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My journey to myself: How the trek to Everest Base Camp changed me


Embarking on a trek to Everest Base Camp isn't merely a journey to a geographical milestone; it's a profound experience intertwining work and life lessons against the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas. – Anonymous.

 

Three key takeaways from this life-changing experience on the mountains included respecting one's body, appreciating life's blessings, and fostering a spiritual connection with nature. These insights underscored the significance of physical well-being, gratitude, and the profound connection between humans and the environment. Here, I attempt to pen down my first-hand taste of his life-changing experience.

  

What inspired the idea of this trek?

The majestic sight of the Himalayas during my first visit to Kashmir, coupled with the intrigue sparked by 13 Peaks, ignited a deep-seated aspiration within me to stand at the base of Mount Everest. However, it was the core values that solidified my determination to undertake this trek:

  • To push and assess my physical and mental boundaries in a challenging setting.

  • Immerse myself in the breathtaking landscapes and rich culture of the Himalayas, learning from locals who coexist harmoniously with nature.

  • Savour the excitement and thrill of traversing diverse terrains, conquering high-altitude passes, and exploring ancient monasteries and temples.

  • Pay homage to the trailblazing mountaineers and explorers who have conquered the world's highest peaks, following in their illustrious footsteps.




How did I prep for the trek, and for how long?


In preparation for the trek, I intensified my training regimen. While swimming, running and cycling were already integral to my routine, I ramped up their frequency and endurance levels to ready myself for the arduous journey ahead. Running 25 km per week with a monthly half marathon became a standard, complemented by daily climbs up eight floors to enhance my climbing capabilities. Cycling was incorporated to diversify my workout routine, while comprehensive strength training targeted all muscle groups to bolster my physical resilience.







What struck me during my preparation was the resemblance between climbing Mount Everest and leadership roles, as well as navigating life's intricate challenges. All of these underscored essential elements crucial for personal growth and accomplishment, highlighting parallels that resonated deeply with me.




What are some of the life lessons that I carried back with you from the experience?

  • Patience and Endurance: Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a test of patience and endurance, with extended hikes and unpredictable weather challenging every step. Enduring almost eight hours of hiking daily for nine days demanded exceptional physical stamina, pushing our bodies beyond their usual limits. As we ascended to 4000 meters or 13,000 feet, the oxygen levels plummeted to around 50% of sea level, and temperatures dropped as low as -20 degrees Celsius. These harsh conditions made each step arduous and physically taxing, underscoring the immense challenges posed by the terrain and climate.

  • Resilience in adversity: The Cognizant value of ‘Always Strive, Never Settle’ comes to mind here. During the trek, our group of six, including my wife, 14-year-old son, and a family friend, encountered unforeseen health challenges by the third day. My son developed a fever, my wife experienced severe cramps, and our friend's daughter suffered from acute mountain sickness. We had to reassess our plans and prioritize health above all else. Consequently, everyone except my friend and I was evacuated back to Kathmandu on the next available helicopter. Despite the setback, we found peace in the mountainous surroundings and reassurance of our families' safety, which motivated us to press on. Embracing the mantra of ‘every step towards EBC’ and taking each day as it comes, I learned to adapt to the ever-changing mountain conditions, including weather fluctuations, varying daylight hours, oxygen levels, and terrains.

  • Environmental Stewardship: The Himalayan beauty stands as a poignant reminder of the critical need for environmental preservation. Trekking through this region and witnessing its fragile ecosystem inspires individuals to reduce their environmental footprint and tread gently on the Earth. Nature has a transformative power, transporting individuals to a realm where they are disconnected from the outside world. During my trek, I experienced a profound spiritual connection with nature and myself, unlike any other in my life.

  • Courage and Risk Management: During the trek, I learned to face difficulties and take smart risks while putting safety and well-being first. The courage needed to imagine and be in the moment when I had left my comfort zone, increased my sense of prioritizing correctly.

  • Teamwork, goal setting and planning: Trekking in a tough terrain requires a symbiotic way of existence with nature and the people around you. You have to work as one, or you won’t succeed. Though I kept saying, one step at a time / one day at a time; but dividing the days and milestones into smaller pieces and planning for food, water, sleep, medicine and physical endurance helped a lot. It showed me the importance of having clear goals and planning efficiently to achieve them. It is all about seeking data and building knowledge.


How did the experience change me, made me grow?


Trekking to Everest Base Camp proved to be a rewarding and enlightening journey for me. It instilled in me the ability to embrace the present moment, fostering mental strength, adaptability, and resilience in the face of change. This expedition tested my physical and mental capabilities, while the captivating landscape and rich culture of the Himalayas forged a deep spiritual connection with nature.

 

The experience reinforced the importance of gratitude, observing how individuals thrive with limited resources in harsh conditions, yet radiate happiness and contentment. It underscored the significance of satisfaction and appreciation for what we have. Additionally, it highlighted the value of prioritizing physical well-being, as taking care of our bodies ensures they will support us when we need them the most.





If I have to pen down any advice for the others who are planning for this trek?

  • Plan in advance, do your research and make sure that you are mentally and physically ready

  • Don’t put your health at risk in an attempt to achieve the goal at any cost

  • Make sure you have the right gear, equipment, supplies and clothing to suit the weather conditions

  • Seek inspiration from all sources to complete the trek, yet maintain a close connection with nature during the journey and attentively listen to your body's needs

 




My advice to you, as you navigate the rugged terrain and towering peaks of the Himalayas, would be to embrace each part of the journey with an open heart and a curious mind, knowing that the lessons learned along the way will shape your path forward in ways you never imagined. Personally, these lessons have helped shape me, providing a unique opportunity for growth and development that extends beyond the boundaries of the trek itself.

 

Are you planning a trek to EBC? Share your stories of adventure with me by posting in the comments below.








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