This was a big day for us in a number of ways, not least of which was the fact that we were finally back on the trail. The weight of wondering if the trek was over or not was lifted and forward momentum returned. Also, it was Megan’s birthday! The coinciding of the two events was rather fortuitous, as there was probably nothing she wanted more for her birthday than to get the heck out of Dingboche!
We were all starting to go a bit stir crazy there in Dingboche. After three days cooped up most of the day in the same tea house, we were very ready for a change of scenery. All the day hikes and snowball fights in the world couldn’t mask the fact that all upward progress has stopped, and might possibly not be started back up again if the weather didn’t clear.
I was prepared to roll with whatever happened. Of course I really wanted to get to Base Camp, it was a long time dream of mine, but I was completely in the moment at that point. Enjoying everything and taking it in as it came. I was in the Himalayas, having the adventure of a lifetime with a great group of people. What did I really have to worry or complain about? I had no control over what the weather did or didn’t do, only over how I chose to respond to it. So I chose to revel in the experience.
Others in the group, however, were struggling with our extended stay in Dingboche. There was a real air of claustrophobia coming over the collective, so coming out of our tents that morning to clear, blue skies was a measurably lifting moment. A bit of “Hallelujah!” as I commented on the podcast. Megan was definitely among the “get me the hell out of here!” group, so it was an extra special gift for her birthday to be back on the trail.
It made me really happy to not just get on the trail, but to also see what the staff had cooked up for Megan for a birthday surprise. We knew they had done something on the hillside, Sonam had asked a few of us to try and keep her looking forward as we passed that area, so that she wouldn’t see it until we’d passed by and gotten to a better vantage point, but we didn’t know specifically what it was. So it was nearly as much a surprise for as as it was for Megan. Or is it “Magan”?
As Jon said in this episode, we were are really fond of her, so it was great to see her all smiling and happy again after that heavy weight had been lifted and we were back on the trail. Personally, I was very glad she was on the trek. Her and Jon were the people who most “got it” with some of the things I was feeling along the way. Just getting that little nod that said “I know” when I was having one of my many moments made me feel much less alone, or less weird even. So thanks, Megan, for making the trip all the more special.
This episode also says a lot about how amazing our staff was. They got up extra early that morning and spent a couple hours building this message for Megan, just to do something nice for one of the group. This kind of personal attention isn’t part of the package, not something we’re paying for, it’s just something they did from their own hearts. Above and beyond their normal duties and responsibilities.
Day in and day out, I was in awe of our staff. Their unwavering work ethic, boundless energy and stamina, and endlessly positive outlook and attitude made them an inspiration to me. Anything we needed at any point, they would go out of their way to try and provide for us. And I would normally feel very ill at ease with this kind of attention, I’m not a fan of that sort of waited-on-hand-and-foot kind of service, but they never made it feel that way. It was clear that this was why they were there, to leave us to focus on the trek and them to focus on everything else.
And with that, I think I’ll wrap up this week’s Megan/Mountain Tribes love fest. This is really the beginning of the best moments of the trek, things are both literally and figuratively very uphill from here. As fun as it’s been so far, amazing things are in store over the next few weeks. Jon is very excited about the upcoming episodes, and he’s not alone in that sentiment. Strap yourselves in folks, things are gonna get awesome!
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