Hello! We are Yo and Mel, the founders of Surya. We'd love to share our journey with you on the origins of Surya. How we (as self confessed SUN, sand, surf and salt lovers at the time) accidentally ended up in the high altitude, landlocked, mountainous country of Nepal, and how it changed our life forever.

2007 - 2008


Picture it if you will: an Australian scuba diving instructor and and a French traveller were living in a tiny coastal town in Western Australia, both thousands of kilometres away from where they grew up. We had just finished our seasonal jobs working on boats and decided to take a year or so off, and go on a little adventure.

Our first stop was India as we felt we would really resonate with the country, and wanted to delve more into yoga and meditation. We added a month in Bali at the beginning (and the end it turned out) and hoped that we would have enough money to move onto a new destination. Africa? South America? Who knew where we would end up!

After little to no planning, we (strangely) arrived in India at the worst possible moment - the South of the country in March. Intrepid Travel say: "March, April and May are generally dry, though the heat can be overpowering." Yes, yes it was.

We spent April and May of 2008 heading north trying to outrun it, until it seemed at every new stop the heat had overtaken us and was waiting for us when we arrived. We finally had to admit we weren't actually enjoying ourselves, and made the hard decision to go 'off plan' and duck up to Nepal until the heat subsided. India, we'll see you again in July!

We arrived in Nepal overland from India by bus (part way on the rooftop), and just WOW. Driving for hours, through firstly the plains of the Terrai, then up and down through mountainous jungles until finally we reached the Kathmandu Valley - it was a stunning introduction. It sounds cliché, but sitting on the roof of that bus that day, we both felt a sense of freedom and euphoria that neither of us had felt before.

We didn't know it then but our lives had changed forever.

We still remember vividly how we felt on our very first day in Nepal. We were in our absolute element - the colourful prayer flags, the beautiful flowers and offerings, the amazing FOOD, the most beautiful people, and of course the cutest little shops selling exactly our type of 'hippie' clothing that we'd been buying from our local markets for ages (more on that later though).

Every day was a brand new adventure in those early times, we had found a country that we really resonated with. The history of Nepal, the culture, the scents wandering around the streets ... we were jolted from our lives and immersed into another culture we didn't even know existed.

We experienced everything on offer; from visiting temples to white water rafting, we went shopping, we ate .. yes we ate! And then we went and walked up a little hill for 10 days (aka trekking)!

Read about our trek

We set out for Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) smack bang in middle of the wet season. Of course we did.

We managed to do one thing right though - we hired a local guide. Buddhi encouraged us when the 10,000 stair day (Day 1) got us (me) down, he took us to the bestest tea houses at the end of each day, he made sure we didn't get lost, and at the end of our 10 day trek he was a new friend.

We were the last trek of the season before all local guides and seasonal workers went home to their villages to help the family with the rice planting. We wanted to help!

Buddhi very kindly invited us to come with him to his village and family home, but on the one condition that under no circumstances were we to help - at all - and to just enjoy ourselves and experience Nepali village life.

We did both; we got in the way and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After an amazing week, we left the village and headed back to Pokhara with one thing on our minds - how do we keep this in our lives forever?

The 'this' was the Nepali people and way of life that we were now smitten with. We had fallen in love with Nepal, her people and culture, but were running out of money and needed to leave soon .. back to India?

After a few sad and sorry days not knowing what the future now held for us, the answer was staring us in the face all along: begin a business trading with Nepal so we have to come back every year.

So we went and did that.

Finding our name was easy: how do you say 'sun' in Nepali? SURYA of course.

I've written loads about the very beginnings of our market stall, and the evolution of our business in general in many blog posts. Perhaps the the best one to read would be the post I wrote when Surya turned 10 ... 5 years ago this year!

The future

So we turn 15 this year! September 2023 is going to be a HUGE month of celebrations for us ... and we'll also be making a little big announcement!

As always, we wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for all your support. We've loved the first 15 years running Surya, and cannot wait for the next 15 to get started. Thanks for being with us on our journey so far, and we'll see you out there soon!