WHAT THE WORLDS HIGHEST MOUNTAINS TAUGHT ME ABOUT MYSELF
A few years ago, on the side of a windswept mountain, I stood with my down jacket zipped up to my bottom lip. Swaying side to side and wiggling my knees to keep warm. It was still dark, but the shade of the sky was getting bluer every minute as the light of sun struggled to get over the lofty summits of the Himalayas.
It was my last day of the expedition and I had purposefully dragged myself out of my sleeping bag an hour earlier so that I could take in one last sunrise. It’s a hard life in the mountains and after a month on the trail, I came to realise it is surprising what you can endure as a human being.
I could count the times I had washed on a single hand, my clothes were stained and mucky, my skin dry and chapped, my hair itchy and greasy. I had also walked over 200+ miles in a mountainous terrain, accruing some 5,000–6,000 metres of total ascent (the height of a large Himalayan mountain).
At that point, I longed to get back to civilisation, to see a car on the road, to taste a cold beer, to not have to eat another curry, simple things like a warm shower and a comfy bed. To resume a normal life. In those explicit moments of my very first expedition all those years ago, I wondered why had I put myself through all of this hardship, to effectively suffer as I had trekked hundreds of miles through the Nepali Himalayas.
I soon found that those feelings of suffering faded away fast, no sooner had I dropped my bags in my hotel room and I was eating a warm steak in a restaurant, drinking bottled beer and later retiring to a comfortable bed. I had satisfied all of the usual comforts we take for granted on a daily basis. Before you knew it, I was longing to be back in the mountains and was planning my next expedition just a few weeks later.
Since that time, I have pushed myself on a journey of self-discovery, to see and do more and to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have now visited the Himalayas many, many times, trekking a variety of routes into vast wildernesses, as well as all of the classic regions like the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna trails.
I’ve spent time, energy and focus to climb multiple peaks in the Himalayas — something I had previously thought myself not capable of — and now, I am looking at ways I can share two of my favourite passions by combining trail running on some of the established trekking routes in Nepal.
My experiences in the Himalayas have transformed my life over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself and never dreamt the impact these experiences can have. My firm belief is that it can transform your life if you want to.
My advice to anyone considering adventure or expedition travel who may have reservations about their capabilities:
1. BE BOLD
Satisfy your curiosity and take the plunge. I spent years looking at maps, watching documentaries and wishfully being an armchair explorer before I took the leap of faith and made my own expeditions a reality. Realise that you are capable of anything and everything regardless of your age, weight, gender, background. Open a map, find somewhere that catches your attention and make it your own. You will thank yourself once you have done it.
2. GET OUT THERE
Believe in yourself, you are stronger than you realise. There are so many excuses in life to not do things. There is no better time than the present. Get out there and do it.
3. PUSH YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Embarking on a journey into the mountains is tiring. At times when you are cold, fed up of eating the same thing, losing the plot about using a hole in the ground as a toilet, you may question why you are doing this. Those moments disappear when you gaze at your magnificent surroundings and realise you are in a place very few people have the privilege of travelling. You will also inspire your friends and family about your bucket list endeavours.
4. PREPARE YOURSELF
I’ve always said anybody is capable of anything they put their mind to, and this is no exception. One thing I would advice is you should never underestimate physical preparation. This doesn’t have to be running 20 miles every day for a year, but by taking small steps, walking and running more, increasing your weekly fitness habits and you will see that you enjoy your time in the Himalayas so much more.
5. DISCOVER WHAT MAKES YOUR HAPPY
The world is a big place and there is no limit of what can make you happy. Through discovery and exploration, you will meet people and see things that will change your life. I have been shown the hardships of how people live, but find that these people can be so grateful for the simplest of things. Take nothing for granted and realise you have a golden opportunity.
My fascination with adventure and expedition travel led me to set up my own expedition company. With the ethos strongly rooted that anyone is capable of anything they put their mind to, I want to inspire generations of people to get out there, explore and to fulfil their ambitions.
Alongside the ethos, my company is designed to facilitate everything anyone would need to be able to carry out their own endeavours, by designing and planning meticulously, by partnering with the very best, by engaging watertight safety protocol, by helping individuals to physically prepare through training, and then committing to support the future of Nepal by reinvesting some of our profits into charities we love.
Tread your own path, realise your ambitions and believe in the possible.