The story of my experiences and the challenges I met when fulfilling my lifelong dream of trekking in the Himalayas.
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Kathmandu. Nepal. The Himalayas. An exotic area of the world that many people dream about visiting. Kate made that dream come true.
A casual phone call to a friend sparked the fulfillment of Kate’s lifelong dream of traveling to Nepal in order to trek in the Himalayas. She jokingly mentioned to her friend Kay who was planning to start a new exercise routine that they could get fit on a trip to the Himalayas.
Within just a few weeks, Kate and Kay found themselves on a plane on the way to the adventure of a lifetime:
– seeing the gorgeous snow-capped Himalayas in person so close that it seemed that Kate could just reach out her hand to touch them
– trekking for days into areas that only the most adventurous travelers ever reach.
What Kate learned about herself during the challenging and sometimes excrutiating, but always stimulating, adventure of trekking at high altitude over rough terrain truly transformed her in ways that often did not become apparent until many years later.
Follow along with Kate as she learns more about how to expand her limits so that she can truly fulfill her dream. And maybe you will find yourself motivated to fulfill your dream as well.
I think I'm goin' to Kathmandu
I think it's really where I'm goin' to
Hey, if I ever get out of here
That what I'm gonna do
I think it's really where I'm goin' to
Hey, if I ever get out of here
I'm goin' to Kathmandu
Song by Bob Seger
How many people have ended up going to Kathmandu because they just couldn’t get that Bob Seger song out of their minds? I thought that it must be a really wonderful place to have such a great song celebrating it. And man, that singer really wanted to go. I wonder if he ever got there.
I had a dream of going to Kathmandu and trekking in the Himalayas long before I heard that song. I really do not know how serious I was about ever getting there, but once I heard that song, I could not get Kathmandu out of my mind. Over and over it played. You know how that is when you wake up in the middle of the night and a particular song is going through your brain again and again. Then you’re sitting at breakfast. Yep, you guessed it – same song re-playing itself for the umpteenth and umpteenth and one times.
So I had to go – I didn’t have a choice. Maybe if I went to Kathmandu, then I would be able to get that song out of my brain and finally bring some peace and quiet back to my head again.
But my long-standing dream of heading to Kathmandu to do some trekking in the Himalayas was one that seemed impossible. After all, it was a location so exotic that I could not even conjure up what it would feel like to be there – to set my feet on land that was unexplored by any Westerners except the most curious and gutsy.
Kathmandu was and is backpacker mecca and the staging point for anyone planning to go trekking in the Himalayas. You may have had some friends who had the same dream as me. Maybe it has been one of your dreams as well?? Or do you have a different dream – one that you have lived with for a long time but never seriously thought you could fulfill?
If you picked up this book, then maybe somewhere deep inside of you, there is a bell ringing that is telling you “Now is the time to do something about achieving your dream – whatever that dream might be.”
-Have you ever dreamed about walking on land that very few other Westerners have or will ever set foot on?
-Have you ever wondered how great it would be to see the Himalayan mountains up close – picture-perfect locations that can only be experienced in person after trekking for days and days?
-Would you like to push yourself to do more physically as well as mentally than you ever thought possible?
-Do you have your own secret dream that is on your bucket list to do?
Maybe you are just about ready to do something more than dream about it. Maybe you are ready to step outside your comfort zone, break away from the role that you have been taught, and take charge of finding exactly what will fulfill you.
If you are ready to discover that truth – if you are ready to face the possibility of achieving something that you never thought possible, then read on. Maybe the story of how I dared to satisfy my hunger to wake up in the morning with the majestic Himalayas outside my window so close that it seemed possible to reach my hand out and touch them will inspire you to fulfill your own dream as well.
It is a bit hazy when my dream of trekking in the Himalayas started. I remember reading the classic adventure book Lost Horizons when I was very young, perhaps around 14 years old. I was entranced by the romance of it all and the idea of some far off land where life was perfect. Like many teenagers, I felt that life had been a big disappointment. What was the purpose anyway? Why did I have to study boring subjects? Why couldn’t I just study subjects that actually interested me? Life would be so wonderful if I did not have to follow so many rules imposed by others.
Yes, the Shangri-la of Lost Horizons where peace and happiness were the norm was the place I wanted to be. What a paradise! In my young girl’s imagination, I still thought that anything was possible. So yes, I thought that it was feasible to live somewhere without all the emotional ups and downs of everyday living that I was experiencing as a teenager in the U.S.
The setting seemed to be in the Himalayas, so I think that is when I started dreaming about going there. It is not important that I know when or how the dream started. What is important is simply having a fantasy of some sort and then recognizing the perfect time to fulfill it – or at least to do my best to fulfill it.
It was not my only dream, but it was definitely the longest running one. If I had been put on the spot about whether I would ever actually do any trekking in the Himalayas and see those gorgeous mountains up close and personal, I am sure I would have said no, that it was just a fantasy.
Like many people, I kept this dream pretty much to myself and did nothing consciously to make it come true. Instead, I just kept it in a secret place where it was mine alone to comfort me when I was feeling depressed or when I just wanted to daydream about escaping.
I guess it was kind of like the dream lots of people have of winning the lottery. We all love to fantasize about what we will do with all the money we get when we win that big prize even though most of us are realistic enough to understand that it is pretty certain that we have virtually no chance at that. But what a luscious escape it is to dream about it.
And what I did not know at the time that I went trekking in the Himalayas was how that trip would transform my attitude about what I could achieve – it was truly ‘transformative travel.’ It is not that I lacked confidence in myself prior to this adventure. In fact, even as I look back on who I was then, I see a woman who was secure enough to risk her security in her search for happiness and fulfillment, a woman who followed many avenues that others might have thought dangerous or reckless.
-The day after graduation from college, instead of sticking around home, I got into a car to drive out to Los Angeles for a teaching job.
-A few years later, I gave up tenure as a teacher in Los Angeles without anything else certain waiting in the wings.
-Some years after that, I took a leave of absence from graduate school to go off for a 3-month work assignment in Indonesia – a country that I knew virtually nothing about at the time.
No, I had enough confidence in myself to feel that I could handle pretty much whatever was thrown my way. That does not mean that I really could handle all that, but at least I thought that I could.
When fate stepped into my life and presented the opportunity to go to Kathmandu, it was unexpected. My friend Kay and I had jokingly talked about getting fit over the winter. That idea of getting in shape was not the goal, but we basically just used it as an excuse for an opportunity to travel to an exotic destination.
It gave us the cover story. I told friends that we were going off on a fabulous adventure – and oh yeah, it was not just a frivolous decision because we were going to be working hard at getting into great physical shape!
Like many Americans, I had spent most of my life in sedentary mode. And like many people, I kept telling myself that I should exercise more. I bought memberships at gyms, but only used them once or twice and then let the membership cards sit on my desk at home.
I had more fitness books than the public library. I also had more fitness videos than any of the local gyms where I had my non-memberships. A friend of mine once said that I got more exercise just moving the exercise videos from one shelf to another than I ever did in using them.
My friend was right. I got out of breath walking up just one flight of stairs. And even though I could barely hold a conversation and walk at the same time at sea level, I did nothing to get fit.
So there I was – overweight, out of shape, 54 years old – with this wonderful dream that I thought would probably never be fulfilled. But then a series of unrelated events unfolded that led me in a roundabout way to fulfill my dream of trekking in the Himalayas.
So now let me share with you how it all came about. And I hope by doing so, I can help you realize your own dreams.