#22 The road ahead

Less than two weeks to go; this may be the penultimate post before my travels! Waiting at the traffic lights at the level crossing in my car this morning, my mind drifted off imagining myself in the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu (searching the busy streets for some walking poles, a mattress and my final pair of gloves) with the snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya in the background. During the day in Nepal it should be warm and sunny with temperatures up to the mid-20’s, it will feel like summer! Kind of.

I’ve still not sorted absolutely everything but am definitely getting there, all my handover notes are done: for my dear friend Anne who is covering for me at work; Treasurer’s duties for the orchestra concert I’ll miss in April and Treasurer’s duties plus a set of accounts for the music club at work. All I have to do now is sort the paperwork for myself to take with me, and a summary for my family who will be looking after the house etc. and hopefully trying not to worry too much about me …

I went out for dinner with one of my best friends Jeni and my 15 year old niece Emily at the weekend and we were talking about my six night Airbnb stay in Kyoto, Japan as it’s is probably the only part of my trip that I haven’t organised to the nth degree. I was saying that during that time I wanted to visit Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima and now Nara (to see the nodding deer) and they were asking when I was going to chill. A good question. I’ve been so preoccupied with trying to squeeze the most out of the trip that I’ve forgotten that this whole thing started because I was feeling restless and needed a bit of time out.

I’ve been seeing a lovely lady called Carol for the last month or so and she has been helping me prepare mentally for this trip. I know I’m only away for three months (97 days actually!), which is no time at all in the grand scheme of things, but it will be life-changing and I will be out of my comfort zone at times and the base camp trek might be the single most challenging thing I’ll ever do in my life. I had some unexpected emotional turmoil last week (nothing to do with my trip) and it reminded me how in order to be happy we have to know what we really want. Hopefully while I’m away I can make time to reflect and think about my life and what I want to do with it when I get back.

Talking of what I want, I want to get fit! I’ve not been able to do any serious training the last few weeks as I’ve been feeling under the weather from the jabs (yellow fever last week, yay, last one) and busy with the final arrangements. I was in contact with Helen and Richard and we decided to go back to the Big Hill (see #13) on Sunday and do a circular walk. It was lovely to see them again, catch up and tackle the hill. We were only walking for about two and a half hours but it was fairly challenging and the good thing was that I didn’t really feel tired and could have probably done the route again with no real issues, so that gives me hope.

I was carrying my new rucksack and had packed it with the things I think I will need to carry on a daily basis so that I could see how heavy it was. I came a bit of a cropper on the Inca Trail as my day sack was just too heavy and I struggled on the first day, so I don’t want to make the same mistake again. Taking my niece home on Saturday evening I was chatting with my sister and her husband Bradley, and he was giving me a bit of grief because I said I wanted to do a pre-pack of my rucksack before I do my ‘proper’ pack. Their friends were also there and they added to the discussion (aka give Liz a hard time) and the whole conversation ended up being hilarious. It did make me question the amount of preparation I am doing – but only for a second. As we used to say in the cadets: Planning and Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance, so my mission for this week will be to do my pre-pack!

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