Saturday, 10 May 2014

My topsy turvy world. Why Everest can wait.

Hi All, it has been a while since I have written lots has been going on. I finished work and began finalising things for my Mt Everest trip when I awoke one morning to news of an avalanche on Khumbu Icefall. When I first heard of the avalanche I was gobsmacked, worried for people, namely Toowoomba girl Alyssa Azar and a random I had begun following on Instagram, Preston. Both people I have never met in person but I knew that Alyssa was on her way to attempt the summit of Mt Everest and Preston to base camp. When you hear news of dead bodies being pulled from the ice and no updates (at least from one person that is away) even if you don't know them you still get worried for them and their families. This also led me into worry about my own trip and whether it would be viable. The most distressing thing though was receiving several text messages from friends begging me not to go, some almost mourning over me already. It was full on. I had to cocoon myself for a few days and limit the chatter.
Mt. Everest, Nepal. I do not want to climb it, but I would love to see it up close, and maybe even climb to the base camp.

Luckily for me however I found out that my trek could still go ahead so despite experiencing sadness for the Sherpa community I was happy I could still go to base camp as planned. I was relaxed despite the event that had already transpired and my normally highly stressed mother was cool as a cucumber knowing I was still going. Fast forward a few more days however and I hear of 2 more avalanches on the mountain, protests in Kathmandu and plenty of hiking adventurers stuck at Base Camp. I won't lie this news, of further avalanches, got me quite scared and physically sick with chest pain.

My thoughts of this long term goal had immediately changed. My initial reaction when thinking about what to do was to cry and be ok that the goal was over for now. But then my travel agent told me that my hike was still going ahead, this time I didn't get any excitement I was just afraid, worried and highly anxious. I pride myself on being mentally tough but I couldn't overcome this gut feeling that I shouldn't travel to Nepal. I cannot explain how I got to this I just did. It was a weird thought for me, to get up early in the mornings, travel to mountains, work hard at the gym, change your diet and the rest to then put my dream turned goal to bed. I wanted to be excited but I couldn't. I spoke to my travel agent and she said just wait and see how you feel when you get your papers, I didn't think I would feel any different. Then I got my papers.

I saw my VISA and my excitement came back. Nerves, which never left, were there too but with excitement. I smiled about my trip for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was a good feeling. Then 6 days out from leaving for Nepal still a little apprehensive but a bit excited too I prayed to be shown any sign or indication that I should or shouldn't follow through with the hike. Maintaining excitement I completed a 10km run the Saturday night (3rd May) which was very relaxed and enjoyable but not long after completing it I was coughing and splattering on my recliner and in chest pain that brought me to tears, at night I got nightmares of plane crashes and burning to death- it wasn't nice. Still, determined to make sure Everest would be happening I decided to go for a peaceful slow walk for about a kilometre from my parents place to a local fishing event, throughout this walk and upon finishing it I felt terrible. Tight in the chest, stabbing pains and I could only sleep flat on my back. Staying in a house on my own was a blessing because talking out loud meant that I had to be ok with cancelling a trip I have trained 18 months for. But on Monday 5 May I cancelled my trip to Mount Everest. How I feel can only be described as both a relief and a 'lull,' my mind is sort of blank. I imagine how I feel is like how a professional athlete feels when they have to pull themselves out of a competition because of an injury and they don't really want to. But I know that there is plenty of positives to gain from what I have been working on, my fitness hasn't gone anywhere, not has my preparation, my mindset is still strong, though I have learnt plenty about further training I would do for extreme climates, Mt Everest is not moving (other than by about 4mm each year to greater heights). I haven't lost anything. What's more there is something bigger to learn and gain from this.
More Than Sayings: You will know you made the right decision

For several years I have had dear friends talk to me about my attitude towards fitness, I have spoken about it before, that I know I have a 'switch' if you like whereby if I let my fitness passion get too far I can make fitness become my whole life to the point where I am sleep deprived, unhealthy and almost devoid of friendly attention. The biggest thing my closest friends have always said to me is that I needed to learn about REST. So in this same post I'm going to address this most important topic.

As you probably know life is a race, a hurry, a challenge, a competition. Whether we are privy to it or not we are all in this 'hunger games' race to juggle the compartments of life in a way that appears to outsmart the other. We are almost searching for the best way to win the 'game'- how does she do it? How does he do it? Why can't I do it? So much so that we forget about the mentality of loving life rather than competing for it.
competing with others only makes you bitter and jealous
For most of my life I have been in a competition (in fact all of us have), from competing for top grades, competing for football positions in particular representative teams to competing for school captains, job positions, job promotions, biggest salaries. It seems to be if you aren't competing society questions, 'what is wrong with you? why don't you want it?' But I beg this question, isn't the real challenge with the greatest reward the ability to REST? To realise why you are competing, to sit in the moment and enjoy it, to get off your phones, to live life without competing with others but rather striving just for you and the life you want to love living?
Make time to rest. To enjoy all the blessings along the way. Creativity usually comes in the silences...

Mt Everest was a goal I was going to complete successfully, and I will in due course there is no doubt about it. It was also a goal that rendered no less than 25 hours a week exercise in the gym, approximately 12 hours of hiking (minimum), a lot of hours reading (especially in initial stages) to understand the demands on the body, the nutritional requirements for the body at high altitudes and over long time frames and a lot of money. I do not regret training one bit, I loved every minute of it all but what is the point if you go away and your mindset isn't right or your potentially so anxious you've made yourself physically sick? There is no point. If there is one thing I know about myself it is this: I struggle to know how to rest and it is about time I learnt. So now on May 10 the day I am meant to be in Lukla beginning my ascent to Mt Everest via Namache Bazaar I am in a little coastal town in Queensland chilling out, taking exercise very slow and listening to my body. The chest pain has slowed but still there & I am now looking at a relaxing holiday in Melbourne to enjoy the cold, culture and the lovely Great Ocean Road to celebrate a long journey of effort. Switzerland and Europe is booked for Christmas for 6weeks and I'm ready to attack some Alps in the freezing cold where again I'll be in my element. Mt Everest will happen again but for now I'm looking after me.

Thanks for being patient for the post. Will write soon :)

Interlaken, Switzerland in the Bernese Alps • photo: Kamran Efendiev on Photo Net   Need a Vacation? Save on your trip with Expedia. Follow us on Facebook for special promo codes.

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