OneSeed Fund, and what's next for OneSeed Expeditions:

"The adventure travel industry is thinking about the footprint it leaves behind. Beyond the tourism dollars outfitters bring to remote parts of the world, Chris Baker, a former Teach For America Colorado corps member and Yale University graduate (where he spent a semester in Nepal), wanted to do more to invest in the communities he visited. In 2011, he founded OneSeed Expeditions with a unique model that inspires and funds entrepreneurism in parts of the world where a little money could go a long way. Here, Baker opens up about what adventure travelers want, plus, his latest business plan (Wayfinder Coop) and why Colorado and Outdoor Retailer are the perfect fit."

Full article: www.snewsnet.com/trade-show/the-daily-2018-day-four

Know Before You Go: Hiking Patagonia in the Winter

There's no denying the magic and beauty of Patagonia. The towering rock faces, pristine mountain lakes, and enormous glaciers provide a wild landscape for those adventurous enough to trek there. And while most folks venture down during the warmer months, there's really nothing more off-the-beaten-path than hiking the crowdless snowy trails next to fresh puma tracks.

So what should you know before you go? Esther and Jacob of the popular travel blog Local Adventurer were the first to try our Winter Patagonia Expedition last fall. Watch their expedition video with stunning footage and helpful tips about what to expect.

Pack it up! Picking the right pack for your expedition

Your tickets are booked. You're checking and re-checking your packing list. Expedition planning is in full force.

Perhaps you're heading out for Patagonia, Peru, Kilimanjaro, or Everest Base Camp--chances are you need to think about pack selection.

The options can be a bit overwhelming. OneSeed is here to help.

1) CHECK YOUR PACKING LIST

On trips with pack animals or vehicle transport, a sturdy duffle can do just fine. On trips where you'll be carrying your own pack, a well-fit expedition pack will be important. Read your packing list carefully and let us know if you have any questions about which type of pack(s) you'll need. 

2) PICK YOUR PACK

We're partial to the goods over at MHM Gear. MHM makes beautifully designed packs with all the right features. They offer the full spectrum of pack sizes so you can pick the perfect pack for your expedition. 

First, let's talk about day packs. 

Day Packs

For nearly all OneSeed trips, you'll need a daypack. This 20-30L pack will be used to carry water, extra layers, camera, etc. while on the trail or navigating cities. This pack should be compact with the ability to stuff down into your larger pack when needed.

We like MHM's Switch 26L pack. With the signature S-zip for quick access and just enough capacity for your daily needs, the Switch is the ideal day pack for most of our expeditions. Its nine (!) pockets make for easy organization and its slick design makes you look cooler than your friends.

Expedition Packs

On some of your trips (like our trips in Patagonia), you'll need to bring a larger expedition pack that you'll carry yourself. A good expedition pack will be 50-65L and will be used to carry all of your personal gear during your time on the trail. We like the Divide 65 pack or the slightly smaller Sultan 50. Both packs are light weight and thoughtfully designed with hidden surprises like internal dry sacs and pivoting hip belts. These big haulers will get the job done on multi-day pushes.  

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3) DO YOUR RESEARCH

Wherever you get your gear, take the time to weigh the tradeoffs of each design and get comfortable carrying your pack as you train for your expedition. 

We especially appreciate the scientific method and a good field test:

OneSeed Summit

OneSeed Summit 2017

It's almost that time again!

This August 14-23, we're gathering the crew once more at our headquarters in Denver, CO. We'll be joined by country directors from around the world who will converge on Denver for 10 days of training, sharing, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. 

 OneSeed Nepal's Tek Bahadur Dong shares some tips with OneSeed Chile's Sergio Nuñez.

OneSeed Nepal's Tek Bahadur Dong shares some tips with OneSeed Chile's Sergio Nuñez.

OneSeed Summit 2015

We're not much for power point presentations here at OneSeed. When we want to do some company-wide learning, we head for the hills. 

This year, we took the whole crew to Nepal. 

Following the earthquakes of Spring 2015, we decided this was the right time to show our commitment to Nepal and our team of guides that work throughout the Himalaya. 

Over the course of two weeks, our team hiked through the Langtang region, shared best practices, and led guide trainings for our growing Nepal team. 

 We're off! The OneSeed crew heads for the hills. 

We're off! The OneSeed crew heads for the hills. 

 Not a bad place to do some staff development. 

Not a bad place to do some staff development. 

Packing for Machu Picchu? Here Are Some Tips

Your trip to Machu Picchu has been booked, now it’s time to get packing. Smart packing will make your hiking experience much more enjoyable as you’ll be prepared for any conditions you encounter. A trek to Machu Picchu is a one-of-a-kind experience that requires 5-10 hours of trekking each day.

No matter the season, you should expect rain and always pack accordingly. Since there is always a possibility of rain or cold weather, we recommend that you bring waterproof pants, a down jacket, gloves, a wool hat, and long synthetic underwear (see packing list here). At high altitude, it’s not just the cold you have to worry about. You must also prepare for the high altitude sun with sunscreen and sunglasses for those warmer and sunnier days. Check out current weather here.

On some of the hiking days, you will stay overnight at campsites which is why you’ll need to bring basic camping items such as a sleeping bag, toilet paper, Bitty bags, insect repellent, and a quick- dry towel. In addition to your camping gear, you’ll also want to bring a day pack in which you’ll carry personal toiletries, medicine, an extra layer of clothing, your camera, and other items you’ll need throughout the day.

While you’ll spend most of your time on the trail, don’t forget to pack for your time in the city as well! On those days when you’re not hiking, you’ll want clean, casual clothes for exploring the cities of Cusco and Aguas Calientes.

Have any questions as you prepare for your trip? Give our team a call at 303-586-4723 or email us anytime.

What's the Weather Like at Machu Picchu?

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If you're considering a trip to Machu Picchu, it's a good idea to learn what the temperature and precipitation will be like by month. While weather is always a bit unpredictable, being prepared for seasonal changes on the trail is a good place to start.

Average temperatures throughout the year:

Average temperatures (in Fahrenheit) may reach the high 60’s but can drop as low as low 30’s. It is important to note that during the day it may be warm but as the sun goes down temperatures can drop up to 30 degrees. For current weather updates, click on the Current Weather link.

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Source: www.weather-and-climate.com

Average precipitation throughout the year:

The rainy months are usually October to March and the driest season is typically April to September.

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Source: https://www.machupicchutrek.net/best-time-to-hike-machu-picchu/    

Weather on the trail to Machu Picchu is always changing and impossible to predict. Carefully following the expedition packing list will keep you prepared for any conditions. For more information on what to pack, don’t hesitate to contact our team anytime.

Tipping in Tanzania

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is an experience of a lifetime! From the sea of stars at night to the breathtaking sunrise at summit, there are countless moments you'll never forget. One common misconception is how many staff members it takes to help hikers reach the "top of Africa". Each group requires a skilled team of guides, porters and cooks and because nothing can be stored on the mountain, everything from food and utensils to clothing and sleeping bags are carried up and down by porters. Clients often want to know how many staff members to anticipate and how to accurately tip each individual. OneSeed's philosophy is tips are "never required, but always appreciated." The chart below will serve as a good guide when considering a tip at the end of your trek. 

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FAQs REGARDING TIPPING:

When can I tip? There will be time on the final day of the mountain when you descend from Horombo Hut back down to the entrance gates to tip your staff. We suggest tipping the cooks and porters before arriving back to the entrance gates because there can be a lot of distractions (souvenir vendors, etc.) once you complete the trek. You can then individually tip your guides either on the last day or once you descend down to the entrance gates. 

In which currency can I tip? You can tip in Tanzania Schillings (TZS) or US Dollars but for simplicity-sake, we suggest tipping in USD. Be sure to bring small bills (nothing more than $20)!

How do I know the total number of staff members? Ask one of your guides! They are happy to provide you with information on the total number of porters and cooks.

Anything else I should know? Most porters do not assist on the final summit but depending on the group size and pace, a few porters may join to help. It is common to tip these porters an additional ~$20 total from the group when tipping them. 

Want to learn more about how OneSeed Expeditions and the Kilimanjaro Porters Association Project work to protect the porter's working conditions on the mountain? Learn more here!

  Still confused on tipping?  Contact us at go@oneseedexpeditions.com

Still confused on tipping? Contact us at go@oneseedexpeditions.com

OneStory: Life at 3mph

The OneSeed OneStory series highlights the work of innovators and changemakers around the world. Interested in sharing your story? Contact us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com.

We often think of adventure and exploration in terms of the remote and exotic. We summit peaks and explore the unchartered pieces of the map. But there's something to be said for the type of exploration that come from simply slowing down and noticing the world around you. Walk2Connect, a Denver-based walking cooperative is doing just that.

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Launched by Jonathon Stalls following a 3,030 mile walk across the U.S. in 2010, Walk2Connect "works hard to help people and communities become healthier and more connected while also advancing awareness on the importance of walkable community design and the pedestrian experience."

With their team of six Professional Member-Owners, over 200 trained Walking Movement Leaders, 150 Life@3MPH Champions, and a host of Community Partners, Walk2Connect leads 30-45 walking, hiking, and rambling experiences throughout Colorado every week. In 2015, they hosted over 877 walking trips across open spaces, down city alleyways, and through some of the forgotten corners of the Denver metro area. 

"We're a walking platform for people, places, and community," says Stalls. "Walk2Connect is a grassroots movement connecting people to others, to the places they live, and to themselves at a one to three mile per hour pace. As our co-op culture expands and we inspire more individuals and communities to move and connect in this way, we hope to slowly launch new strategies for planting new walking communities outside of Colorado."

Whether you're gearing up for your next expedition or you just got back from a trek that you can't let go, Walk2Connect provides the community to keep on truckin'. 

 

Interested in learning more? Join the movement: http://walk2connect.com

Interested in exploring partnership opportunities? Follow #lifeat3mph to share your walking stories and to stay engaged with the movement. 

 

A Note on Single Supplements

We know single supplements are a bummer, and trust us, we don't like charging them either. We require single supplements because it's the best possible way for us to provide the most fair prices to all clients. The single supplement covers the increased cost of hotel stay, airport transportation, and the additional guides, porters and cooks needed while on the trail. 

The good news? The single supplement fee guarantees your very own single/private room while in your host city.

The other good news? We offer a "match pool" so clients have the opportunity to connect and match with other solo travelers of the same gender. Let us know if you're interested and we'll be sure to make the introduction if there's another solo traveler looking to be matched! Simply email go@oneseedexpeditions.com and we'll take it from there. If there isn't a match, you'll receive an invoice with your single supplement fee 60 days prior to your expedition. 

You can find your specific single supplement fee by visiting your expedition page on our website.

OneStory: A OneSeed Alum's Epic 5-Year Trek from Patagonia to Alaska

The OneSeed OneStory series highlights the work of innovators and changemakers around the world. Interested in sharing your story? Contact us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com.

Bethany Hughes clearly has the hiking bug. Having logged some 4,000 miles on the PCT, the Colorado Trail, and elsewhere around the world, Bethany is now making her way north from the southern tip of Patagonia to the arctic reaches of Alaska. 

On what she expects will be a 5-year hike, Bethany will travel the length of the Americas by non-motorized means, hiking the mountain ranges and rafting or pedaling the flatlands. Along the way, she and her hiking partner, Lauren Reed, will document and share the stories of individuals striving toward their own aspirations.

Bethany grew up learning to climb in the mountain ranges of South America. She later guided backpacking groups in New Mexico, then worked with sled dog teams in Tongass National Forest along Alaska’s Inside Passage. Since thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail she has focused on long distance excursions and encouraging others to get outside as a means to personal and social empowerment.

In the fall of 2014, Bethany traveled with OneSeed in Nepal's Langtang region. 

"Trekking the Langtang region with the OneSeed crew was an experience both in culture and landscape. I never considered myself one for guided, group activities to mainstream travel destinations which is why OneSeed's responsible approach to experiencing remote locations was appealing. The guides were a bridge to the communities of the Himalayas, from translating to showing us to the mountain-top yak cheese, they made the journey all the more impactful."

As part of Her Odyssey, Bethany plans to walk the length of the Americas while serving as a window into the people and natural beauty she encounters along her way. 

"We have hiked along the Senos of the South, through snowy passes and Patagonia old growth forests, past forest fires, across roaring rivers. We’ve grown from adventurous little girls into women who walk 'impassable' stretches of wilderness and regularly eat dessert first.

We see a growing movement of women across the globe standing up and stepping forward.  From workplace to personal life; in agriculture, art, sciences, adventure sports, the list goes on. It is our belief that by each pursuing her dream and passion, we forge a more equal playing field. Our chosen field is long-distance hiking.

Following and connecting routes of Tehuelche tribes to the Incan road system, the Qhapaq Ñan, we anticipate South America taking three hiking seasons – weather, terrain, and governments allowing. We aim to finish South America at Tolú, Colombia and move laterally into Panama.

The parameters are to travel along the mountain ranges which comprise the backbone of the Americas, gaining northward degrees of latitude by non-motorized means. This allows for more expedient lateral movement to avoid danger zones such as the the Darien Gap.

Biking Central America will enable broader and safer exploration. In Mexico, following along the Sierra Madres Occidental range leads to the southern border of the United States near New Mexico.

Then we will pick up on the Continental Divide Trail which traces the Rocky Mountains through the United States, feeding into the Great Divide Trail of Canada. Thereafter, the course aims for the Yukon, though an alternative is to paddle the Mackenzie River.

Alaska presents a wide array of travel options, from our go-to method of hiking, to cross-country skis or dog sled. The end point of this journey will be determined by the mode of transportation at that time, though the ultimate objective is to arrive at the Arctic Ocean.

Beyond writing about our hiking experiences, we round out the perspective by sharing stories of the lands and people. The Herstory Series illuminates the experience of women who live in pursuit of their own highest self and are willing to share that adventure. The Story Time series relates folklore and local legends which inform cultural perspectives and values."

Color us impressed. We'll be following Bethany and Lauren's journey as they make their way northward and we'll continue to be awed by the strength and determination they show as they put one foot in front of another.

For. The. Next. Five. Years. 

Sneak a peek from the trail @_herodyssey_.

Learn more about Bethany and Her Odyssey

Training for Your Trek: Quick Tips to Get Ready for the Trail

A frequently asked question here at OneSeed is usually along the lines of, "I'm hiking how much?? How do I train for this??" On a OneSeed trek, you'll be pushing your body to the limit as you hike through some of the most awe-inspiring places in the world. We've included some tips below on how to train for what will be an adventure of a lifetime!

Apparel and Footwear: Before you start training, invest in a solid pair of hiking boots and gym shoes. If your feet are tired and blistered, it will affect the rest of your body and increase the risk for injury. Make it a priority to break in your boots - wear them while you work out or even just walking around the neighborhood!

Sweat!: You want to feel confident going into your expedition so start elevating your heart rate and building muscle! Find a work out routine that works for YOU and stick with it. If you don't like running, don't run, BUT find an activity that makes you sweat and tone. Hiking, running, biking and swimming are all great cardio-boosters but try interval training with activities like yoga and weight-lifting classes as well. Be sure you incorporate squats and lunges into your workouts so you build your leg muscles for the long hikes you'll be accomplishing on the trail. Lastly, don't forget to Stretch! Yoga and pilates classes are the best way to stretch out sore muscles and prevent injuries. 

Hydrate and Fuel: With all of this training, you'll be burning tons of calories! Be sure you're fueling your body with foods that help it perform at it's best and keep you feeling good. Incorporate healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice and wild rice, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fish, lean meats, fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. And don't forget about water! When you're dehydrated, you feel more fatigued than you actually are, making it easier to trip on the trail and cause injuries. Make it a goal to drink at least 64 oz. of water each day (that's two Nalgenes!) and start each meal with a glass of water.

Get High: Gearing up for a trip above 10,000ft? The higher up in elevation you can train, the better. If you live close to the mountains, push yourself on some high-elevation hikes and train your lungs to adjust to the lack of oxygen. If you don't live in an area where high-altitude trails are available, not to fear! All of our treks factor in rest days in order to acclimate to higher elevation. If you're feeling fatigued on the trail, go slow and take frequent breaks as your body adjusts to the altitude.

See you on the trail!

 

 

Impact Climb: Kilimanjaro 2017!

At OneSeed we're all about two things: exploring the world and investing in people.

We love scoping out new routes in the Himalayas or uncovering hidden spots in Patagonia, but we spend just as much time and energy scouting out microfinance partners to channel capital to entrepreneurs in places like Tanzania, Colombia, or Nepal. 

OneSeed travelers often tell us that being able to pair exploration with local investment is the reason they travel with us again and again. We work hard to live up to our mission.

Explore the world. Invest in people. 

Because we love nothing more than entrepreneurial hustle, we couldn't be more excited to announce our newest impact partner: The Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute. RMMFI works right in our backyard here in beautiful Denver, Colorado, and we've seen firsthand their commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, creativity, and community. 

Because we believe in those same principles and we believe in the team at RMMFI, we're proud to announce the launch of the 2017 Microfinance Summit Series. 

{Drum roll} Boom!

Impact climbs double the impact of your travel by raising funds not only for our microfinance partners around the world, but also amazing organizations like RMMFI that support entrepreneurship right here in the U.S.

Impact Climbers join a team of like-minded changemakers to raise funds and awareness for the excellent work of RMMFI. Climbers then travel to Tanzania where they'll summit Africa's highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The Details

  • Dates: June 2-10, 2017
  • Program Cost: $2,750 
  • Climbers commit to raise $3,000 in support of RMMFI. These funds will create opportunities for RMMFI Entrepreneurs as they successfully launch and grow businesses.
  • Spots are limited and applications open today.

This sounds perfect. What's next?

Click below to show your interest in joining the June 2017 climb. A September 15 info session will be open to all interested. Those unable to attend the session can also schedule an individual session to learn more. 

Loan #400!

September 7, 2016: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Denver, CO – Denver-based social enterprise OneSeed Expeditions announced today their 400th microfinance loan, surpassing more than $180,000 invested in entrepreneurs throughout Asia, South America, and Africa.

Founded in 2010, OneSeed Expeditions is a mountain guiding outfitter that uses that power of travel to fund small businesses around the world.  OneSeed’s more than 50 local guides lead expeditions in remote regions and bucket-list destinations like Patagonia, the Himalayas, and the Serengati.  OneSeed then invests 10 cents of every incoming dollar into microfinance initiatives that provide loans for local entrepreneurs.

“OneSeed has a simple mission,” says founder Chris Baker.  “We explore the world and invest in people.  We truly believe in the power of entrepreneurship and the hard work of individuals. We also know that access to capital is a persistent barrier to growing businesses in many of the places where we guide. We see using travel to fund entrepreneurship as a real opportunity to strengthen communities and protect some of our favorite corners of the world.”

That simple mantra has worked well for the travel start-up.  In the short time since its founding, OneSeed has invested in hundreds of small businesses while expanding guiding operations to seven countries. Last year, OneSeed was recognized for their work with an award at the World Responsible Tourism Awards

“Social impact is baked into everything we do,” says Baker.  “From training young guides to supporting hard-working entrepreneurs, OneSeed works hard to make travel work for local communities.”

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OneStory: The Women's Bakery

The OneSeed OneStory series highlights the work of innovators and changemakers around the world. Interested in sharing your story? Contact us at info@oneseedexpeditions.com.

We're all about hustle at OneSeed. We know firsthand what it takes to transform an idea into a business and we could not have more respect for the incredible women at the heart of this social enterprise. 

The Women's Bakery is "an education-centric social enterprise committed to empowering women and developing women-owned businesses." Building sustainable small businesses one bakery at a time in Rwanda and Tanzania, TWB grew out of a simple passion and clear vision for growing communities and livelihood through fresh-baked bread. 

This week, we sat down with Heather Newell, TWB's US Programs Officer, to talk baking and building businesses. 

Tell me about how TWB's earliest days. How did this project first get off the ground?

While a teacher with the U.S. Peace Corps in Rwanda, I first heard about The Women's Bakery before it was what it is today. 

Two colleagues of mine, Markey Culver and Julie Greene, in response to social and economic disparity, had started to bake bread with women in their respective sites of service. This was compelling to me as the project began with a sustainable aspect: income generation. 

Women asked how to make bread and so both Markey and Julie began to share and teach this skill - also fortifying breads with protein and micro nutrients. 

Soon, they were selling the bread and The Women's Bakery was born. 

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Tell me a bit about your impact model. 

Our work as a service-provider is two-fold:

1. We educate women and equip them with the business, technical, and life skills necessary for income generation. 

2. We train women to source local, nutritious ingredients and to produce and sell fortified, affordable breads in their communities. Our program includes on-going oversight and operations management to ensure sustainability and business growth. 

TWB empowers women with business, baking, nutrition, and life skills education. This provides economic mobility, improves community nutrition and sparks local economies. The average woman in TWB training is 39 years old and has 4.6 children. 40% rely on farming for primary income, and 50% live in female led homes. Only 14% have finished high school level education. 

One bakery creates 3-6 jobs in its first year and women can earn over 2x their average local income after one year of bakery operation. The average GNI (Gross National Income) in Rwanda currently is $650. Within one year, TWB women can earn $981 – this income projection is conservative and expected to increase substantially in two to five years. 

Why bread?

Something as simple as a loaf of bread has the power to create jobs, improve nutrition and spark economic growth. Bread is a medium for The Women’s Bakery to accomplish all three - employ women, provide access to improved nutrition on a village level, and support community-driven economic growth. 

In Rwanda alone, 44% of children younger than five-years-old are chronically malnourished. Because protein and vitamin deficiencies are a leading cause of malnutrition in East Africa and are missing from consumer products, affordable nutritious additives are essential. When women work, economies grow faster. Through The Women’s Bakery, women’s work has the potential to transform local economies while enhancing the health of their communities.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?

The biggest challenge we have faced as an organization is pivoting for necessary model changes. Our program is extensive – with a lot of moving parts – and so as a social enterprise start-up, we are constantly looking for ways to build sustainable, smart, and impactful programming! Working on the ground in East Africa is not always easy, but it’s an important part of how we do our work: with a locally driven context, and locally driven employees! 

What's the long term vision for TWB? How do you plan to grow in the future?

The Women’s Bakery exists to empower women through education and business. We believe our model can be relevant throughout Rwanda, East Africa, and beyond! 

The Women’s Bakery is at a critical point of strategy and scale. By refining our model, we are poised to launch a relevant, measurably impactful, profitable bakery franchise model in East Africa. We plan to train at least two more groups this year, expanding our internal staff, and growing our network of TWB women.

This scale is multiplicative. Moreover, this model and its scale can be duplicated and replicated across East Africa. We are refining the model in Rwanda in real time with plans to scale into neighboring East African countries.

Learn more about The Women's Bakery. 

See their pitch video here. 

Want to share your OneStory? Contact us. 

OneSeed Recognized at World Responsible Tourism Awards

OneSeed Expeditions celebrates Silver at World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015

Media release:  5th November 2015

OneSeed Expeditions has been named the joint-Silver winner in the Best in Poverty Reduction category at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at World Travel Market in London.

The US tour operator was announced a Silver winner at a special ceremony yesterday at World Travel Market in London, part of World Responsible Tourism Day. 

The Best in Poverty Reduction, sponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly, awards holiday providers that offer memorable experiences that support their activities in seeking to reduce and prevent poverty in a local community. The judges were looking for tourism organisation that can significantly reduce poverty in a local area and provide a working example for other providers.

In his journal ‘Progress in Responsible Tourism’ Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the judging panel comments on why OneSeed Expeditions has been recognised; “OneSeed Expeditions have what they describe as a ‘simple’ model , simple maybe, but certainly not common. They hire local guides, protect local environments and respect local customs - but what makes them stand out is their commitment to invest 10% of total revenue in loans to entrepreneurs in need of capital, this is done by partnering with microfinances institutions in each of the countries in which they operate. The judges were impressed by the model, the transparent reporting and the scale or what has already been achieved”.

Goodwin adds Judging the Awards is an exacting task; the decisions which the judges take get tougher every year. The volume, quality and diversity of nominations grow each year and each category engenders considerable debate amongst the judges. The quality that we had before us this year is higher than ever - evidenced by the fact that there are joint gold winners in four of the twelve categories”.

Chris Baker, Founder of OneSeed Expeditions, commented on their win, “We’re honored to have shared the stage with so many great organizations with the same goal of making travel work for local communities and local economies. OneSeed is proud to have been recognized today and we congratulate all of those here today.”

Welcoming over 500 people to the event in London, Justin Francis, Managing director of Awards organisers Responsible Travel explained how the Awards were founded to change the face of the tourist industry. “The aim of the Awards is to inspire the tourists and the tourism industry by what is possible to achieve through responsible tourism” says Francis. “In our 12th year we have added one more inspiring winner and more remarkable stories which will shape how the industry and tourists think about the future of tourism”.

Category sponsor, the Tobago House of Assembly commented “We operate in hope that companies such as this year’s winners along with previous holders of the Responsible Tourism 'Best for poverty reduction' Award are continuously recognised for their endeavours. These contributors forge the benefits of tourism among the communities who need it most and we congratulate them on making the difference in the lives of those who are often made invisible to the outside world. All lives matter.”

A photo library of winner’s images is accessible here: http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/media/   


Back to the Basics: Packing 101

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or a complete novice, packing wisely for your expedition will help you make sure that you are prepared for anything.  We’ve put together a short list of items to help you eliminate the stress of packing and answer some of your questions.

  1. Try it on! Test out your gear in the comfort of your own home. Hiking boots aren't the only item that you should try on before your trip. Having loose-fitting trekking pants, a backpack that sits evenly on your hips, and sleeping bag that fits you snugly are important too!
  2. ZZZZs. Don't forget your sleeping bag! If you're staying in refugios or teahouses, you'll be using your sleeping bag on top of the mattress. If you'll be camping during your expedition, OneSeed will provide you with a sleeping pad and a tent.
  3. Trekking poles? Yay or nay? Many people loves trekking poles because they provide extra stability on rocky terrain but it's up to personal preference. If you have never used them and don't think you want give them a shot, no need! If you have balance issues or weak ankles, they're a great idea to keep you injury-free on the trail.
  4. Know your H2O! Water is provided for you throughout your trek. You'll be filling up your water bottles in the morning for your day's trek. In many places, you'll have the chance to refill throughout the day. A camelback style bladder is a great option for easy access to water while hiking.
  5. Store the excess. Anything that's not absolutely essential for your trek can be stored at one of our partner lodges until you return. A luggage lock can be placed on your suitcase for added security. Heavy books and electronics are great for the airplane, but add a lot of weight to your backpack!
  6. Mules, porter, or am I carrying everything myself? Depending on the location of your expedition, you may be required to carry a backpack with all your gear or just a small daypack. You can find this information at the top of your packing list.
    • Mules or Porters: Bring a duffle bag to store your gear (instead of a second backpack) for the porters/mules. You'll carry your water, lunch, sunscreen, raincoat, snacks, camera etc. in your daypack. It should be around 25-liter with a comfortable hip belt to distribute weight away from your shoulders.
    • If your expedition does not include porters or mules, you're required to carry all your gear in a large backpack. Typically, this means a 50-liter pack but it depends on your specific packing list. Lay out all your items for the trip and pack them into your backpack. If everything fits, you’re all set!