Women on the move

The Nepali women who venture off the beaten trek, and vlog about their adventures

Sirjana Sizzu in Chhachhung in Humla's Dojang village.

Sirjana Sizzu

Sirjana Sizzu does not recall having stayed in any one place for any length of time  since she left her home in West Rukum to travel to Upper Dolpo in 2020.

Sirjana had an affinity for the great outdoors from a young age, and graduated in forestry from a college in Kathmandu. She wanted to get a government job, but was unsuccessful twice. 

We reached Sirjana on the phone one recent afternoon in Bardia, where she had just returned from a safari. Months earlier she was 4,100m up at Panch Pokhari in Sindhupalchok.

“I go where my whim takes me, I might be in one district today and another tomorrow, home is wherever I happen to be,” says the 27-year-old travel content creator. “I did not see a tiger but I definitely heard one, so I think it must have seen me.” 

Women travellers
Sirjana Sizzu.

One of the lowest moments in Sirjana's life became a turning point because she had gone off to explore the mountains near her home. Filming and posting videos on YouTube seemed like a natural next step, which was easy because she had posted clips during her forestry field trips. 

Sirjana began documenting her journeys to little-known destinations in Karnali Province, filming and editing on her phone and posting on YouTube — learning as she went along. 

Her YouTube channel has amassed more than 100,000 subscribers, placing her among the top Nepali travel vloggers. But the life of a content creator is not easy. Monetisation is complicated, and the lack of connectivity in remote areas is a hindrance. Navigating the intricacies of being a content creator in Nepal is an adventure in itself.

Sirjana remembers passing through remote villages in Karnali where people were initially wary of outsiders, but who welcomed her into their homes, and even helped her film. She says, “When a person takes the very first step to unexplored places, it is easier for others to follow because Nepalis always make space after initial  apprehension. Even though I travel solo, I am never alone. The people I meet become my companions and my friends.”

Vedica Gajurel

Women travellers
Vedica Gajurel in Ilam.

Vedica Gajurel set out alone towards Tadapani from Khopra along a wild and little-travelled trail in the Annapurna region last October. Her phone speaker was on full volume to scare off wild animals when she heard wild animals in the steep undergrowth.  

Vedica called the owner of the nearest teahouse and told him what was going on. He told her to stay put, he was coming to get her. The noises got louder and closer.

It was a pair of bears. The teahouse owner escorted her to Tadapani, telling her it was a good thing she hadn’t encountered the animals since Himalayan black bears can be dangerous.

The 30-year-old chartered accountant posts vlogs of her domestic and international travels on YouTube, but the encounter with the bear was too scary and she did not film it.

Women travellers
Vedika Gajurel in Annapurna Base Camp.

Vedica completed high school in Hetauda and did her chartered accountant degree in New Delhi. But even during her internship, she had begun to feel claustrophobic in narrow office cubicles.  

“I soon realised that corporate life was not for me,” says Vedica, who returned to Nepal in 2018 and worked in banks before calling it quits. “I did not know what I was going to do after I left my job, but I knew I needed to explore.”

Vedica did her first journey in Bandipur, and since then has done the Mardi Trek, to Janakpur and Swargadwari, as well as beyond to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. She has more than 11,000 subscribers on YouTube. 

For Vedica, this is more a hobby than a source of income and she pays for her travels through occasional freelance jobs and investments in the stock market.

“Earning through content creation is still not sustainable in Nepal,” she says. 

Travel content creators like Vedica do not let doubts and worry hold them back. Along the way, they have learned to manage everything themselves, from planning to filming and editing to posting.

Vedica earliest memories of her travelling alone are of visiting a village of the Lepcha people near Nepal’s eastern border. She was nervous at first, but the villagers organised a welcome program just for her and this put her at ease.

Divya Dhakal

Women travellers
Divya Dhakal in Khumai Danda below Machhapuchre.

While some content creators prefer to produce longer vlogs on YouTube, many more post shorter content on Instagram and TikTok. 

Divya Dhakal has woken up to mountain sunrises all her life in her hometown of Pokhara. The 27-year-old has a Master’s in adventure tourism, and works in hospitality while travelling and creating content in her downtime. 

“Having grown up surrounded by peaks, it was natural to have the urge to travel and explore,” says Divya, who hiked to Poon Hill for the first time in 2015 and then travelled to Tara Lake in 2019.

Unlike more spontaneous digital creators, Divya plans her travel carefully, researching places and communities beforehand. She posts short clips on Instagram, providing context and information on her travels through narration and text-on videos. 

Women travellers
Divya Dhakal in Dhorpatan.

Divya thinks it is better to have financial stability before becoming a full time travel volgger since there is not much money coming in from the posts. 

“Instagram is more convenient for me, because it takes less time, while YouTube would take more dedication and effort,” explains Divya who has 32,000 followers on the platform.

Most women who travel and vlog say their parents are concerned for their safety, but Divya says now that she has established herself in the field, the worries have diminished. 

Divya recalls staying in a cowshed with nomadic herders in meadows blooming with wildflowers in Dhorpatan in 2022, one of her most meaningful travel experiences. She adds, “The narratives, culture, and ways of life of such far flung communities, especially in western Nepal, are entirely different from the rest of the country.” 

Pratikcha Karki

Women travellers
Pratikcha Karki in Chhomrong, in Annapurna Base Camp.

Pratikcha Karki was born and raised in Sikkim and had been to Nepal only a few times previously, once as a toddler, and later on to visit relatives in eastern Nepal. 

“I was never keen on travelling,” says the 26-year-old chemistry graduate who is currently pursuing an MA in English. “My family insisted I get to know the world, so I thought why not establish my independence through travel.”

Everything changed after she visited Nepal in 2019, and trekked to Tilicho Lake in Manang. The hike and scenery were so exciting that she decided to focus on Nepal and has been coming here every other month since 2022.

Pratikcha documents her travels primarily on Instagram, preferring to let viewers come across her videos organically rather than actively promoting her channel. She now has more than 114,000 followers. 

“I was quite camera-shy initially, which is evident in my earlier videos in which I preferred to point the camera towards where I was rather than on myself,” says Pratikcha.

Women travellers
Pratikcha Karki's picture from Rara.

She has been in Kathmandu since November, and was planning her next trip to Kakani when Nepali Times got in touch for this story.  

Pratikcha Karki remembers standing on the edge of Tilicho Lake and looking out into its ink blue expanse below immense icy cliffs, feeling the urge to explore more of the world around her. She says, “No other place has awakened my need for travel like Tilicho has.” 

Shristi Karki


Shristi Karki is a correspondent with Nepali Times. She joined Nepali Times as an intern in 2020, becoming a part of the newsroom full-time after graduating from Kathmandu University School of Arts. Karki has reported on politics, current affairs, art and culture.

  • Most read