26 October 2018
Hello everyone from Kathmandu where I am preparing to fly home.
As for the whole of this trip, the ending was unpredictable! We had been due to fly out of Lukla airport on Thursday but the weather has been a factor throughout our time here and so it remained. Lukla airport (also wonderfully known as Tensing Hillary airport) is best described as chaotic! It is a tiny airport on the mountain where the runway needs to be very steep to avoid planes driving straight into the mountain at the end! Due to this runway and it’s position perched on the edge of the Himalayas, it is the most dangerous airport in the world and flights are often grounded due to poor weather in either Lukla or Kathmandu. We arrived at the airport after some delay and went through the process of getting our luggage weighed – whilst there are strict weight limits due to the tiny planes, some money always seems to help pass the test of the scales, as does wearing lots of your clothing and boots as they don’t weigh the people!
We sat in the waiting area, together with trekkers from all nationalities – it is a fantastic multicultural experience with everyone looking tired, dirty, cold but usually blessed from an amazing time in the Himalayas. That is certainly how I felt.
There are no announcements or departure boards and so you have to be very patient – something that western travellers tend to find challenging! For the first time in three weeks it started raining and the flights were cancelled for the day. This meant that we had to go back to our Tea House for another night, delaying our hot showers still further! There was no guarantee of getting a flight out on Friday and so we agreed to go via helicopter instead, which can fly in worse conditions. We were told that we would fly at 7am so we were all up early but on the morning there needed to be some rescue flights from Everest Base Camp, delaying our helicopter. This was another reminder of how fragile life is here – without the helicopter rescue, people would be stranded in difficulties.
The helicopter pad was an even stranger place than the airport. The ‘waiting area’ included parts of broken or crashed helicopters, washing drying and herbs growing!
We finally got on a flight at midday and had the most amazing views into Kathmandu. To see the mountains in all their glory, together with the terraced farming of the foothills and the multi coloured buildings of a sprawling Kathmandu was a very special end to a very special three weeks.
The long awaited hot shower was incredible – my hat finally came off! We had a wonderful traditional celebratory dinner last night with the whole team, including the man who had been airlifted out of the mountains and was recovering. It was lovely to see him getting better.
And so, I am heading home. It has been an inspirational three weeks for me. I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to be in Nepal and the Himalayas again. It is a beautiful and generous country, despite having very little in resources. The people are friendly and welcoming and there is something magical about the mountains which is hard to describe.
I know I am very lucky to have been able to fulfil my dream of getting to the summit of Mera Peak. Many of the teams that we have seen during the course of our trek had a much lower success rate than ours.
I need time to fully reflect on what I have learnt and will share this in due course. What I do know is that we all have dreams, we all have things we want to achieve and we sometimes find reasons to not follow or to delay following these dreams. These reasons can be understandable but life is very short and I think we should grasp every opportunity that we can.
I also know that I couldn’t have followed my dream without a huge amount of support. I genuinely felt that I had a whole team with me helping me through the tough times. My wonderful and supportive husband encourages me to follow my own path and dreams, even if he would prefer for me to be safely at home. My inspirational family and friends relentlessly support me in all of my challenges. My generous and kind colleagues have been part of this journey with me. And the wonderful team I have been part of here have supported me on tough days and kept me smiling when I needed a boost.
I feel very blessed – thank you all so very much. I can’t put into words properly how much all of your support has meant to me.
I have raised over £7,500 for Cancer Research. Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored me.
As many of you know, I love quotes and so to finish:
‘If you can dream it, you can achieve it’
‘If it is both terrifying and amazing, you should definitely pursue it’
‘There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living’ Nelson Mandela
And on that note, onto the next adventure!