Imagine being on top of the world. Everest is 8,848 metres – Earth’s highest mountain, Everest Base Camp is 5,380 metres. There is only one third of the amount of oxygen at EBC than at sea level. If you think waking up with tight lungs after smashing a deck of darts is challenging, imagine having just one third of that oxygen and subpar lungs.
I didn’t do any training before I left, tricking myself into thinking ‘I’m pretty fit, I’ll be sweet’ I did surf life saving (7 years ago) and I’m fitter than the average Joe (not really). Lets just say if I can do it, anyone can do it. I did spew and cry hysterically on the third day of trekking.
Note: do not pack more than 8kgs, I packed 15kgs and it was hell on earth. The extra clothing was not worth it, I learnt the hard way (but looked extra fresh on the mountain).
If you want to challenge your mind and your body, go trekking in Nepal. Some call it the utopia of nature. It really is. A few of my favourite things include:-
1. The people
The Nepalese are the most accommodating, selfless, caring people on Earth. They’re almost too friendly. If you’re not careful they’ll make space for you in their home and never let you leave. Sweethearts.
2. Mountain Goats
I love goats. I spent approximately 67% of my time taking selfies with goats. I cant get enough and they’re everywhere in Nepal. Just when I thought India had it all with goats in jumpers and hessian sacks lining the streets of Varanasi– I met the mountain goats of Nepal and it changed my life. I had a plan to walk to EBC with a goat but it didn’t work out. I did witness a goat orgy though, a moment I’ll never forget #spiritanimals
3. Snickers rolls
Holy cave. This innovative dessert is next level. You can choose snickers, mars bar or twix (or all 3), they then wrap it in dough and deep-fry it into the best goddamn dessert you’ve ever had.
It’s not all snickers rolls and goat lovin’ - you’ll have moments when your body aches like hell but you have to wake up at the crack of dawn to trek for 8-12 hours to reach the next village. I had a blister on my big toe the size of my big toe, no joke. Pushing through the pain and proving that you’re a champ who can conquer the world, that’s priceless. It’s also something you can claim for the rest of your life to anyone who tries to call you a pussy.
Interesting fact: Marijuana grows native to Nepal. Small villages thrive by growing it.
If you want something completely unique - go visit the holy cave wedged between India and China; it’s an experience that will give you perspective on life. At the very least it’ll make you appreciate the simple things that we sometimes take for granted like hot showers and almond milk lattes.
Words // Jen McMillan @jenmcmillan
Photographers // Michael Daniel @michael_dan1el & Madeleine Bell @madeleinebell