For the next two days, Jason, Paul and Chhabi hiked upwards to reach 6000 meters, to a point on top of a ridge right in front of Mount Everest that will always be buried in their minds. The freedom, atmosphere and indescribable scenery were breathtaking, but more than anything, Jason could not believe how much he was unaffected by the unbelievably cold air, rain and frost due to his choice of clothing, the $5 thermal and a $25 jacket purchased earlier in Kathmandu.
On day eight, after they had started to descend the north side of the Himalayas, Jason kept asking Chhabi “Where are these jackets made?” as Jason was completely amazed that something so cheap and well-made could originate from a country such as Nepal. Chhabi informed Jason that he happened to personally know the factory owner and would take him there once they returned to Kathmandu.
Five days later, Jason was introduced to a very nice man named Jeevan, who owned a little sweatshop in the back blocks of Kathmandu. His factory consisted of two little rooms built from wood, clay, paper and scrap metal, with five men in each room sitting in front of their sewing machines pumping out these incredibly well made trekking jackets for the benefit of travellers such as Jason and Paul.
Jason explained to Jeevan that he had purchased one of his jackets before setting off trekking and that he had been completely amazed by how good the quality was. Jason then asked Jeevan whether he would mind if he picked out ten sample jackets, added a logo, and took them home to see whether anyone would be interested in buying them. Jeevan kindly waved his head and said “Of course Mr Jason, this would be very good for my business if you could find some buyers in Australia”. Jason and Paul then headed to a little café for a few cups of green tea and to decide on a logo and a business name for Jason’s new business venture. Paul reflected on what an amazing trek it had been and commented that one day he would also like to visit the Rift valley in Africa. Jason then paused for a moment and looked at Paul and said “Mmmmmm thanks mate”, and that’s where the Rift journey began!