I am writing this from base camp North – at the threshold of second phase of our journey. This is the phase where we go up, then down, then up, then down and so on and so on until our bodies finally relinquish their grasp on sanity and submit to the highest altitude in the world!
We have traveled 13,504 km by air – Vancouver > Hong Kong> Bangladesh> Nepal and hundreds more kilometers by truck and on foot. We have already climbed 2 mountains and trekked for 14 days since arriving here in preparation for what is to come.
We have traveled through some of the poorest and dirtiest places in the world and have met some of the most amazing people (some of whom are the brave and powerful Sherpa’s that are supporting us on this adventure).
We have strengthened our bodies and developed our vital camaraderie that will allow us to work together to survive as a team. We have also developed a small part of the acclimatization we will need to make it to the top and back alive.
What lies ahead will be the some of the hardest days of our lives. Described by Sam as a bad hangover that lasts 3 to 6 weeks. We will have poor sleep, constant headaches, foggy thinking, swelling, nausea, constant coughing, and not much appetite. We will likely have lots of stomach problems and will freeze our butts off (literally) with frequent bathroom breaks. We may get food poisoning again.
Most painful of all, at least for me, will be the waiting. Waiting for our bodies to adjust one step at a time to the mind and spirit – telling my body that I am going, and you body, are coming with me. For every day we push our physical bodies to the max, we will have a day of absolute nothing sitting in cold tent.
All I can say is thank god for Audible.com and the myriad of enlightening titles that accompany me. I know it’s a little over kill, but I am already 7 books in and Sam is 2 in.
Thank you also for Sam and his mediation practice, which brings me along, and his vast spiritual depth. After the books, meditation, late night talks, and pushing existence to the edge, I fear that I will not return the same person I left.
Why am I here is a question that comes up a lot. I have different answers depending on when and where I am.
As I write this, Sam and I await perhaps the last Skype video chat from basecamp before our final summit push in three or so weeks. He is staying up late to see his wife and daughter and I am staying up to see the tears that roll down and are quickly wiped from his cheeks when he asks the same questions as I, looking at the two people he love and misses so much. I can’t help join him, as my tears flow, flow as I think about the many amazing people I love at home that I am away from for so long. People that are making so many sacrifices for me, so that I may live a dream and adventure in this dark, foggy and cold unknown.
It will be another cold night on the Tibetan plateau. But dreams, service to others, the chance to really find out what we are made of, and most powerful, coming home to those we love; these are the things that will keep our steps sound, one after another, after another. Only a million or so more steps to go.