Countdown to Kathmandu: A Break in Transmission

The time has come ….

2-everest-base-campIn a little over 24 hours I’ll be heading off into the great unknown on my way to Everst Base Camp and I’ve been deliberating and cogitating and mulling over a dilemma that I have.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

Do some blog posts while I’m trekking in the Himalayas that is.

Several of you have asked if I will. There are internet cafes in Kathmandu and even some half way up the trail at Namche Bazaar, or so I’ve heard, so it should be possible to get something onto this blog.

In a way I feel I owe it to all of you out there who have been diligently following my preparations and encouraging me every step of the way, it’s been great to have you behind me. And those of you who’ve very kindly responded to my pleas and donated to the Because I’m a Girl campaign, again I feel that I should at least keep you updated as I go along.

But!

This is a journey that I initially planned simply for myself. It wasn’t something that I was doing so that I would have something to put on the blog, it wasn’t something that I needed anyone else to understand. It was just for me.

I know why I’m doing it and yet it’s something that I find very hard to articulate. How do I explain why, in my 60th year, I want to head for a country that I’ve never before been interested in visiting, fly into one of the most dangerous airports in the world in a tiny plane and walk in an uphill direction for ten days, sleeping in tents with no regular toilets, risking exhaustion and altitude sickness just to reach a remote, cold place at 5500 metres above sea level, and then turn around and walk back again?

I don’t think family and friends really understand why I’ve made such a madcap decision, why, at my age I don’t stick to the comfort of hotels and resorts, some came out and said as much, others humoured me and possibly didn’t think I’d go through with it.

Anyway, I’m on this trek to breathe in the experience and to wonder at the majesty of the landscape, so …

I’ve made the decision not to do any blog posts while I’m away. I don’t want to get stressed out feeling that I have to write something or struggle with technology in far flung places (technology is not my strong point at the best of times). I want to be able to relax and reflect and just take in my surroundings. Time for sharing with everyone else when I get back.

But you will all be with me, there on that mountain.

My grandchildren will be there, in my heart, as will my daughters and my dad and I’m sure mum will be watching over me. Friends I’ve made recently, both on line and in real life, friends I’m no longer in touch with and those that I’ve known for many years, anyone who has touched my life and got me to where I am today, will be right there with me.

Thanks for all your good wishes and encouragement and I’ll see you when I get back 🙂 xx

 

 

Exciting changes!!

There’s been a few changes around here but I’ll try and make the explanation as concise as possible, I know I tend to get a bit long winded at times.

First, the obvious – there’s a nice new picture up the top there. Just a reminder of where I’m going, I hope you like it.

Everest Base Camp

Second – where am I going? Well, a slight change of plan there. As many of you already know next year, 2013, will see the celebrations for my 60th birthday and also the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mt Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. To commemorate these two momentous occasions I made the decision to undertake the 60th anniversary trek to Nepal, run by World Expeditions.

I’ve been rethinking things lately and I’ve made a slight adjustment to my plans. I’ve decided to go further! Originally I was doing the short trek, going as far as Thyangboche Monastery but I’ve now decided to extend it and head for Base Camp. I figure, in for a penny in for a pound. My training is going better than expected (thanks in no small part to a pushy training partner) and, after discussing it with a few people who have done Base Camp, I’m beginning to think I’ll regret it if I don’t do it. I don’t want to get as far as Thyangboche and then decide I should have gone further. More later on my updated itinerary.

And the final change – as I’m now committing myself to pushing my physical and mental endurance to its fullest extent I’ve decided to do it for a good cause. I’m hoping to raise a few dollars (or pounds, or euros or whatever currency you work in) and would really appreciate your support.

The charity that I’ve chosen to support is Plan, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world who work in developing countries to empower communities to overcome poverty, and to protect and promote child rights. More specifically I will be donating any money raised to the Because I am a Girl campaign.

With society placing a lower priority on educating girls than on educating boys, one in three girls in the world are denied the education that we take for granted, less than half of girls in developing countries complete primary school.

Girls are more often expected to stay home and help with domestic work and, with financial concerns an issue in poorer communities, it is the boys who take priority when it comes to education.

Over 10 million girls under 18 years old are forced into marriage each year with 1 in 7 married before they are 15, putting an end to any possibility of completing their education.

I have two daughters and two granddaughters who, with myself and all the other girls in my family, have been lucky enough to live in a western country where, generally speaking, girls are not disadvantaged simply because of their gender.

We can afford to live in relative comfort, not only do we have enough to eat but we also have the luxury of occasionally being able to eat out at restaurants and we regularly throw out left over food. We can afford to live in houses or apartments with a washing machine, a dishwasher and a flat screen T.V. We have gadgets and swimming pools and we travel.

We are well educated and encouraged by friends and family to succeed in whatever we choose to do.

And we do have a choice. So many girls in the world don’t.

Your support for this cause would really be appreciated and you can do so by checking out the donate button on my blog header or go straight to

http://fundraise.plan.org.au/travellingbag

Every little bit helps and it will spur me on my way as I train – quite vigorously I might add – for one of the biggest challenges in my life 🙂

Note: Base Camp photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Committed

I vaguely mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I figure it’s now time to come clean and explain.

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret, I figure if I put it out there it’ll be hard to back out. Not impossible mind you, maybe just a tad embarrassing.

I’ve always wanted to write a book. The problem is, I have trouble focusing and the last twelve months have been out and out procrastination, maybe more than twelve months, maybe a lot more.

I was going along quite nicely, writing snippets when the mood took me, which was quite often. Some of the things I wrote were longer than snippets, although how do you define a snippet? Is it a paragraph, a few paragraphs, a few pages? Who knows and I really don’t feel the need to go to a dictionary, on-line or the old fashioned book variety, which I still have by the way, to find the meaning. So, I was producing a few reasonably coherent bits of writing, with an idea forming, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, that I may put them all together one day.

But, as I said, I have a bit of an issue focusing. With these snippets of my past, reflections on my life, I felt that there was no hurry to produce anything publishable. I would just continue as these thoughts popped into my head and maybe one day I might even produce a memoir. It’s a genre I have always enjoyed reading and I even took a workshop on writing memoir. I had a focus.

In between times I tried my hand at fiction. Not an area I have ever been successful in, I tend to start off with a flourish but then run out of steam. I have lots of beginnings, I just have trouble with middles and endings.

It was at this point that I started to come unstuck. To be honest I got lured into the world of technology. It all started with an on line course. I’d decided that maybe it would be good if I could make a bit of money out of writing so I took a course in magazine writing. Then I took another in travel writing because I loved writing and I loved travel. Seemed perfect, I would have a career in travel writing. Enthusiasm was in full swing. I spent a fortune on magazines so that I could figure out angles and pitches to suit the various publications and then I started pitching, but it seems that there are a lot of travel writers out there and it’s a hard industry to break into. I was working full time and I just didn’t have the time that was needed to commit to the constant pitching needed to get anywhere.

Ok, it wasn’t working and my patience was wearing thin. Next option – start a travel blog. Brilliant idea, I could work at my own pace, no deadlines and no publisher accepting or rejecting my ideas. No pay either, but that didn’t matter, I had a full time paid job and writing was just for me. What I failed to realise though was how addictive blogging would become. It’s no exaggeration to say that it consumed my waking hours, it literally took over my life. I even stopped reading in favour of sitting in front of the computer. Now that’s sad and when I realised what had happened I had to do something about it.

Which set me to thinking, first of all I would have a weekend without the internet. No Facebook, no blogging or reading other people’s blogs and certainly no checking my blog stats. I would only use the computer for writing. From Saturday morning to Sunday evening. How hard could it be? Rhetorical question there people, I knew how hard it was going to be.

I managed quite well, mainly I guess because I had a fair bit on that weekend but as a long term solution it would take a bit of coming to terms with.

If you’ve stayed with me this far, I am getting to the point, which is …. after all of those delaying tactics I’ve decided I can delay no longer.

I have seriously committed to writing a memoir !!

I’m writing it to celebrate my 60th birthday which will happen, whether I like it or not, next year. When I looked back over my life my initial reaction was one of ‘I’ve lived a pretty ordinary life really,’ but others seemed to think otherwise. I guess my decision to go trekking in the Himalayas next May to celebrate the aforementioned birthday proved them right.

My intention with the memoir is to combine an account of this coming year with memories taken from my past. Not an A to B autobiography but an intertwining of episodes in my life including my decision in my fortieth year to return to study which culminated in me gaining my PhD in my mid 50s.

It’ll have a little bit of family history, the preparations for the trip, my excitement in this planning stage and how this trip affects me both physically and mentally. This is a leap so far out of my comfort zone that I have no idea how I am going to react to the experience but I’m hoping for a positive outcome as there are already thoughts of future treks floating around inside my head.

Tentatively titled How the Hell did I get here?, I figured someone may just be interested enough to read it.

So, there you have it … a commitment!!

Sharing the Love

I’m afraid I’ve been rather remiss in not posting this sooner. Life got in the way and, as we ‘ve all figured out, there are only so many hours in a day. Once we’ve factored in eating, sleeping, working and generally taking care of life’s little dramas there’s not much time left and sometimes we just need to stop for a while.

Apologies done (or excuses made, depending on your point of view) I need to acknowledge an honour bestowed upon me and thank Christina for thinking me worthy.

Six months ago when I started this blog I didn’t even know there were such things as blogging awards and, when I did come across them in the course of my blog browsing, I seriously did not expect to have any bestowed upon me. I was just doing something I loved and not expecting recognition. There are some amazingly articulate, entertaining and thought provoking blogs out there and I am constantly in awe of the diligence and creativity of my fellow bloggers. I consider it a privilege to be among them and honoured when they single me out for praise.

Two weeks ago, Christina of Reconstructing Christina saw fit to bestow upon me The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I am so sorry it has taken me this long to get around to acknowledging and thanking her. Christina is one of those bloggers prepared to share with us sensitive and often poignant insights into her thoughts and her blog is well worth a visit.

The rules of the award are:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

So, 7 things about myself:

  1. I have a cat called Diesel who is constantly trying to kill me, by tripping me up.
  2. The first thing I remember cooking is baked beans on toast (if that can be called cooking) when I was 11 or 12.
  3. I share my birthday with Emily Bronte.
  4. and on that note … my eldest daughter was named after Cathy in Wuthering Heights (but spelt differently).
  5. I don’t like pineapple on pizza.
  6. I do like pineapple meringue pie.
  7. In the 1800s my ancestors were roof thatchers.

And now the bloggers that I pass this award on to, some are travel related, others about reading and writing. Some are very new to blogland while others are long established with an enviable number of followers. All are worth a visit:

http://christinaneubauer.com/home/

http://thedorsetrambler.com/about/

http://megtraveling.com/

http://elytoeverest.com/

http://gusgus64.wordpress.com/

http://projecthappy.com.au/

http://awalkinglife.wordpress.com/

http://thelegendsoflondon.wordpress.com/

http://andanyways.com/

http://skullandcrosstales.wordpress.com/

http://www.bookbath.blogspot.com.au/

http://thyme-for-tea.blogspot.com.au/

http://weekwoman.wordpress.com/contact/

http://www.pret-a-voyager.com/

Paris in July

Browsing through the blogosphere this week I came upon this wonderful initiative. Karen at BookBath and Tamara at Thyme for Tea are hosting Paris in July 2012. They’ve done it in previous years and have lots of loyal followers so I am throwing my support behind it because, after all, who can resist Paris in July, or Paris at any time of the year for that matter?

As the girls explain, the idea is that we’celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening to, observing, cooking and eating all things French.’ I’m thinking drinking French Champagne might count.

My intentions during July are to write a Paris themed post at least once a week, to buy the book on Paris that I have been wanting for ages (regardless of the fact that it is not cheap), to read The Paris Wife and to generally revisit memories of my times there. Who knows what may pop up and inspire me during the month, I’ll keep you posted.

To begin, I thought I’d share a couple of delectable shop windows with you. Now, although the rest of the world is trying to catch up nobody really does pastries like the French, do they?

How can you not walk inside?

Savouries – would you believe it?

Got your attention? Why not drop in on BookBath or Thyme for Tea and sign up to help us celebrate all things French. In the meantime tell me, what do you love best about Paris?

Pick Me, Pick Me

This post has got absolutely nothing to do with travel – which is odd for a travel blog.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get you all to take notice and at least keep reading. I’ve thought of all the words I could use in the title to make you sit up and take notice, but I believe that there are laws about that. A catchy photo might work, but the photos I have don’t tend to be all that catchy.

I could lure you all in with promises of chocolate and red wine or, for those with more willpower than to fall for the chocs and alcohol, I could offer plain old money. The problem here would be that I don’t have the money in the first place, so giving it away would be a bit of an issue.

In the end I decided to be straight with you and just come out with it. I need your help. There I’ve said it. None of us likes to admit that we need help, but this is something that I can’t do this by myself.

To explain. The Sydney Writer’s Centre is running a Best Australian Blogs competition and, as young as this blog may be, I took a deep breath and hit the enter button. The People’s Choice part of the competition has 940 entrants, so the chances are slim but as they say, you’ve gotta be in it to win it. Oh … and for the experience and all that.

Although the entrants in this competition have to be Australian you, the voting public, can hang out in any part of the world. So, those of you in the UK, America, Israel (yes I have followers in Israel, or at least a follower), China etc, who like to look in on my blog occasionally, feel free to join my local friends and followers and hit the button over there on the right to vote for me.

To all my friends and followers, potential followers and general hangers on, I’m putting my trust in you, and thanking you all in advance for your support.

I’ll be back with more travel related stuff shortly.