[Written from Istanbul Airport]
I’ve travelled a lot on my own over the years, but for this trip something feels a bit different. It’s not just the challenge of travelling solo this time, which in itself is hard – going it alone, out of your comfort zone, to a brand new environment, meeting a group of strangers, facing new and unexpected challenges. With this trip comes the extra physical challenge of climbing a mountain. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve never been a super sporty person or into walking or running, at all really. If you had told me a few years ago I’d be going on a trekking trip to Nepal I think I would’ve laughed in your face! But here I am, waiting to board my second flight, nervous but excited and questioning what made me want to do it. I booked it a year in advance, it seemed like a great idea at the time, I was keen for a new challenge, and it was most definitely on a complete whim (which is how I tend to go about booking holidays and trips). It’s only really in the last few days or maybe weeks when it’s come to packing, prepping and buying the gear that it’s really dawned on me what I’ve got myself in for.
I do think it’ll be a massive personal challenge for me, both physically and mentally. I know I will feel all the emotions – I’m sure there’ll be amazing moments and stunning scenery and incredible sunrises and fun evenings with the group and I might even make new friends. But I also know I will struggle with the long walking days, the early starts, the likely lack of sleep, the basic accommodation, the lack of showers, cold temperatures at night, the constant being with a group at all times. Even writing that I am having to remind myself that it’s me who chose to do this! But I’m excited to see how I cope and survive, how I deal with my emotions and insecurities and challenges – because I know I will! Instead of shying away from the emotions, I’m going to try to embrace them! And in doing that I’ll find my inner strength I hope and learn further things about myself. Travelling alone means there won’t be anyone to bounce off, or a familiar face to moan or cry to, so it’ll just be me and my mind.
And this personal adventure is what I’m looking forward to the most. It’s come at an absolutely perfect time in my life where I don’t feel fully myself, or fully grounded, secure or happy in my current outlook so I am hoping it’s a chance to see things from a different perspective, from literally the top of the mountains! Sometimes things which seem so major and so important in our daily lives and which we can get so easily wrapped up in suddenly become so minute and insignificant when they’re seen from a different perspective and with perhaps more clarity.
Even just the perspective of being on a plane above the clouds and looking down on the earth can be quite powerful. One of my best friends sent a quote to me while I was at the airport in London which said ‘the world looks so peaceful and so manageable as we glance at it from above: a town is a rational arrangement of straight and curving lines, an island or a mountain valley is enchanting…from up here, we feel a new will to be kinder to those in our lives, less panicked and more serene. Our true destination is not Heathrow or LAX, but the better, more real version of ourselves’. And although a bit cheesy, the sentiment is so true!
On that note, I’m about to board from flight to Kathmandu…