Stories of Nepalis in USA
- a man with a gift of gab in Burtonsville, Maryland
Robin Bhandari has a confident and dashing voice that resonates
with high amicability making you feel comfortable and relaxed. People
admire him for his mingling persona.
Born to father Siddhi Ram Bhandari and mother
Shanti Bhandari 46 years ago in Ranipokhari, Kathmandu, Mr. Bhandari
is the youngest sibling in the family. Like himself well settled
in USA with his wife, a son and a daughter, his brother and sister
are settled in New Zealand and Australia with their families.
Godfather & Inspiration
“What I am today, it is all because of my godfather”,
says Mr. Bhandari when he talks about Mr. Sharad Amatya. Mr. Amatya
who inspired him to get into travel trade profession himself was
the first Nepali to work in the first travel agency “Shah
and Rai” in Kantipath, Kathmandu which was later named “Third
Eye Travel & Tours”.
He feels equally proud when he speaks about his
parents who brought him into this world and his godfather who shaped
up his life. He says his godfather instills him even today.
Mr. Bhandari began his career in 1979 with Trans
World Airlines (TWA) and Cathay Pacific. Soaltee Hotel Limited was
the General Sales Agent (GSA) for those airlines then and this gave
him the opportunity to work under Mr. Prabhakar Rana, a reputed
personality in Nepal, whom he terms as the best boss in the world.
First job in Nepal
– Ultimate career in USA
Mr. Bhandari is a fortunate man who has been able to stick to his
one and only profession since 1979. His first job in Nepal also
happened to be the last when he left his home country in 1991. The
same occupation later became his ultimate career in USA.
He came, he saw and he conquered – that
was exactly what he did after coming to USA in March 1991. His zeal
and enthusiasm prompted him to apply for a post in a travel agency
advertised in “Washington Post”. It was his 20 days
in USA then. He tried his luck and the lady luck smiled upon him
and he got the job, H1 status and ultimately the Green Card from
the job where he worked as the Manager for 5 years. He was so excited
with his initial accomplishment in USA that he thoroughly enjoyed
the first six months of his job commuting to his workplace changing
4 buses spending 3.15 hours everyday until he got his first car.
He still loves to ride buses and whenever he gets time off from
his seven days a week grind, he goes for it to recollect the old
After working for a couple of other travel agencies
in the US and with the support of his wife Sarmila Bhandari, he
finally opened his own travel agency “Peaceland Travel &
Tours” in October 1997. He says it was a risk he took quitting
a well paid job and until his travel business got into full swing
and stability, he worked as a part time check-in-agent for US Airways.
But his hard work and his faith on himself sashayed out with flying
colors and within a short span of time his efforts started to bear
fruits. Apart from the ethnic Nepalese, the corporate group and
the university students visiting Nepal on short study trips rely
on his travel agency for their hassle free travel to Nepal.
With the success of his clientele service –
the travel agency, he has got his hands into retail business too.
He has been running a gas station since February 2004 and still
intends to branch out his travel agency in other states as well.
And if stability comes back, he hopes to establish
a travel and tourism business in Nepal. He prays peace comes to
Nepal soon for the sake of the real and needy Nepali people. He
is saddened by the way the Government has been talking about peace
without a peaceful resolution.
America – a
Mr. Bhandari has his own philosophy towards attaining success in
the US. He terms America as a true gold mine and the way to it is
through sheer hard work and honesty. He believes in believing in
oneself and putting ones heart and soul in whatever one does sticking
to ones own morality. “With this we create our own destiny
and success successfully comes along with struggle”, he adds.
He encourages the young generation to explore
the ample opportunities US has to offer. He insists on being practical.
“US is such a country where opportunity comes and knocks your
door if your exploration is done the right way” concludes
charitable Mr. Bhandari who believes in charity for a good cause.
By Binita Joshi Shrestha
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