This week Maria shares her experience of taking on a new challenge and how she managed to complete it one step at a time.
My name is Maria, based in Scotland, Aberdeenshire. After returning home from our recent travels to Australia and India, my husband and I had caught the travelling bug, so he started to research treks in the Everest Region, Nepal; his travelling companion a friend. This was definitely not for me, altitude scared me. Little did I know, I would find myself volunteering in his place!
What was I thinking? It would take eight days to reach Everest Base Camp. I thought it was a great way to get fit, although a little extreme perhaps. Training would take a lot of motivation, walking up to ten hours a day, bagging a few Munros, including Ben Nevis. Before heading of on our trek I became unwell. I was scared I wouldn’t make it, but this only made me even more determined to achieve my goal.
So when we finally made it to Lukla, the world’s smallest and scariest airport in the world, landing in a helicopter, there was no turning back. I was now committed. The first few days were really hard as my fitness levels had suffered. I pushed through some really tough days. Repeating affirmations along the way. At times I had to remind myself to stop and look around me, taking in the majestic views around me. My favourite times were when the yaks came around the corner, the tinkling of bells meant this was my chance to lean against a rock and catch my breath before proceeding onwards on very narrow and steep paths, crossing many suspension bridges.
It was equivalent of walking up four flights of stairs in a very short distance and I was gasping for air. Our nights were spent in temperatures as low as minus fifteen degrees. Sleeping in our thermals and sleeping bags, in rooms with no heating, waking up to frozen water bottles and windows. By the time we reached Everest Base Camp we had walked sixty-two kilometres.
I woke up most nights with the worst headache I have ever experienced and was eventually treated for altitude sickness. I was very grateful to be safe and we had the best team with us. Finally, I had made it and I cried. I was fatigued but my adrenaline was pumping; we had achieved something so amazing.
I have learned that I am an extremely determined, focused and strong person. if you put your mind to it you can do anything. Would I do it again? Not on your Nelly. I will continue to challenge myself everyday, this is how I manage my anxiety. Believe in yourself no matter what.
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