Many of you already know that I have a pretty deep fondness for Nepal. But what most of you don’t know is how and why I chose to visit there in the first place.
Well, the answer is kinda amusing.
You ever heard of this video game?
It’s called Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a universally praised title developed by Naughty Dog that originally released for the PlayStation 3 system in 2009.
If you aren’t familiar, it’s about a world explorer (like me!) named Nathan Drake who gets caught up in an Indiana Jones-style adventure across the world, trying to obtain a lost treasure before a group of international baddies get their grubby hands on it. Of course, this game is right up my alley, so I had to play it. It also doesn’t hurt that it is one of the best-reviewed video games in history. Play it if you haven’t!
One of the game’s chapters led me (Nathan Drake) into a fictionalized, battle-bruised version of Kathmandu, Nepal. I’ve heard of Kathmandu before, but I knew absolutely nothing about it. But I have to hand it to the game designers, they made Kathmandu feel engrossing (even with all the rubble) and after playing through the chapter, it sparked an interest in actually going there.
I googled Kathmandu and did an image search and was happy to find that the developers of the game were faithful in recreating Nepal as accurate as possible: the colorful prayer flags strung across the old, almost crumbled brick buildings, the temples, the lighting, the snow-capped mountains in the backdrop. Everything was just like I’ve seen from the images.
This is what part of Kathmandu looks like today…
…before Naughty Dog created a fictionalized battle-beaten version.
That yellow taxi even looks like the ones I caught while I was there!
Suddenly, Nepal skyrocketed to the top of my list of countries I must explore.
I made the decision then and there. I had to go.
About a year or so later, I booked a flight to Nepal and worked with an organization in Kathmandu to volunteer at a school in Pokhara. And from there, the rest is history. It sounds a bit farcical and cliche to say this, but it changed my life forever. For the better.
It’s crazy to think that if I’ve never played that game, then I probably would never have gone to Nepal. At least not so suddenly. It was never really on my radar until the moment I blew up bad guys with a grenade launcher in the middle of Kathmandu.
Thank you, Naughty Dog.
P.S – There are two amazing sequels that have also been critically praised. I have yet to play the fourth but will do so whenever I find the time.
Has anything unorthodox ever inspired you to visit a specific place? Please let me know! 🙂