Why Everest Base Camp Trek should be on your travel wishlist in 2017!

I have the soul of an adventurer. The sea beckons me and mountains allure me.

As I am not a swimmer yet, mountains interest me more. I come alive on treks. I know basic rock climbing and rappeling.

In routine life, I may come across as apprehensive – doubting my skills, decisions, and efforts that I put in a particular field. Not in mountaineering.

In my negligible experience, I have found myself to be the most agile and fearless in the group.

My mountaineering Coach asked me if I was afraid¬†when I was getting ready for the first ‘real’ rappelling experience off a cliff in Nainital. A 16-year old me looked into his eyes and answered, “Sir, humaari dictionary me darr shabd hi nahi hai.” (My dictionary does not have the word fear.)

While the other girls cried, some bailed out, I was calm as a cucumber – having full faith in my harness and the wall training that we did the day before. There was a flicker of apprehension when I fixed myself in the 45-degree position at the start, but it vanished as I took my first leap. I still remember the adrenaline rush I felt.

Rappelling at Nainital (2002). Click to enlarge.

 

My mountaineering ambitions did not come to fruition. However, then onwards I tried to climb any creviced wall or rocks that came in my way. I still do ūüôā

Last year, we went to Manali in May. Our guide took us to a place called Gulaba to see the remains of the meager snow that the valley had seen in 2016. I and the better half trekked for 10000 foot-steps vertically and back (so my iPhone says), exploring the trickling glacier streams, the stray ice patches and marveling at the distant snow covered peaks.

The husband caught on my mountaineering vibe and strode ahead decisively up the rocky track that a very few people were taking. I had no option, but to follow him and delicately stop him in his tracks. There, we shot my first attempt at video blogging :

Caution : If you are not experienced with snow, do not wander alone on snow covered mountains. Snow is extremely slippery and it will take you no time to tumble down the same ‘un-snow covered’ slope that you spent hours climbing! We learned this when we abandoned our trek just after the video, and went back to a small ice patch along the road shown in the video.

In case you were wondering if we found snow, this is what we found…

 

 

In any activity that you take up, your efforts are always towards the highest goal that you can achieve in the field. In case of mountaineering, taming the Mt.Everest is the dream culmination of every mountain climber’s aspirations.

The Everest Base Camp prepares you just for that. Even if you are not as serious as a professional mountain climber, at 17,950 Ft. the Everest Base Camp gives you a measurable high (no pun intended).

What is the Everest Base Camp?

In the beautiful land of Nepal, stands the highest mountain in the world – The Mount Everest. (I will not mention that the Chinese share the border across its summit.) Named after the Welsh Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest, the mountain has several local names; the most prominent being – Sagarmatha (Nepal) and Chomolungma (China/Tibet).

You can climb the gigantic girth from either China occupied Tibet or Nepal. The most popular approach is from South-East Nepal – which I am going to talk about.

The whole trip takes anywhere from 13-17 days, detailed packages for which are available on Mojhi.com.


The rough itinerary provided by every trip vendors looks like this

      1. Land at Kathmandu
      2. Travel to Lukla
      3. Walk to Phakding
        4. Trek to Namche Bazaar (Enter the Sagarmatha National Park)
        5. Begin the actual leg of trekking towards the

Everest Base Camp

        6. Reach the

Everest Base Camp

       and begin downwards trek towards Lukla.
      7. Lukla to Kathmandu

Each travel operator takes different times for stay at each of these places, according to the needs of the travelers to explore the local culture, get acclimatized to the weather and pressure, and their stamina to trek at a stretch.

Things to look out for when choosing a trip operator (vendor) 

        1. Nepal Government Certified Guides (Sherpas)
        2. Number of porters per client
        3. Is food included in the package?
        4. Does the tour operator take care of all the necessary permits required?

Generally, the group size of 2-15 is taken at a time, with the average group size being 5. It is advisable to ask for group discounts while booking.

If you do not want to go through the hassle of finding the right tour operator for your Everest Base Camp Trek, you can take help of Mojhi.com. For the first time traveler and even experienced ones, Mojhi.com offers a plethora of tried and tested tour operators, whose itineraries you can check, contact them and even get feedback from an experienced traveler community which is an integral part of the website.

What’s more? You can even become a member and share your own experiences about a place or tour operator.

Not only for the Everest Base Camp, for other adventure and leisure travels too, Mojhi.com is the place to find the most sound travel advice.

I have started saving for my Everest Base Camp trek. I hope my thrilling accounts of trekking and what awaits you at the Everest Base Camp have motivated you enough to take on the ‘quest’ too in 2017!

Please let me know what your travel plans are for this year, in the comments.

Resolutions 2017

2017 will be the year of achievements and learning.

I am quitting my side job to focus on shooting. It will also give me time to look after my blog, and learn coding again.

Here are the resolutions :

  1. Win a medal.
  2. Earn money blogging.
  3. Code using SWIFT and also develop an end-to-end iOS app with cloud hosting and web services.
  4. Write a tech blog.
  5. Write a shooting blog.
  6. Write actively on thedamsel.in.
  7. Read 100 books.
  8. Write short stories and creative pieces.
  9. Complete April A-Z Challenge and February Ramblings.
  10. Eat right, exercise and get a fit body. Participate in at least one marathon.

I am going easy on me this year, and setting fairly achievable goals.

 

A photo posted by Ruchi Moré (@thedamselin) on

Most of my resolutions this year are related to writing. This is conscious, because I feel writing has taken a backseat since I left my day job in 2015. I had taken a break to write and I took up shooting instead. It has been close to 6 years that I have a blog and 4 years since I have this domain.

The initial settling in has been done. Now I need to go to the next level and start implementing SEO and monetisation. (For that I need to write too ūüėõ )

So here’s to the second innings of blogging!

2017 – The year of achievable goals!

 

2016 – The year in review

 

The year I turned 30.

2016 has indeed been the year of preparation.

Here’s my report card :

1. Pursue a sport.

I started shooting on June 1,2016. I continued from where I left in 2015. Then I had completed level 3 – the level where one is supposed to play states. However, since I was to go to Dubai, I requested my coach to let me work on my technique rather than appearing for the matches half-prepared.

There was no stopping after I rejoined. I qualified for the states, then played the pre-nationals. I appeared for the nationals through a wildcard (3 points less than the qualification score). I could not qualify in the nationals, but am heading towards a successful next year.

Here’s to hard work!


2. Start coding again.

This ain’t happening. I took up work by the side in August which kept me busy. Let’s see if I can code in 2017.
3. Write without the fear of your inner editor.

I wrote a lot of gibberish this year. I started NaBloPoMo¬†November and wrote a few odd posts. I almost completed the February ramblings! April’s A-Z Challenge was a disaster.

The positive here is – I am not shying from writing.

Oh, and here is something sensible I heard and wrote.
4. Learn baking.

This will take another decade. It has dropped from my priority list.
5. Prepare a virtual travelogue.

I started travel posts on thedamsel.in, but I did not have enough time.
6. Read 100 books.

I completed 33% of my Goodreads Challenge. (That’s a lot for me, who reads about 10 books a year.) Though it may not have gone as I planned at the outset, this year I have made good use of Kindle Unlimited. ¬†I also exchanged my copy of Undue Influence from Sharjah Book Fair in Pune International Literature Festival.

  1. I finished ALL of Jane Austen’s work barring Lady Susan.
  2. I read George Orwell, whom I was planning to read since 2013.
  3. I read White Shark instead of the planned Jaws reading.

All in all, a good reading year.
7. Draw the fashion designs in your head. Learn to draw, if need be.

I subscribed to an online drawing course which cost me 1250 Rs per month. I continued till 2 months and then quit. There is a fashion design course offered by MITCON Pune, which I was considering taking up, but have decided against it for the moment.
8. Start video blogging/podcasting.

Erm…
9. Love your blog(s). Let it show.

I monetised my blog today. I gave it a makeover. It has been getting makeovers ‘trial and error’ style for the whole year. So I guess my love is showing.
10. Be your own mentor in all walks of life.

This is what I said mid-year >> Failing terribly. Need to take myself seriously. 

I have improved since. I have kept myself motivated and charged, to be consistent where needed and to be flexible and revise priorities where needed. I am gaining control.

 

2016 РThe year of preparation. 2017 РOff to climb mountains!

 

 

 

 

DAY 21 : What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

It is difficult to pick only 3 lessons from the truck loads that occur to me every minute of the day. I shall prioritise though :

  1. Do not be bogged by the habit of procrastination. It can be overcome.
    Dear children, if you ever read this, you’ll know that this post was supposed to be written on 21 July 2015. Instead, it comes on 23 September 2016. Reason? Procrastination.
    I procrastinate for one or more of these reasons :

    1. Often, procrastination is a result of a deep desire for perfection. If you are old enough, you will understand what I am saying.
    2. I put off things which are important to me, but may seem unimportant to the family. I do this to accommodate the demands of the mundane. Postpone that painting I so want to finish, for the dishes that need to be done. This is my example, you will have yours.
    3. I am afraid of gratification. You may have heard of people who are too afraid to acknowledge that they are happy, fearing they will be plunged into deep sadness soon. This leads me to delay doing things I love to do. An equally possible reason I procrastinate is РI try to do the thing I want to do so earnestly, at the last Рlike a dessert.
    4. What about the things I¬†don’t want to do but have to do? You’d think I¬†procrastinate the most on them. Nope. Think hard and you’ll notice I¬†put off things I¬†love to do rather than have to do. One exception is workout. I know I have to workout, but put if off every morning and then every evening.

      Have I overcome all this? Well, not all at the moment that I am writing this. But I have overcome parts of it. I have let go of the heavy expectations of perfection from myself. I have realised that I can find time pockets if not hours on end to do things which I love to do – I read while waiting for the cab to arrive, I read while travelling in the cab.¬†I am not afraid to be happy doing what I love to do – it doesn’t matter if my activity is termed useful or a waste of time by the family. I have learned to enjoy things I don’t want to do but have to do. If you do anything, even an unwanted chore with concentration, it gives you a peace of mind which will be useful when you do things you want to do. You will find that if you do the dishes well, you will enjoy your reading break more. Otherwise the reading will be harried.
      So yes, voluntary or involuntary procrastination is curable.

  2. Bullies will be there in every walk of life. Learn when to ignore and when to confront them.
    The first bullies come disguised in the form of friends. The second walk up to you in the form of authority. They can be people you can avoid and they can be people you cannot avoid at any cost. They may be temporary fixtures or permanent relations in your life. The worst bullies are those who pretend to be your well-wishers. The more tolerable are the ones who openly impose restrictions on you in schools, colleges, workplaces and your social circles.
    In my case,¬†I am brought up to be sensible to the feelings of others, I¬†unknowingly¬†get bullied emotionally and confirm to others’¬†notions of life just to avoid confrontation. Physical bullying probably ends at school level and can be dealt with if you talk to your parents. However, emotional bullying is a bit complex. I have found a way to deal with it by shielding myself against the hurt expressed by the bully, at the risk of appearing cold and rude. This has to be done in moderation and you need to remember not to turn into an island by meting out the same treatment to your real well-wishers. The other kind of bullies – the authorities – believe you me – you just have to complain to the higher authority and/or stand your ground, look them in the eye and say, ‘Hey, dude, Sir/Madam, this ain’t gonna work on me. You will have to do the right thing, and by the book. And if you think of threatening me with consequences, well, I am ready to face them. At least I won’t¬†have to submit to your bullying.’
    Now the best part of my advice – a very few bullies fall into ‘the ones to be taken seriously’ category. You can easily deal with the rest by just ignoring them. Learn that from me, I am perhaps the most skilled confrontation avoider you’ll ever meet.
  3. Be friends with nature and animals.
    You know children, as you grow up, you’d think the world becomes simpler, the exams stop, the pressure to do well in studies and sports is lessened, the money is easy and you are at liberty to stay up well past your bed-time and get up whenever you want to. This doesn’t happen. At least not in the way you might picture it. I longed to grow up so that I’d be taken seriously by others. Even that doesn’t happen. If it happens in your case, well and good. If not, you will be stressed more often than not and will need an outlet to vent out and¬†calm down. The best place for this is anywhere close to nature. Even your balcony garden counts. You also need to understand and form bonds with animals around you (not only the humans) – so that you can retreat to them, talk to them and learn the art of life from them. Mark my words, when happy or sad, when elated or depressed, when rich or bankrupt – go close to nature and animals – your spirits will be grounded or uplifted – as per need. Great balancers, these.

This was all my advice for now. And I am positive you’ll find I do follow my own advice, when you will be reading this.

Day 11 : Something that you always think “What if…” about

I haven’t had to think much about this. There are a very few events about which I think what if.

I was in school, probably not over 5th standard. My Grandpa used to drop me to school on our Kinetic Honda.

School always opened in the first week of June, which also marks (…err used to mark, now monsoon is too erratic) the beginning of monsoon. Because of the ‘kichad’ that covered the kaccha road to school up to 5-to-10 blocks, we had to park near another school and walk all the way to the gate.

Grandpa was so caring that he used to walk up to the school at leaving time. I never walked alone to the parked scooter. One such day, we were walking back from school and I noticed some puddles formed at the side of the road. I was tempted to step in them.

There was a big puddle, larger than the bucket-sized ones. I looked up at Grandpa and asked, “Should I jump in it?” He smiled and said, “Why not?”

We were some steps away from the puddle. I was wearing pristine white socks and jet black¬†shoes (which weren’t that black anymore). A curious thought occurred to me. “What if Mom shouts that I got my socks dirty?”

Now that I look back, that thought seems to be triggered by Providence itself because I have never cared enough for Mom’s reprimands or the fact that she will have to wash soiled socks (yes, I feel bad). BUT, you get the point, right? That thought occurred to me, and half out of fear and half out of concern, I did not go through with my decision.

When we were about to reach the parked scooter, an acquaintance of Grandpa’s came up to him, they got talking and I was looking around me, utterly bored when only under a minute had passed. Suddenly my ears pricked at a sentence I heard – Only 3 days back, a child had fallen into one of the uncovered wells a few kms away. There is a growth in wells dug up and abandoned when they don’t hit water. People don’t build a boundary wall around them and unsuspecting children and animals fall in them. There’s one such well right behind you! See? Last week’s rains have filled it to the brim and now it looks like just another puddle…”

WHAAA? I stood with my mouth agape. My Grandpa finished the conversation and walked on as if nothing had happened. I looked up at him and asked, “What if I had jumped in the puddle, erm, well?” He smiled and said, “Nothing. I would have saved you.”

That was reassuring, as my Grandpa is a very skilled swimmer. But I still shudder at the thought of having put a foot in a puddle and stumbling into a well!

I know my writing style has deteriorated of late. Please bear.