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Conquering Base Camp in Nepal

By John Zerella on 05-Dec-2018



Having just returned from my Base Camp adventure in Nepal, in addition to sharing some of the beautiful photos, I provide my perspective of the trek.

The decision was made some 10 months ago with a group of four other friends to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Whilst it was not an immediate choice of destination for me, it was one that was on my bucket list and as the opportunity arose, I grasped it with both hands. We joined 7 young wonderful fellow trekkers that formed our tour group.

My own research and perspectives from others who had done it prior to me confirmed that this would be a difficult but rewarding adventure. Six months of solid training to ensure the physical challenge would not be a barrier rewarded me with a lifelong memory and made the otherwise very challenging trek very enjoyable.

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In summary, the journey surpassed all my expectations by far. Every day, around every corner, I was greeted with sights that were simply breathtaking and left me in wonder and awe. The trek was filled with so much beauty and diversity, making each days’ physical challenge worth every second. For me, the physical challenge was surprisingly difficult but it was the mental challenge that posed the greatest difficulty but also the greatest rewards.

I learnt many things along the way, not only about the way of life and culture in Nepal, but when we are exposed to these very diverse surroundings, I also learnt many things about myself. In amongst the daily grind and the amazing sites that surrounded me, I would often have moments that defined my journey and insights that reshaped my future life as I live it from here.

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For me, the pinnacle of my journey was achieving the heights of Kalapatthar at 5545m, the highest point of the journey which must be achieved on the hardest day when you are at your weakest physically. I embarked on this optional trek at 4:30am, needing a headlamp to light the way, with only one other team member willing and able to participate. It took 3 1/2 hours to complete at very high altitude at a very very steep incline, followed by a full 8 hour trek commencing the decline. The memory and vision of achieving this very difficult component of the trek, will live with me forever. The emotional reward is something that I will never forget and I now join an elite group of people who proudly boast they conquered, Kalapatthar!

Some of the more important things that I discovered and learned-:

  1. The world has many wonders to offer and for me, I will make this a pursuit of my life.
  2. I truly learnt the meaning of gratitude, to be truly grateful for what I have. Beautiful wife, healthy and amazing children, fantastic work environment in a country that is clean, wealthy and organised. Most of all, the existence of opportunity for all of us.
  3. I also learnt not to take things for granted, mainly the simple things, food, clean water, shelter and safety.

7 - CopyI saw amazing things, met incredible people who were financially poor but life rich. I saw men carrying over 100kg on their back on very steep inclines, who would smile and were happy for the work. I saw women and children going about their daily lives in difficult conditions always with a smile on their face and a spring in their step. Quite often I contemplated that modern society forces us down a path of material ‘wants’ and unrealistic expectations which strips us of the most simple pleasures of life. I saw this on a daily basis amongst the Nepalese people.

In a country that is poor, dirty and dusty, I never saw an unclean Nepalese who were always well groomed, happy, courteous and always willing to help and please.

An amazing journey which enriched my life and provided me with amazing memories which I will carry with me forever. A quote I saw along the way, sadly I cannot call my own but provides the most accurate and simple description of the journey “it is not the mountain we conquered but ourselves”
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