But I’m really doing this!! I’m going to climb Himalayan mountains and return a better person. Upon descent of the mountain I’ll be struck the dazzling understanding of my purpose in life and the only weight on my shoulders will be the masses of curls on my head (And there is more than one mountain in my trip so odds are good). I will be cleansed of my evil banter and the frown lines on my forehead will melt away into a creamy surface of my former face. They say not to drink the water, but when you drink from the natural spring and then surely youth, a husband, or three wishes appear. Have we not seen this proven by many, many Disney films? The odds of returning with a husband could be very high. As outlined by the guide Dan, also my friend from birth and possibly now former back-up-husband. I think he’s trying to shirk reasonability of me as we creep closer to 35. He needn’t worry, I wouldn’t ruin what we have by marrying him.
The preparation has gone fairly well. I've managed to go on at least two walks a week, around the flats of London. A few dips here and there. I think I’ve spent more time talking about intended exercise routines than actually executing them. There was the gym membership for incline treadmill training, that didn’t eventuate. There was the promise of taking 312 stairs, up 12 floors, to my desk every day that fell short (It’s not my fault, I’m always running so late to work. And when it’s the choice between coffee and stairs, then coffee makes life easier for my colleagues). There was the trip to the highest mountain in England (900m), which no one else was very interested in doing and I sure as heck wasn’t doing it alone. And finally there were a series of regular setbacks like rain, late nights at work, offers to go out for drinks, a debacle with returning walking boots and rebuying exact same model 3 weeks later. £10 saved though, so there was a silver lining. Even if it was 3 weeks less of breaking in my badass boots.
The purchasing of the badass boots was quite an ordeal. My first experience in Cambridge, but store shall remain nameless, was rather intense. Mainly due to the uncomfortable amount of attention the assistant paid to my feet. He mentioned my high arches – ah yes, a life-long problem – and my protruding Achilles. I didn’t even know there was such a thing! My Achilles didn’t appreciate all the prodding either. Or stroking. Without boring you too much the ordeal took 45 minutes and I didn’t buy the boots because they didn’t feel right. They rubbed on the protruding bits. After that, I didn’t find another assistant that was quite so keen to help me. In the mountain store in the City, near where I work, they ignore me and served wealthy looking bankers (when clearly I needed the help most!). Finally I chose my own boots through my own assessment. So far, they are doing just great. Although they are yet to meet something higher than a mound.
I’ve also spent a significant amount of unnecessary time stressing about what could go wrong – altitude sickness, bitten by rabid monkeys (because I stinged out on paying £150 for the shots), falling so far behind the rest of the group I’m left alone on the mountain. I’ve bought fluro attire to solve that last one. And the coffee addiction. Currently a 4-shot black in the morning, sometimes a flat-white in the arvo. Wondering how long it will be before Dan doesn’t like me even as a friend any more. Can you be voted off the group when you’ve paid to be there?
But now, the time has come. There’s nothing left to do except strap on my backpack and fill it with positivity. Well, I’ve got to make it there first. I’m still haunted by the comment Kammy gave me when I left for my OE in 2008: “We’re all expecting you to miss a few flights”. So far I’ve only proved her right once. Although, several other occasions have come close.