My Week That Was!

The last week certainly had its ups and downs – literally.

I hiked 35kms with my pack on, put a 3cm gash in my head that required 3 stitches and had a diagnosis of optical hypertension – beat that.

The early morning sun appears over the hills.

The early morning sun appears over the hills.

The hiking was a real high, 3 afternoons in a row after work I did a 9.5km hike with my pack on and then on the weekend a 6.2km hike that involved some quite steep inclines. It’s all about endurance. On one of the afternoons half of the 9.5kms involved the steps, going up them 10 times with the pack on, that was hard, but I keep chanting to myself – train hard, fight easy. Put in the hard work now and it will pay off later.

I was really pleased about the way I felt after those 3 days in a row – yes, it was tiring but I felt I coped well and am getting used to walking longer distances with the pack on. The altitude will be another matter though and there’s really nothing I can do to train for that.

The gash to the head could definitely be considered the low point of the week.  I slipped on something that had dripped onto the kitchen floor, my legs went from under me, I landed on my backside and my head flipped back and ricocheted off the corner of the wall. I sat there for a while with my hand on my head thinking gosh (or words to that effect) I’m going to have a serious bump there. It was when I took my hand away and found it covered in blood that I realized it was more than a bump.

Trip to the Emergency Department, 3 stitches, one sore head and 2 days off work.

The trip to the Opthamologist – I think I’ll consider that a positive seeing as it started out as a definite negative. On a recent visit to the optician he picked up that the pressure in my eyes was higher than it should be – a sure sign of Glaucoma – and referred me on to the Opthamologist. With a family history of Glaucoma it was highly likely that’s where I was headed. Damn!

The good news – it’s not Glaucoma, yet, but optical hypertension. Yes, the pressure is up slightly but there is no damage to the nerve and my peripheral vision is still fine. Just need to have regular checks at this point to keep an eye on things (pun really not intended).

Anyway, the point of all this is that with less than seven weeks to go before the trek I’m very mindful of how things can happen unexpectedly and interrupt plans. Natasha from Tiny Indian Girl Up a Mountain was supposed to be trekking to Base Camp as we speak but when last heard from she hadn’t even left the UK. She did get to the airport at Belfast on time but the horrendous weather that they have been experiencing meant that the airport was snowed in and flights cancelled. She went back home. She finally made it to Heathrow about 3 days late and hopefully she’s now winging her way towards Kathmandu.

After months of planning and training, to have plans disrupted like this, I can only imagine the feeling – I certainly don’t want to experience it.

Remember, you can support me and my efforts by donating to the ‘Because I’m a Girl Campaign.’ Just go to the Donate page up there on my header or read all about it on the Challenge for the girls page.

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This post, over on a lifetime of lessons, just spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you all.

a lifetime of lessons

Do you ever get the feeling you are exactly where you are meant to be? That feeling filled me up the minute I fell into the chaos of Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu. Sweet, disorganised chaos.

I smiled my way through. It’s my way. And when I really like a place, it seems to be the kind of place where smiles work. They work almost like an unspoken currency – the people love it, I love them and suddenly they are happy, and I am happy. I haven’t wiped the smile off my face since I arrived.

But I know this place is going to tear me down. I know it’s going to break me, before it makes me. This place holds a challenge I have set that is unprecedented for me. A challenge that reflects new beginnings, a way forward and the notion that the hard work, will be worth…

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Countdown to Kathmandu: 59 days!

kathmandu-city-bOnce again I must comment on the propensity of time to take flight and disappear, leaving in its wake a confused population wondering where it’s gone. With barely any warning, except the fact that it happens every year, the first three months of 2013 are almost at an end.

And you know what that means don’t you?

Kathmandu and Everest Base Camp are now only two months away! That’s 8 weeks on Monday!! That’s 59 days!!! I’m down to counting the days.

I’ve made the final payment, I’ve got the E tickets, I’ve got the accommodation vouchers, I’ve got most of the gear, I’ve even got bright orange bag tags from World Expeditions making it easier for their representative to spot me at Kathmandu airport.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFriends ask if I’m getting excited and I am. The thought of the amazing scenery that I’m going to be seeing, the iconic Himalayan mountain range with its snow capped peaks, the exciting but ever so scary flight into Lukla and my ultimate destination, Everest Base Camp where sixty years ago Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay prepared for their ascent on the summit. Yes, I’m excited.

But I’m also heading into the unknown, an unknown culture, and that worries me a little. Will I be able to cope?  Until last year the Indian sub continent had always been on my list of places I didn’t want to visit. The thought of the less than sanitary conditions, the strange food and the chaos and the confusion, the ‘foreignness’, all so alien to my western upbringing and sensibilities, had always sent me in the totally opposite travel direction.

But there Mt Everest sits, with one foot in Nepal and one in Tibet, daring me to approach and that approach takes me through Kathmandu.

Kathmandu is going to throw the lot at me – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the dirt, the dust, the lack of western sanitation. It’s going to challenge me like I’ve never been challenged before. I know this so I guess I’m going in forearmed and, as I’ve just been reminded by Steve over at Around The World With Steve, all of those things may be out of my control but I have total control over my attitude. Let’s see if I can utilize that control.