I could have called this post Countdown to Everest or Countdown to Nepal or even Countdown to Thyangboche, which is ultimately the furthest point I will reach on my quest next May, but I like the alliteration so, Countdown to Kathmandu it is. Kathmandu, for those of you whose geography is a little hazy, is the capital of Nepal in northern India. It sits at 1,350 metres above sea level and is the gateway to the Nepal Himalayas. This is generally where you touch down in advance of your trek into either the Everest region or the nearby Annapurna region.

Now, I think it’s fair to say that this trek and the necessary preparations have been on my mind a fair bit in recent weeks. Ok, I’m obsessed. I have a focus people and when I have something to aim for there’s no stopping me, I need to be organised. I’m a list person, as I think I’ve mentioned before, and I’ve started several. The first one was books to read before I go. Well, where to start, or more accurately, where to stop?

Suddenly I’m noticing any book or magazine with a mountain on the front, or anything that contains mountain, Everest, Himalayas, trekking etc etc in the title. Only days after making the decision to go on this trek I came across a bookshop selling all their books for five dollars. Being one who simply cannot pass a bookshop without at least browsing, the pull of reduced price books was overwhelming and I made an immediate right turn into the shop. I think I cut off a couple of other shoppers in the process but time waits for no woman intent on buying books. Anyway, I browsed through one table, collecting a couple of books on the way, and was on to the second when I came face to face with Michael Palin staring up at me from the cover of his book Himalaya. Before you could say ‘what mountain?’ I had forked out my five dollars and figured that if ever there was to be a sign this was it. Since then I have bought one on trekking in Nepal and I’ve ordered Sir Edmund Hillary’s autobiography View from the Summit and there’s several more that I want to buy and I’ve still got 10 months to go.

Another of my lists involves exercise and lots of it. I’m relatively fit, I have a treadmill that I’ve used intermittently for the last couple of years and I like to go for a walk along a nearby coastal path on the weekend sometimes. No more intermittent exercise and sometimes walks now though. My exercise list starts off this month with 2km on the treadmill twice a week, ab crunches on a recently acquired ab crunch bench thingie and hand weights (to strengthen my arm muscles in case I need to cling to a rugged mountain climber as I trip over a boulder, or a yak, or something), with an hours walk along the coastal path every weekend. This path does have some quite steep inclines so the leg muscles get quite a good workout.

The distances and frequency will increase over the months and I’ve done some research into tracks around Perth where I can get used to a different terrain on some longer walks. Factor in a few ups and downs of Jacobs Ladder at Kings Park and you’ll see a new me in no time flat. I did mention that I was an optimistic type didn’t I? I’ve made the routine gradual and achievable and am really looking forward to the ‘feel good’ feeling that usually comes with exercise.

Also on this list are some yoga sessions. Not something I’ve tried before but something that has been on my New Years Resolution list for the past couple of years. In fact last year it was the only thing on that list that I didn’t manage to achieve. I did Tai Chi a few years ago and really enjoyed it so hopefully I’ll take to the yoga.

So that’s my mind and body taken care of, the next list I think will be a shopping list. It starts with the boots …… I’ll get into that next time.

10 months, 1 week and counting.

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