I don’t know about you but there are so many places in the world that I’ve visited that I’d love to go back to. I’ve been there once … or twice … or several times, and still there’s a pull that they exert on me to keep revisiting.
The pressure to go back.
I want to go back to Paris for the pastries and the sheer Frenchness of it all.
I want to go back to Rome for the ancient monuments and the quirky streets, to Florence for the art and the architecture, to Crete for the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle, and I’d love to go back again to England and Scotland, for the history, the Roman ruins and the beautiful countryside – and the list goes on …
Switzerland, Cairns, The Black Forest, Antibes, Broome ……
In a weeks time I’ll be touching down in Kathmandu ready to head off on my trek into the Everest region – AGAIN! But my reasons for wanting to revisit this area and this type of holiday (okay – some may not call trekking at altitude a holiday) are different and a little hard to describe.
The pressure of life.
As I sat in a café today with my flat white and white chocolate and Raspberry muffin – because I’m going to be burning it all off over the next few weeks – I looked around me and saw so many people with so many things to do and so many places to go. They’ve made time for coffee with family or friends but they don’t seem relaxed, it’s more like an obligation in their lives, having to schedule in some ‘downtime.’
List of things to do today: 1. Have coffee with friend – tick, done.
What they’re having is not really downtime, I pick up a frenetic vibe to the conversations going on around me. These people have homes, jobs, families, commitments, and they struggle to fit it all in.
When we go on holiday we tell ourselves that we’re going to relax and wind down but more often than not our frantic lifestyle comes with us – we have a list of places to see, recommendations for restaurants we must visit, galleries or museums to visit, and a need to fit it all in a short space of time.
Going back to the Everest region to do another trek holds a different attraction for me.
Yes, the stunningly gobsmacking scenery is definitely a lure but more than that it is the pace of life up there in the mountains, the peace, the tranquillity and the ability to just be.
The local Nepalese people take life in their stride. To our western mindset they have very little, material possessions are minimal. There are no cars, actually no transport at all, there’s no elaborate houses and very little technology, but these people emanate tranquillity, calm and ease of mind.
The simple life.
One of the things that I remember vividly from my last Everest trek was the simplicity of my life for those few weeks – yes, it was very physically demanding but for that short space of time life was simple. We ate, we slept and we walked. We found it hard to remember what day it was let alone what time and everything was organised for us.
The sun and the guides were our alarm clock.
Those guys made sure that we were awake and moving with a cup of tea first thing in the morning, they put food in front of us, they guided us throughout the day and it was to them that we turned when a decision needed to be made. How do we cross this river? Which way round these boulders do we go? Do we rest now or later? What’s for lunch?
Everything was taken out of our hands. We went back to basics, we rose and dressed ourselves, we put the food in our mouths and we placed one foot in front of another – and sometimes we struggled with even that.
During those few weeks the clutter was removed from my mind, thoughts of work and the daily drama of life disappeared. The muddle and confusion that accumulates as we struggle to cope with day to day living was eliminated as the fight with altitude, exhaustion and the sheer determination to put one foot in front of another took over.
Although I was with a group I enjoyed the ‘me’ time, the peace, the tranquillity and the ability that I had to just exist.
That’s what I’m going back for, that feeling of simplicity, the removal of clutter from my mind, the elimination of unnecessary ‘stuff’ from my thoughts.
With the mountains watching my every move I hope to clear my mind and concentrate my thoughts – on life and our unique ability to live it to the full.