I appear only briefly in this week’s episode, and didn’t participate in the commentary for it, so it’s a little trickier than normal to come with something to write about this week. I’ve already written a bit about communicating back with the world and being off the grid, but there’s probably room to expand upon that. So, here we go…
For me, getting away from home was exactly what I needed at the time. To say I was dissatisfied with damn near every aspect of my life before I left would be an understatement. I’d been laid off from my permanent job, and had to leave the consulting gig I’d been at to go on the trek. So I had only unemployment to look towards back home. On top of that I had burned through the vast majority of my savings to pay for the trek, so I had that money pit sitting there waiting for me. I’d also just worked through a rough patch with the girl I was seeing at the time. (I referred to her as my girlfriend on the trek, though she really wasn’t. It was more complicated than that, and just saying “my girlfriend” was more succinct than trying to explain the whole thing.) Things were really just getting smoothed out as I left, but it still felt a bit like things were hanging a bit as I flew off for the better part of a month, so I had no idea what (if anything) I’d be coming back to there. And those are just the major, 10,000 foot things going on, there was a myriad of other little struggles going on at that point as well that are perhaps too personal to go into here.
So, yeah. I wasn’t all that pumped up to get back into touch with that world while I was away. The trek was a wonderful escape from all that, a chance to not even think about all the mess that sat back in the States waiting for me. I forgot all about it and lived truly in the moment while I was there. My mind was on taking in the magnificent scenery that surrounded me. On meeting all the wonderful local people along the way. On making “The Jon & John Morning Show” every day in our tent. On having snowball fights with Megan. On cracking silly and corny jokes with Steve Wolfe. On listening to Kyle excitedly tell us about the pool hall he found in Namche that was playing Nirvana. On being inspired by John Fera’s endless drive and energy. On sitting in that orange dome tent at Everest Base Camp and feeling like Mark Wahlberg in Rock Star. On all the amazing, wonderful things that happened day in and day out there in the Himalayas.
The fact that the satellite phone didn’t work until so far into the trek felt like a bit of a blessing to me. Sure, there were a couple of calls I would have liked to made during that time, but the disconnect from the “real world” felt damn good. I was still able to fire off the occasional Twitter and Facebook posts, and send an email here and there, so I was able to let people back home know what was going on, and that I was still alive and hadn’t fallen of a cliff or something. But those limited opportunities to reach back home made it all the easier to stay focused on the trek and living in the moment.
Small aside, my friend Jimmy remarked that he actually got worried for a bit when the whole group simultaneously stopped posting updates to Twitter/Facebook/blogs/etc. at one point. We had all been posting pretty regularly, but as we got higher up and things got colder and more difficult, we all kinda stopped for a couple days. So there was this sudden radio silence that perhaps made some people a tad nervous.
But I digress…
In the end, I only ended up trying to make two phone calls. And only one of them was even successful, my attempts to contact my mom failed so I only got to talk briefly with Anne (the aforementioned girlfriend that wasn’t really my girlfriend.) While I did miss my friends and family, that escape from the world back home was much-needed, so I was quite satisfied with the little bit of communication I got to do. Hell, I almost ended up not coming back as Megan and I had done a pretty good job of almost convincing each other to stay there in Thamel and not go back “home”. But, in the end, I realized my reasons for wanting to stay were as much the fact that I didn’t want to deal with all the stuff waiting for me back home as it was how much I loved Nepal. I’ll go back there again, probably many more times, but if I’d stayed it would have been in no small part for the wrong reasons.
(Images from The Rest Of Everest podcast are © 2003-2010 TreeLine Productions.)