Post written December 29: I’m particularly hard on myself.
I’ve gone thorough the range of emotions, from elation to utter dissatisfaction. I recently saw EBC photos from the group. The scenery was incredible in the ways I had hoped and expected. I was super thrilled that they had accomplished that feat. But then I felt beside myself again, saddened by the fact that I needed to turn back. Dan had left a University of Guelph Alumni t-shirt with the words “Ricky and the Sparkling Momos”. It’s so cool that the shirt now hangs in Gorakshep… but not cool that I never reached base camp.
And here’s why I’m hard on myself. Despite logically knowing that the decision needed to be made; that the guides and my friends were thinking of my well-being first; that I had told myself beforehand that I will turn back if advised; that trekking for 5 days and making it to Tengboche is an accomplishment on its own… I’ve had that nagging voice in my head screaming “You failed.”
But that’s what many of us do, no? Rather than look at all the positives and rational thinking and the supportive comments, we hone in on the points that sting the most.
I posted a photo of me being evacuated via helicopter, along with one of me with an IV tube. Family and friends were following along in the adventure, so I felt it was important to post an update informing that I would not continue, but I was in good care. The responses were overwhelming to say the least: incredibly supportive; applauding me for pushing myself more than many would have… for being an inspiration; and for having the sense to make a decision for health.
How could I read these and truly feel like I’m failure? To be called “inspiring” is quite something to digest. The moniker ‘inspirationrick’ started as a joke, and has become a reminder to pay attention to those things in life that inspire us… to continue to be inspired through seeking out adventures and life experiences. If my ramblings and experiences help inspire others in some way… to pursue goals or dreams or to aim big, then that’s pretty awesome too.
And if I look at what I’ve experienced in a past week, it’s been pretty cool and unique:
- Trekking for 5 days to 4040 metres of the Everest Base Camp Trail
- Being “that guy” who gets helicopter rescued out of the Himalayas… the 2nd time in 18 years that my guide has recommended such a response
- Flying over the Khumbu icefall with an incredible view of Everest Base Camp
- Spending 2 nights at a hospital in Kathmandu with service akin to a 5 star hotel
- Getting the “Trekker’s Massage”, a combination of a soft tissue and a limb-pulling Thai massage
- Flying to Pokhara, the touristy lakeside city, and hiking to Australian Camp for incredible sunrise views of the Annapurna Himalayan Range
- Helping raise over $2000 for the Canadian Institute for the Blind
Truth be told, I’ve written those out because I myself require the reminder that this vacation has not been a failure. Decisions made in the name of health cannot ever be seen as a failure. As I mentioned before, I will get to Everest Base Camp when the time is right. I’ve just had a minor setback in pursuit of this goal.
A few days ago, I decided to pick up “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo and read the short book in less than 2 days. In the story, a shepherd boy dreams of travel and embarks on a long quest to find treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt. He encounters setbacks along the way. Life happens. Fortunate and unfortunate events occur. But he remains steadfast in his pursuit while navigating and processing the life lessons learned throughout the journey. What a fitting read with an important point: I want to attain the ‘goal’ of EBC, yes. But oh what a fun journey it was; a chance to push my body to extremes with stubborn-like perseverance; to spend time with great friends; and to appreciate an environment I’ve dreamed about.
I’m not saying that I’m going to get over this setback right away, but it’s time to look forward. I must look forward, and acknowledge what an amazing trip it’s been thus far. The next life adventure is just around the corner, and there are many more experiences to be had.