Countdown to Kathmandu – getting closer!

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Where on earth did the second half of 2012 go?

All of you loyal followers who’ve been with me since I made my madcap decision, think back to my original Countdown to Kathmandu post. For those of you who may have inadvertantly stumbled upon my blog more recently (maybe even today) have a look and acquaint yourself with my upcoming trek to Everest Base Camp in May.

When I did that post there was 10 months and 1 week to go.

Cliche or not, time has flown, in a matter of hours we’ll be in 2013!

I was under the assumption that once Christmas and the New Year were out of the way I’d have just over 5 months to knuckle down, increase the training and get all the necessaries organised. You know, stuff like buying thermals, checking out the need for innoculations, trying to get my head around packing as little as possible while still taking everything I’ll need.

Somewhere between the accountancy course I took several years ago and now though my maths seems to have become a little unstable. If New Year is in January and the trek is in May it would seem that I only have 4 months not the 5 I was relying on.

So, that’s the thing, 4 months to go before I leap out of my comfort zone and where am I at?

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Training – going well. I’m at the point that I can go up those steps 20 times, a couple of times a week and do a hike with pack on the weekend. I’m feeling pretty happy with myself and the intention is to pick up the pace in the final few months.

The training is on temporary hold this week though as the temperature is hovering around 40 – 42 degrees for most of the week. Would be a form of suicide to attempt anything out there at the moment.

Bells Rapids Trail waterfall

Gear – Of the main stuff I’ll need I’ve got the boots, the pack and the waterproof/windproof jacket and I’ve picked up a few bits when they were on sale during the last few months.

This week I’m hoping to buy the hiking poles at the sales and then I need to make a list of everything I still need to buy to make sure I’ve got all bases covered.

Thyangboche Monastery

Thyangboche Monastery

Research – When I do anything or go anywhere I like to get all the information I can. To this end I’ve been reading anything I can get my hands on about Everest and trekking to Base Camp. If anyone’s got any suggestions please let me know.

I’ve read some excellent biographies of mountaineers, including Sir Edmund Hillary and accounts from people who’ve spent time in Nepal and the Everest region.

Blogs have also been an great source of valuable information from people who have recently done the trek and are able to give me tips on what to take, what not to take, what to do and what not to do.

Because I am a Girl

Fund Raising – Raising money for the Because I’m a Girl Campaign is proving to be a very rewarding enterprise. People have been very generous and there have been donations from friends and family and from total strangers. This is a very worthwhile cause and you can read about it here.

There is still plenty of time to donate and help me reach my target before I leave for Nepal.

SO ….

4 months and 13 days to go!

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Just Do It – So I Did!

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How often do you travel on an impulse? Can you do that or, like me, are you usually a planner?

I tend to plan well ahead. European holidays can be a couple of years in the making, usually because I need to save plenty of money. My trip next May to Nepal was booked eleven months before the event, but it’s given me time to get my body and mind into trekking mode and get the necessary gear together.

As I say, I don’t generally do things impulsively – until a couple of weeks ago that is.

My daughter’s birthday is in mid December and I decided to turn up in Melbourne unannounced and surprise her. Not only that but I decided to take my eighty five year old dad with me. Sometimes you just have to do these things.

For the last five years since she moved to the other side of Australia with her daughter, Nikki has flown back to Perth for Christmas and every year she tells her grandfather that he should go visit them in Melbourne. Up till now he hadn’t.

I wondered if I was being a bit silly, to fly to Melbourne in the middle of December knowing that they would be in Perth for Christmas only a week after we returned, so I phoned dad and ran it by him. I’d barely got the idea out of my mouth before he was saying a very emphatic yes I’ll come.

So, with Melbourne weather doing what it does best – being contrary (35 degrees one day, raining and 22 degrees the next day), we spent a lovely few days in the city in Christmas mode.

Needless to say, daughter and granddaughter were suitably surprised and we had a brilliant weekend with them.

To start the day:

A remarkably festive looking breakfast yoghurt!

A remarkably festive looking breakfast yoghurt!

Wonderful interior of the Rendezvous Hotel

Wonderful interior of the Rendezvous Hotel

Then a walk around the city to take in the Christmas decorations. The arcades all looked wonderfully festive.

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You can’t go past the street art in the laneways of Melbourne.

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And I did mention rain, didn’t I?

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A Christmas Poinsettia.

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And to finish the day 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd just because I can, I’m including this favourite photo of dad from the trip.

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Up Up and Away!

airplaneFun1-380x285Sitting in the departure lounge yesterday waiting for our flight from Melbourne to Perth we were contemplating the odds of having one of the numerous children on the flight sitting close to us.

The little girl checking out the airport acoustics with her high pitched squeal, the baby who decided this was not a time for sleep but one of those moments when, for no apparent reason, he would prefer to grizzle instead or the toddler with an inability to stay in one place for more than three seconds at a time.

Once on the plane and settled in our seats we looked around and, sure enough, there was a young boy seated close by. His parents had obviously done a good job prepping him for the flight though and he understood about the need to be buckled in to his seat and the reason for the safety instructions.

But, when he came out with ‘have we blasted off yet?’ I did have to wonder where he thought we were going.

You can’t keep anything secret these days!

Once upon a time it used to be our little secret, that quiet spot where we went camping when I was a teenager, where my daughters had their first experience of family holidays, where we would go boating and fishing.  There was beautiful scenery, caves to explore, surfing if you were that way inclined, family coves to relax in and home-made knick knacks to pick up at the local market.

Then the world got wind of the place!

Our beautiful south-west town of Margaret River has just been voted Australia’s top town, for the second year in a row, by readers of Australian Traveller.

Margaret River has grown in the last thirty years but it hasn’t lost its charm. It still has its main street with its pub and its bakery, it still has the surfies in their boardshorts, its scenery is as beautiful as ever but it has some added attractions too that have developed over the years.

Margaret River is now a world class centre for food and wine. Only a couple of weeks ago some of the world’s most famous chefs got together down there for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. This inaugural event provided demonstrations, discussions and masterclasses and showcased the best of WA’s food and wine.

It’s not often that you find a place that appeals to all ages but Margaret River has something for everyone.

You may remember that I was down that way recently when I stayed just 15 minutes away in Cowaramup, here’s a few photos taken around the area, so those of you who haven’t visited will know what you’re missing.

The Lake Cave near Margaret River

The Lake Cave near Margaret River

The jetty on the Blackwood River at Augusta.

The jetty on the Blackwood River at Augusta.

The south west corner of Australia where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern ocean

The south west corner of Australia where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern ocean

I would highly recommend the strawberry & kirsch jam from the Margaret River Berry Farm

I would highly recommend the strawberry & kirsch jam from the Margaret River Berry Farm

and the garlic olive oil from Providore is a must

and the garlic olive oil from Providore is a must

Family friendly Hamelin Bay

Family friendly Hamelin Bay