8th of March

The Little Pink Slot Machine

Walking the streets of Kathmandu capital of Nepal with fellow traveler Gaoness Yang, looking for a nice local restaurant to feed our starving tummies we came across this scene:


Usually when I come across something intriguing I do not hesitate to pick up my camera and shoot – as I know that whatever is causing this moment to be a potential interesting image may only last but a fraction of a second. However I have to admit, in this instance I was completely taken aback. I could not figure out what this pink slot machine was doing in an empty green room with a woman sitting enjoying her fruit in front of a TV.

Having travelled a fair bit in Asia, I am no stranger to unusual settings on the streets, but I have to say this particular setup was a bit more random that what I am used to. Fortunately there was no risk of this scene disappearing anytime soon, and having caught my breath my instinct returned, and I raised the camera to my eye capturing this peculiar moment.

This is what I love about places like Nepal. I don’t get to see places like this back home. This family had some spare space, and decided to turn it into a minute gambling place – I suppose. I don’t figure it is a particular successful business, but it is a business none the less. Actually in hindsight I regret not asking if I could play the slot machine – I would have loved to support her little business. I guess I was just too distracted by my roaring tummy.

Gaoness and I enjoyed the scene for a moment – taking it all in. Then we carried on our search for a nice place to eat.

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Categories:  Nepal Photography Travel
7th of December

You Cannot Hide From Who You Are


I haven’t really posted here for a while – to be honest I have been too caught up in
climbing, and after returning to Kathmandu, hanging out with friends and walking the streets photographing for my little book project “Colors of Kathmandu”

Today I leave Nepal, after almost 40 wonderful days here. There are so many impressions from this trip to Nepal – I hope I will manage to materialize them soon, and share them here!

All I can say for now is that this has been an amazing trip. I prepared for this adventure for a year. I managed to loose 15kgs of body weight finally getting under 100kg as part of the preparations. First time I visited Nepal in 2009 I was 128kg heavy, next time (in 2011) 115kg. Now I am slightly less than 100kg. I think it is safe to say that the quest for the mountains has been good for my health!

Summiting Imjse Tse, 6189m was an amazing experience. Preparing for something for that long, and making the dream become a reality was nothing short of amazing. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and it motivates me and gives me the confidence to prepare for further adventures (next trip to Nepal is already in the making).

When I left for this trip, some part of me was struggling coming to terms with my way of life – maybe it is time to settle down, maybe it is time to live a “normal” life?

I think if it is one thing I have learned from this trip, it is you cannot hide from who you are. There is a reason that I keep coming back to this part of the world.
There is a reason that I keep hitting the streets with my camera. There is a reason that I keep seeking out adventure. It is simply just who I am.

I have realized that when I do what I love, I put out a lot of positive energy, and “good stuff” just happens in return. New opportunities arises. I meet new like-minded people. New projects appear. A fellow nomad and photographer friend Flemming Bo Jensen – who also is a great writer, wrote something on his blog a while back, that I can really relate to. As he said – “I am not running away from something – I am running towards to something”! The last few years has been filled with me running towards my dreams.

I left England after living there for 4 amazing years – even though I was enjoying it immensely there. But I had dreamed for long to try to work for my dream company Miracle A/S in Denmark. After having fulfilled that dream – having a great time, learning a lot, working with some amazing people, I quit my job to pursue my dream of traveling the world, for an undefined period. It was an amazing journey! It ended up with me returning to Denmark to start my own company, which was a new adventure indeed. At the same time the preparation started for Imjse Tse.

Now having fulfilled the dream of Imjse Tse, I realize that stopping with pursuing my dreams, and settling into a life that society calls “normal” would be silly.
I don’t see the point of trying to be something that I am not, and trying to want something that most people want. I realize that living a different lifestyle, is not always a dance on roses – but life will always be a bumpy ride no matter how you live it. I think the best we can do is to go for what we want, and own up to the consequences. And I have never been more ready to do that, than I am right now.

Of course I realize that doing crazy and sometimes dangerous things worries the people that I care about. And for that I am truly sorry – and I appreciate their effort to try and understand me. And thereby on a finishing note – thank you for all the support from my friends and family – it means the world to me!

So long Nepal, and thank you for all the daal bhat. Hope to see you again come May!

2nd of November

In Kathmandu – off to the Mountains Rock Star Style!!!


Life has been hectic today! I arrived in Kathmandu after a 23 hours tiring flight (12 hours of transit in Doha, is a real killer!!)

Today I metup with the fantastic people from Peak Promotion and I learned that we are leaving for Lukla tomorrow at 6:30 AM – not the 6th of November as I had thought. So everything had to be finalized in one day in sted of 4 days – meaning that today I managed to get a haircut, a nepali phone number, handle all the financial stuff, get copies of documents, purchase a bit of gear, get a one hour massage by a blind person (I am a returning happy customer at seing hand, Kathmandu – can only recommend their massages!!), bought all the medicine, and met up with my guide and planned the equipment. And finished the evening with a nice dinner with a friend here, and of course got to eat a slace of the amazing zuricake!!


Now my guide is such a nice person! (As are pretty much all the Nepalis I’ve met the three times I have been here are). I feel in very safe hands, seing as he has previously climbed Mt. Everest 5 times. Imjse Tse, is just a small speed bump for this guy :p :p

The hospitality I have received from Peak Promotion, the company I employed for this climb, has been amazing! From a nice reception in the airport, to a huuuuge 2×3 meter banner at the guest house with the following writting on it:

“Hearty welcome to Mr. Michael Birkmose, Island Peak Climb 2012”. I was soo overwhelmed!! This is truely Nepal rockstar style! 🙂

Now these Peak Promotion guys are so cool and organized – they are even going to have a online blog with the trek along the way. So yeah – you will be able to follow this silly danish viking online here:


Did I mention that I am kinda super excited??? 🙂

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Categories:  Nepal Travel
2nd of November

The Joy of Doing Nothing

I have been hanging around in Kathmandu for a week or so now. In the time I have been here – I have been doing absolutely nothing.

It has been a great feeling! Although in the beginning I had a tough time doing nothing to be honnest. I felt that I “had to” go see things you where “supposed” to see. I met many other travellers, who where busy going to various temples, attractions around the city, travelling to other cities as these places where supposed to be really nice, basically doing whatever is popular around Kathmandu.

But somehow I really didn’t feel like doing any of that stuff. In the beginning I was actually feeling guilty about this. I guess I have become so used to being busy doing stuff. Actually – in some way, being busy has become a bad habbit.

The first few days I just roamed around, spend time finding low key cheap places to eat, and read a lot (currently reading the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). After a few days something really great started happening. I started getting curious.

I work in IT, and it has been great having a break from my professional field. But here I was, in the capital of Nepal, doing nothing, and all of the sudden I got interested in IT again. So for the past 5 days I have been busy with my computer, studying new things (I will not bore you with the details). But it has been quite a while since I felt like learning something new, for the sake of learning something new – and not for solving a specific task at work.

I think I will have to do more of nothing sometime in the future… 🙂

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Categories:  Nepal Thoughts Travel
22nd of October

Finished the Circuit, and a bit of Paragliding

Came back from the Annapurna Circuit last night. 14 amazing days of trekking – beautiful weather, and amazing company. And no dramas 🙂 Health and fitness was great! Yesterday I got up at 4:30 and climbed Poon Hill together with a couple of very nice Swedish people and a funny Argentinian guy. It was a 500 meters climb to 3200 meters altitude. Poon Hill is the place I visited in 2009, which gave me appetite to go back to visit Nepal again. Back then it was a pretty hard climb for me. Yesterday after an total of 36 days of trekking in Nepal (Everest + Annapurna), it was sooo easy. It was a great feeling – the feeling of physical fitness. I will try my best to keep in shape after this trip 🙂

Unfortunately the views weren’t very good due to bad weather condition. When I was at Poon Hill in 2009 it was an amazing view, which I will never forget. But the remaining part of the circuit was simply stunning – great views! Will make sure to post some photos soon.

Trekking alone was a great experience. The ultimate freedom. And a lot cheaper than purchasing a guide. And with the Annapurna Circuit being such a popular trek, you meet a lot of people along the way. So I defiantly do not regret the decision of going alone!

This morning I went paragliding for an hour around Pokhara. Amazing! A funny feeling in the stomach though. I flew in tandem with a Russian pilot – who used to fly MIG-21 planes. Very nice man. Soooo calm 🙂

Tomorrow I am off back to Kathmandu. My only plan is to relax, eat good food, read some nice books. In general to chill out. After 2 very long treks, I think I have earned it… 🙂

6th of October

Off For a Short 260 km Walk

After 10 days of rest in Kathmandu, I am craving for the mountains again! As much I enjoyed eating fresh fruit, vegetable, salad, meat, and just chilling out – I miss the mountains terribly.

Heading off tomorrow morning at 7 am to begin the Annapurna Circuit walk – a 18ish days 260 km walk, including one of the highest mountain passes in the world – Thourung La (5416m).

This time I go alone with no guide, so I am excited to see how that goes. There should be plenty of people around, so I am sure I will never get completely loney. But perhaps a little lost a few times 🙂

A very nice dude from Israel (Samuel) gave me some really good coffee, so I bought myself a little gas burner so that I can make myself a cup of israelli coffee every now and then. The luxuries of life 😉

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Categories:  Nepal Travel