The first items I pack when the next adventure is on the horizon is my jewelry. I’m not a big fan of personal ornaments anymore, so typically keep it simple in everyday life. However, I can’t leave home without my treasured & sentimental items from previous life changing trips. And they only come out on these special occasions….. my own internal motivation.
A ring from Everest signifies pure grit.
I have a very hazy memory of about 5 days in the middle of the trek to base camp in December 2019, as I’ve tried to black it out of existence. We determined that I got food poisoning at the highest Irish pub in the world….. 3 days still left to get to the top & I literally couldn’t think of anything but one foot in front of the other for 10 hrs per day. To put it in perspective, I typically have great thinking days along my many treks into the vast wilderness. I relish them. But all I could stomach was apple juice & garlic soup for 9 days, and most of the time those didn’t even stay down. There is nothing more demoralizing than being an hour back from the group, having to excuse yourself to do your business on the side of the trail constantly & not even having the energy to carry your own 10 lbs. day bag. (See my video from a precious blog from the moment we reached base camp)
A necklace from Peru represents courage.
I was a little out of my element on that first adventure trip outside the US but I knew this was something I had to try. It was a bonding experience with my little brother, whom shared my passion for wilderness travel. And less risky with a strong companion. After 4 days camping on our way to the iconic city in the clouds, we left at 530am trekking with our head lamps to reach the Sun Gate at sunrise. The fog prevented us from our first glimpse so we kept pushing forward to the next viewpoint and our moment to revel in this world wonder. I’ll never forget it. That rush of excitement & accomplishment. I was hooked.
A bracelet from Mt Kilimanjaro shows inner strength.
Kili was my first huge traveling hurdle. Deciding to conquer this summit by myself with the support of a group of similar minded travelers all the way in Africa was one of my biggest decisions I’ve ever made. I trained relentlessly. Failure was not an option. For an introvert, this was a huge leap in breaking through my own internal struggle of yearning to live outside my comfort zone. It was a whirlwind and extremely challenging…… adapting to the severe changes in weather multiple times daily during our hikes, rarely sleeping on rocky grounds in temps below freezing wearing all your clothes, living off of granola bars I had brought since I couldn’t stomach many of the questionable meat options available and sucking it up to walk over 40k steps every day on very rough terrain. Exhaustion in every since of the word. 4 days up and 2 days down. I’ll never forget summit day (I detailed those 6 hours in another recent blog). Being above the clouds is priceless and a moment etched in my mind forever.
These are my “why”. I feel I have endless potential and resilience due to these over the top adrenaline junkie experiences.
And just saying……I’ll never be able to eat garlic soup or apple juice again. Ever. 🧄 🥣 🍎 🧃