The bag is packed, flights booked and the pre trip arrangements for bills, work, and final goodbyes said to lovers and friends. For some trips these are just the normal formalities; who will feed the cat, and walk the dog. And if this is often an enough occurrence, even the dog gets used to being abandoned as you pursue your driving passions. For me this has been a pattern for over 30 years of travelling to do adventurous things and to work.
Up until now, its more often than not been me dishing out the goodbyes, throwing the sac in the plane and flying off without a backwards glance to those left behind, who then are consigned to waiting for news good or bad and the prodigal sons return. Of course I have done close to my fair share of being the house husband, holding the fort when wife’s and partners head of to visit friends, or take extended journeys to yoga retreats in far off Fort William or Karalla India.
Nope this month was different, someone very close to me (more on that later) decided to finish a very adventurous year by flying off to Nepal to climb a mountain. As soon as the date arrived this felt different, the flights in to Kathmandu during a storm prone October, started the process of slight concern, the sms message from the back of a motorbike (with no helmet) made me twitch a little. But through the pixilated world of low bandwith skype, enough contact was maintained to keep the heart from fluttering every day.
Then came the jeep journey to the trailhead, and anyone who has trekked or climbed in Nepal / Himalayas will understand, this is something else. Steep sided washed out roads, poor vehicles and mad “ god willing” drivers compound the madness, a text saying, “ tire blow out, 6 hours late, now dark with huge drops off the road, great fun” was the marker for a big change. I know I should not worry, after all life is for living experiencing, loving new exciting places and pushing the comfort zones every so often. Over the next few weeks no contact was had, I know she is sensible, fit, and quite skilled in looking after herself in the mountains and well able to turn back if it turns to poo, but its the not knowing. What was the sherpa like, what were the others on the team going to be like at altitude or under stress, and with such a short window, 2 days, being allowed for the summit, would they push to hard if the odds looked close?
Sitting back at home with no contact, no real understanding of the trip program was an interesting experience, a very mixed experience. I know that having this experience was and is important to her, that to project irrational worries and concerns did no one any good especially me. Not being able to see and feel the risk, make informed decisions and live it myself, left me just having to trust in the universe, but I am not sure I liked it. So to all those I have left in front of the fireplace over the many years I have been playing in the mountains, sorry, I now know a little of what you have been through. However to cage a lion and having to live with the frustrations of the caged beast, mmm….