Credit: Contributed photo
Eli Kretzmann is shown here in Nepal at the foot of the Himalayas.
For information on relief trips Kretzmann will be planning for fall, updates, or for other questions, log onto
As of Tuesday, May 5, 2015
GRANGEVILLE – For most Idaho County residents, the connection to Nepal and its devastating earthquake of April 25, is remote. However, for 2003 Grangeville High School graduate Eli Kretzmann, the tragedy hits close to home – literally.
Five months of the year, Kretzmann lives in a flat in Kathmandu, Nepal. There, he runs his business, Over The Edge Travel, as well as take in the culture and adventure elements of the country.
“I came home for a friend’s wedding just before the earthquake hit,” Kretzmann shook his head last Thursday. “Of course I am thankful to be OK, but now I am just itching to get back and help.”
He was to fly out Tuesday and head back to Nepal where he will begin to work on relief efforts.
Kretzmann got the travel bug when he was about 15 and reading Adventure Magazine. High school AP English teacher Craig Cunningham helped solidify Kretzmann’s wanderlust spirit when Cunningham talked about his own trips to New Zealand.
“That was my goal at that time – I was headed to New Zealand,” he smiled.
Kretzmann, the son of Peter and Nathalie Kretzmann of Grangeville, went on to attend Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., where he obtained a degree in business administration.
It was during college that he had the opportunity to travel to Romania. In 2007, he traveled to Nepal for the first time to Everest Space Camp. In 2011 he returned to complete volunteer work. In 2011-12 he had the opportunity to work on the prevention of human trafficking and the sex trade.
In between, Kretzmann did get to New Zealand, as well as Pakistan, Turkey and Europe.
Now, he is settled in Nepal nearly half the year where he started his business that provides lower-key, small group specialized tours for tourists.
“I go on the tours with them and work at being a cultural liaison as well as show them the countryside,” he said. During the summers he returns to Idaho where he works as a raft guide for Adventure Sun Valley on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a job he has held since college.
Kretzmann said he believes everyone should travel and have the opportunity to see another country.
“I have been all over now and traveling has shown me a different perspective and has made me know I am very blessed to live in America,” he said. “It has also made me see I can do with a lot less material items.”
Kretzmann said anyone can travel – they just have to have the desire and be willing to make certain adjustments to make it happen.
When he arrives in Kathmandu – which has a population of about 3 million — this week, Kretzmann will work with outlying villages to help bring supplies as well as mobile shelters to the foothills of the Himalayas. The shelters cost about $100 each and Kretzmann has helped design and build them.
“The Nepalese have been so welcoming to me and are really just great people, and I want to give back to them, help them, and also help out in the area where I call home part of the year,” he said.
Those who wish to keep in touch with what Kretzmann is doing in Nepal can find him on Facebook as well as his business, Over the Edge Travel. Those who wish to donate to reliable sources where all the funds will go toward relief can do so through two organizations which Kretzmann’s flatmates and he work with: Five14.bu (a human trafficking prevention organization) and portalbikes,org (which will be building shelters as well as training Nepali people to build them).