January 29th, 2012
61 notes ·

Flash Back: Base Camp, Mt. Everest

For my final night in Toronto I hooked my laptop up to the tv and showed my parents my trip photos. I’m pretty sure until the day I die Mt. Everest will be the highlight of my life (sorry future husband / kids).

It just makes me so happy to think about.

November 21st, 2011
101 notes ·

So, You Wanna Hike to Base Camp, Mount Everest?

Boom! This is how you’re going to do it, mmkay? Firstly, woot! YOU’RE IN? YOU’RE IN! Excellent! Because for reals, I can not express enough how wonderful and great of an experience it was and how I really think you should do it.

But I know, I know, you’ve got questions first… but do not fret, my pretties, I am here to help.

Here some questions I’m sure (re: from comments/emails) you’re asking, complete with random photos to try lure you in to save, and then, well…  do it! :)

Wait, What was the first step you took?

Researched! The Internet is a brilliant place folks (obvs, you found me living in it, didn’t ya?) and it should be put to good use.  A quick Google of “Base Camp Tours” will lead you to a huge number of tour companies who offer guided tours. Some are better than others, but then some are cheaper and/or more expensive than others. So… research! research! research!

The other option is private tours. I’m not sure if they’re found online, or not (probs are), but in Kathmandu there are advertisements for “private sherpas (guides) and porters (locals who carry your goods)” everywhere, and I heard they were really good too.

What Tour Guide Company Did you go with?

I went with Geckos Adventures Grassroots: Everest Base Camp tour. Would I recommend them? Absolutely.  But, they were good for me, and maybe they won’t be for you (so again, research!).  Why were they good for me? Because their tour moved at a decent pace, but still gave me the adequate number of rest days.  If you’re festively-plump, fashionably-chubby or haven’t-moved-your-bum-from-your-computer-in-years you may want to choose a tour that’s a little longer in the number of days, y’know, to take it easy.  My tour was 16 days total, which I thought was perfect.

Sadly I *think* Geckos is an Australian based company, which operates in Canada, Europe, Oz and New Zealand not the United States, in which case I would recommend GAP Adventures Base Camp Tour. As their group moved simultaneously with ours, and the people seemed pretty cool too. (Note: I only went with Geckos over Gap because it was cheaper, but I see now Gap is cheaper)

So… tell us the dirty deets, how much did it set you back?

US$1,145. Well, somewhat, that was the price of my tour.

But, it was SO worth it. I promise and then cross my heart and hope to die. This, of course, was not including my flights to Nepal, which weren’t too bad, but obviously it’ll depend where you’d be flying from (I flew Heathrow in London to Nepal for $798 ).

So, what did that US$1,145 get me? It got me a guide, three actually, who were WONDERFUL. Start (Kathmandu) to finish (Kathmandu) they took care of me. They were super organized, and I never felt like ohmygod-I-am-in-the-mountains-and-don’t-know-what-to-do.

While hiking they always had a guide at the front, middle, and back, and the back guide went at the slowest person’s pace. Generally, like my Mt. Everest video says, I was somewhere in the middle of the pack. It also got me 7 wonderful porters (people who carried my (and the group’s) stuff up). 

Yes friends, it’s true, I did NOT carry my pack up, and nor will you if you do it. My pack weighed 7kg (15 pounds) and was carried up by a porter. I just carried my day pack up, which included water, my camera, and random stuff. (Note: 99.9% of people who go to Base Camp and/or summit Everest use porters, including professionals. Without Porters, it wouldn’t be possible. (Side note: The porters are INCREDIBLE.  The porters who carry hikers’ packs are restricted to 30kg (66 pounds) each, whereas porters who carry items between little towns carry up to 120kg (264 pounds)!!! It’s crazy. There were times when I was huffing and puffing, as it was so steep, and then a porter in crocs, carrying 50+kg and TEXTING would go past me.)

It also got me me a wooden bed each night to lay my pretty head on.  Accommodation was the bare essentials (roof, wooden bed), but I rather enjoyed the whole cabin-wilderness thing.

Other costs. Food. It was not included. Know that. I skipped that little detail and somewhat got screwed.  Food in Nepal is cheap. Very cheap. Except when you’re 5,000 meters in the air, and a porter has carried everything you’re eating to that spot (remember, no roads), then food in Nepal is expensive, very expensive.  Equipment. Do not forget about the equipment. Hiking to BC is VERY nontechnical, but still, you need to get hiking shaz for it. Then there is tipping. People (your sherpas and porters) don’t get paid that well, which means tipping is a huge part of their salary. Take tipping into consideration, because the recommended US$1.50/day adds up over 16 days with 10 people to tip. Electricity. You’ll want to charge your cameras and they charge you per hour. Also, the higher up you go, the more it gets (for everything, esp. water and electricity), as they run off solar power. Quite a few places once the power is out, it’s done for the night. Other. Lip balm when your lips are burning and other things your silly ass forgot such as winter gloves.

My Stats:

  • Tour: $1,145
  • Flights: $798
  • Equipment: $600
  • Food/Tipping/Cash/Other: $600  (I didn’t keep detailed records, but this is the amount of cash I withdrew in Nepal)
  • TOTAL: $3,143 roughly as this is CND mixed with US (ps. working this out now, it’s way more than I thought it was, but still, I swear it’s worth it)

Equipment?!? Gah! I don’t know technical stuff!!?! Help!

Oh Lordy, I had no idea about this one either. Really, you just need yourself, a GREAT pair of hiking boots (don’t. be. cheap.), and an excellent sleeping bag. Worst case scenario, you have to buy something there. EVERYTHING is sold in Kathmandu, everything, AND, it’s way cheaper. If I did it again I’d buy all my stuff there (exception: hiking boots <— they gotta be worked in before hand) in the days leading up to it, to save money.

You can check out my KILLER (if-I-do-say-so-myself) packing guide here for some of the clothing things I took, but truthfully, I wasn’t prepared (due to the fact I was doing such a big trip and didn’t have the room in my main pack), but if you’re heading to Nepal just to trek, it’s all about LAYERS people. And scarfs. And hats. And mitts. And torches. And rain jackets.

However, don’t worry about this, if you join a tour group they’ll have a detailed list for you, just make sure you actually listen to their list, unlike me, who was all like, “oh… flashlight, eh? meh, that’s too heavy to bring, pshh, besides I won’t need it.” FALSE LIZ FALSE.

But what if I’m too tubby and/or unfit?

So, here’s a little interesting fact for you, person on the other side of my computer, I hiked to Base Camp Everest while I was technically considered “overweight,” so know this, it’s doable. YOU CAN DO IT!

But, I know what you’re thinking, “but you ran a marathon 2 weeks before,” which is true, but I still could have done it had I not. Promise.

Actually, the more unfit you are, the higher a success rate you’ll have at not getting knocked in the face with altitude sickness. Fat/Tubby/Chubby/Unfit folks move SLOWER than fit/fast/gym-bunnies, and, when it comes to altitude, the slower the better. So WIN-WIN-WIN for people who like food.

Now, realistically, if you’ve been sitting at your computer for the last 4 years, and haven’t moved much at all, you’ll need to train or dance, or dance and train. But? Do it. It’s worth it.  Moderate walks are adequate training. There was one day where we hiked for 8 hours. That’s a lot of hiking, but again, they allow a lot of time for the distance, so even if you’re last solider, no worries! 

Stairs are good too for training, I did no training, however, as I figured the running would be sufficient, and it was.  And, because I don’t want to get sued for this, of course, “see your doctor to confirm you can do it.”

And… no, I did nothing to train for altitude.

Am I too old?

Pssh. No.  Promise.  There was a guy in my group who was 54, he was in super-duper-great-shape, so I won’t use him as my example, but instead the other “old people tour groups” I saw.  The two groups I recommended above are for 20-something to mid-30 something people. BUT BUT BUT, there are LOTS AND LOTS of older-retired-living-the-high-life groups who will take YOU to Everest’s Base Camp.

I thought they were all so incredible too. We’re talking 70+ years here folks. I’m sure they trained with walking and stairs too, but still, if they can do it, you can too!

I may actually do it again at some point with my mom. If I do it then, I’ll make sure to do a 20+ day tour for her (she is 60), just to acclimatize better and be able to move slower.

Altitude Sickness?

It’s a bitch, I won’t deny that, and something that occurs on an individual basis. Every person, every situation, is different.  You can get altitude medication, which I took, but really you have to take a chance and hope for the best.  The best cure is water-water-water - we were drinking about 4 liters of water a day. When I dropped it to 2 I got a migraine. I think it’s worth the risk though… but again, every case is different. Respective climbers will get it, and amateurs like me, won’t.

Let’s talk toilets and showers, shall we?

Oh me, oh my! If you were to ask any person on the tour they’d without a doubt say I had the biggest issues with the wonderful “toilets” (if we can even call them that).  So I purposefully did NOT research this before I went, as I knew I’d be terrified if I did.  But, now looking back on it, what did I expect? I was up in the Himalayas! sacrifices of pretty, white, porcelain toilets had to be made. Am I right? Or am I right? Most of the toilets were shed-type situations that were holes (squatters baby!), which terrified me, but eventually, I was forced (when my bladder was about to pop) to get used to it. Seriously (and yes, this is TMI) the first day I managed to pee in one, my group sang and danced for me as it was such a big deal.

And then there was the showers, or, lack there of. Firstly, I am not the needs-to-shower-everyday-type-of-gal, and actually, my hair does well when it’s dirty (stop looking at me differently, yo), so it didn’t bother me that much, especially as every morning we got warm “washing water” in a bowl for our faces, and I took copious amounts of sanitary towelette things, which worked their powers.  You can buy showers, however, and on day 6 I did… because a lady can only go so long being smelly.  However, the guys I was with had a competition who could go the longest without showering. Yes, it was disgusting and gross and they all did the full 16 days.

But please, don’t let these two points stop you from going. Minor details people, minor details.

So… where ya get your super COOL sunglasses and/or super COOL hat?

People asked this, I swear! So…

Sunglasses = Claire’s. I know, I know, but really, they are awesome and cheap and awesome, and by the end of the trip everyone and their mother was looking the other way when I took my usual “reflection” photos. But whatever, the embarrassment was sooooo worth it.

My hat, which I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE, I sadly can’t tell you where, as my dear mom knitted it for me. I love it and have it in several colours. :)

More questions? Ask in the comments and god (ie. me, lover-of-all-things-food,-yet-runs-marathons-and-goes-to-BC ) will answer! :)

November 21st, 2011
55 notes ·

Base Camp, Mount Everest – Part II

~ Click here for Base Camp, Mount Everest - Part I

~ Click here to view all my Base Camp, Mount Everest Photos ~

~ The following is typed out from my journal ~

October 13, 2011 —> Tengboche, Elevation: 3,870m/12,696ft

Good day. Amazing day. I lie in bed as I write this with thee Mr. Mount Everest himself out my window, tears in my eyes from laughing with Natalie, my Australian roommate. We hiked for 3 hours today, only moving another 100 meters into the air, putting us close to the half way mark of Mt. Everest’s summit (8,848 meters (29,029 ft)).  The beauty of the land constantly stops me, makes me stand still for a moment, makes me realize how impressive this Earth is.  If I could only capture what’s outside my window, in some sort of time capsule, as it’s sad to think the tourist game will soon take over this place, leaving its pollution behind. But. But the local life here depends on tourists, they need us, and my guide today told me Nepal will never limit the number of people allowed to hike here as they want the money too much. Sad.

Damian (Australian) and I went for a walk this afternoon, we sat perched on a rock, me between his legs looking out over the little town we’re staying in. 360 degree views of mountain peaks. Including Everest.  Then the sun slipped behind a mountain, and the clouds rolled in, and we just sat there, together, in silence. It was SO beautiful.

Damian. What is there to say about Damian? He’s 34, large, blue eyes, long lashes, stubble that I can’t stop touching, ear spacers, rocker/punk/different-than-me style, and piercings. All signs point to Not-My-Type, but there is something about him that infatuates me.  I remember seeing him that first day, before even talking to him, and thinking, “oh shit, he’s going to be trouble.” And he is.

He comes from such a different world than the manufactured, step-by-step, do-as-I-say, world I come from.   He’s a drummer in a band in Australia. Music is his life.  I am the most unmusical person I know.  Sometimes he sings to me, I feel more awkward than anything when that happens, and end up smiling too big for my own good. He’s obsessed with my smile. He tells me that the whole time, which in turn makes me smile.  There’s something about the way he looks at me too. Like, he knows me better than he should. Or something. I don’t know.  But our lives, they’re just so different.  At 19 he got a 16 year old girl pregnant, which yes, means he has a 14 year old son. I was so not prepared to hear that. He only told me because I was chattering away to Steph about how I wouldn’t date a guy with kids…. File under: that was awkward times. 

But it’s his optimism about everything that truly intrigues me.  I’ve never met someone who is as positive as him, and then hearing his life story, which isn’t mine to write about, but literally involves sex, drugs, rock and roll, and jails, is like a movie, or something, I don’t know. There is just something about him… infatuation, I suppose.

Also, and this sucks, I can tell he likes me more than I like him.  His words, the way he looks at me, his long term plans… I am not there.  My head is swirling at the moment.  I also keep thinking about Rob… like, a lot, like, too much. Ugh. I am so confused. I came to Everest to see something, do something purely for me… and despite writing about boys, I’m still thinking like that. This trip is about me, and accomplishing something on my own – not with a boy holding my hand. Hmmm, I don’t know.  I hate letting people down, and I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  I hope he’s just caught in the moment, caught in the magic of being in the Himalayas.

Anywho, I am so tired. Tomorrow we’re heading above the tree line! I’ve never been above the tree line before, I’m a little nervous about the whole peeing-behind-invisible-trees thing… we shall see! Night Dear Diary, Sleep well

October 14, 2011 —> Kenjuma, Elevation: 3,870m

~ No Entry ~

 October 15, 2011 —> Dingboche, Elevation: 3,860m/12,664ft

4,358 meters above sea level.  Unless you’ve experienced being his high into the sky, I’m not sure words could transcend what it feels like.  I find myself out of breath from rearranging in my sleeping bag, brushing my teeth, going to the washroom, or….. ummm, this is awkward, Dear Diary, making out.  

I now sit in a tiny town in the Himalayas called Dingboche. It’s our acclimatization day, which means this morning we did a two hour hike, which took me to 4,700 meters. I was scared going into the hike, as yesterday I (hence the lack of writing) got my first glimpse into altitude sickness (headache, nausea, fatigue). It sucked, but Damo and I took a nap in his bed, which slightly helped - just being warm in the dark. It’s freezing here. The moment the sun disappears the temperature plummets. I feel like I’m always cold.

During our 5 hour hike yesterday to this little town, Damo gave me a piece of paper folded up, on the front it read, “The Beauty in You!”  He told me to find a quiet moment to read it.  It was a poem he had written me the night before. And so, somewhere alone in the Himalayas, I read it:

Beauty in You

As the sunrises, giving life to the Earth
We see all that is beautiful, for all that it’s worth

As the rain falls over fresh green fields

We sow the crops that our labour yields
Dolphins play in the ocean spray
While birds flock night and day

There is beautiful in this I swear it’s true
Like snow capped mountains in full view.
But the greatest beautiful through and through
Is the beauty that’s inside of you!

I keep being in awe of myself that I’m here, that I decided to do this, and then actually did it. That this is my life. I’m not naïve enough to say that life is about only experiencing everything like this, because at some point, no matter what, real life will catch up with you, but I believe in balance, and taking moments to experience the world we call home, because the beauty and yes, lame alert, the magic this world has to offer is truly incredible.  The Himalayas are INCREDIBLE.

October 16, 2011 —> Lobuche, Elevation: 4,930m/16,174ft

Damo sits to my left, hand on my knee, as I write this.  He definitely likes me more than I like him. He’s never seen me with make up on, my hair done, or umm, well, even showered, yet through the days he tells me how beautiful I am. Constantly. It’s flattering. I say thank you and smile, and he’ll kiss me gently. It’s the little, light kisses, that are my favourite. But I am worried. He is falling. Falling for me. But I am here for me. Not him. He is not my priority. Not what makes me excited to get out of bed each morning. He makes me smile, but the scenery makes me smile more. He speaks about me visiting him in Australia. Watching his band play.  We are living in a fantasy world. I am aware of this, I hope he is too.

October 17, 2011 —> Base Camp, Everest, 5,380m/17,650ft

~ No Entry ~

October 18, 2011 —> Lobuche 4,930m/16,174ft

Finding time to write has been hard. Fatigue and exhaustion has set into my body, everybody’s bodies, we’re all so tired, the whole, damn, time. It’s also really cold here, and due to my craptacular planning skills, my sleeping bag isn’t warm enough.  I’m lucky if I get a few hours of sleep.  But yea, point is, I’m writing a lot less these days, although I don’t mind that too much, actually, I find it’s sometimes easier to put things into words after the fact…  

Yesterday, October 17, 2011 I made it to Base Camp, Mount Everest.

It was without a doubt the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I have ever done.  It was breath taking (literally and figuratively) and something I will never forget. As my mom said, no one will ever be able to take this experience away from me. No one. Until the day I die, I, Liz, will be able to say I hiked to Base Camp, Mount Everest. Pretty cool, eh? (note to self: stop saying “eh” as the Australians are really on my case for it).

We arrived at Base Camp at the end of an 8 hour hike. I was exhausted, tired, and cold, but as one can imagine, arriving at the foot of Everest, 5,364 meters above sea level, nothing else seemed to matter. Hugs, kisses, high-fives, and congratulations were given to all. Then suddenly our head Sherpa (Luckpa) whipped out some delicious hot lemon tea and baby cookies. I was in heaven! It took our group 7 days of constant hiking, moving us only 65km from our starting point, but we did it! All 17 of us, we did it!  I did it! Me! I’m still on a high from the moment, and am craving the Internet to share the news with my mom, the true reason I’m here. So amazing.

I want to write more about the experience, yell to the world how lucky I am, but once again I know silly, little, words in my diary won’t be able to convey the experience, so I’ll just be incredibly lame here and quote the movie The Beach,

Paradise, it’s not some place you can look for, ‘cause it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and if you find that moment… it lasts forever…

That was Mt. Everest for me.


Mount Everest isn’t the most photogenic mountain the world has to offer, actually, it’s incredibly hard to photograph (it’s the dark, black (with little snow) mountain in my photos) and despite what most people think, you can’t actually see Everest from Base Camp – as there are two shorter (1km shorter) mountains in your way, which means most people who head to Base Camp, will the next day head another 300 meters into the air, to a lookout spot called Kala Patthar 5,643m/18,513ft which is were you actually get to see Everest, up close and personal.

We did that this morning.

The sherpas knocked on our doors as the clock struck 4:30am, “wakey-wakey,” with the usual hot tea.  All 17 of us were exhausted, but stumbled out of our sleeping bags, and into as many layers as we could stuff under our down jackets.  It was cold. So cold. I am from Canada. I have felt -30 degrees before. This felt colder (ed note: It was apparently  only -7, but felt bloody freezing).  But each of us started the 300 meter trek from Lobuche to Kala Patthar to watch the sunrise over Everest and all its neighboring mountains.

This. Heading nearly vertical at 4:30am, in freezing conditions, took my body to its absolute peak.  I was the slowest by far, and on the verge of collapsing the whole time.  It was so hard, I couldn’t possibility even remember it properly to translate it into words.

Then, at 6:30am, less than 50 meters from the top, and still, in my opinion, “seeing Everest at sunrise,” I (and 6 others) called it quits. The altitude had taken its affects. Each breath of air was a painful struggle to find, I was legitimately worried about losing my toes and/or fingers.  The other people on the trip claim it was their highlight, making it to the top, and I so wish I could have joined them, but pushing through wasn’t an option for me, I had hit my physical peak. Enough was enough. I was ready to go down.

To put things in perspective when people summit Mt. Everest they go another 3km into the air. ANOTHER 3KM!! That’s so insane to me, I have so much respect for anyone who has gone past Base Camp, the extreme conditions truly are not meant for human beings.


Live-Liz Now :)

So yup, those are just some entries from the good old leather diary.  I wrote every day on the descend too, but won’t publish it.  Damo and I parted ways in Kathmandu, but him, along with the other 15 people and I all remain friends (and nothing more. Re: Damo, although he truly is a very good person, and taught me a lot about living in the moment, turns out friendship was in the cards for us. And besides, I have my eye on another boy now :)).

It was an incredible thing we all did together, and I have no doubt most of the friendships will last my lifetime. And, of course, the spectacular memories.  

November 14th, 2011
80 notes ·

~ Random Photo Monday: Nepal ~

November 11th, 2011
66 notes ·

My friend planking at 5,235 meters. Beat that. 

One of my favourite photos from my Mount Everest trek. 

November 5th, 2011
85 notes ·

Base Camp, Mount Everest – Part I

I sit here trying to find the words to describe the experience, but truly, there are none.  Like I said here, the entire month meant more to me than words or photos could attempt to express. But as always, I’ll try… 

I was so nervous walking towards my group the first day.  I saw them sitting in a circle on the lawn of our hotel, with an empty chair on the far side. An empty chair for me. Terrifying.  Meeting a lot of new people is always scary. 

Hi, I’m Liz. From Canada.

There were 17 of us a total, a relatively large group, but within moments of meeting everyone I knew we’d all get along. After all, we all already had something huge in common; we were all in Nepal, away from our real lives, and about to hike to Base Camp, Mount Everest.

I’ve never been scared of flying, actually, I usually embrace a little turbulence as a fun side effect to flying, but flying into Lukla airport, declared the “world’s deadliest (as in number of deaths) airport” in 2010 was absolutely terrifying. The runway is 450 meters long, 20 meters wide and on a steep 12 degree angle. (video of landing here). It was scary. Super scary. And an experience I’ll never forget. 

~ The following is copied out from my hand written journal that I wrote in every day. It’s quite personal. ~

October 9th, 2011 --> Kathmandu, Elevation: 1,400 meters. 

I’m currently waiting at the airport in Kathmandu, on route to Lukla, the town we’ll starting hiking to Base Camp from. The last few days have been something I’ll never forget - for lack of a better word, it was is insane. A different world only known to me before through movies and television, but until you’re standing in the street, surrounded by the hustle of Napoli life, it’s really impossible to truly imagine.  I feared for my life in my taxi from the airport as it darted amongst motor bikes, scooters, bikes, pedestrians, dogs and then cows taking naps in the road.  There was no distinction between either side of the road, no traffic lights, no stop signs. No rules.

The pleaing eyes of a woman with her new born baby are still sketched into my memory, and the vision of a man washing his baby in a puddle will forever remain with me…

And now I wait, here at the airport, on route for the Himalayas.  There are 17 of us total: 3 Canadians, 3 Britts, 2 Swiss, and 9 Australians. A good group, it appears, from where I sit, the ages range from 23 to 48. 9 males, 8 female.

Boarding now…

October 9th, 2011 --> Phakding Elevation: 2,652 meters.

3 hours of hiking later, I sit in my sleeping bag, ready for bed. I’ve already concluded no photo can do this world justice.  The depth of the mountains, and the snow-capped peaks on all the horizons truly has made me stop and get lost in every moment. Embarrassingly I think I uttered the words “oh my God,” more times than one ever should, which has lead to me being proclaimed “the girl” one of the group, but oddly enough I realized today only two of the girls on the trip aren’t wearing makeup.  Myself included.  (Woot!) What you see, is what you get when it comes to me, and bring on the showerless days, as I’m sure they will be abundant.  

And Dear Diary, I must be truthful too. There is a boy here I like. Well, I should say captured my attention.  He’s not my type in the slightest, we’re talking tattoos, piercings, ear spacers, and he’s a drummer in a band in Melbourne.  See? Not my usual suit boy. But he seems different. Lighthearted, funny and fun.  He sat next to me tonight at dinner and I’m nearly certain I saw him purposefully place himself there. Hmmm. I don’t know.  I hate how I’m even writing about him, as here I am, a world away from my regular boy-crazy world, writing about a guy(!). For shame! And on that note I am off to sleep, as tomorrow we hike for over 8 hours.


October 10, 2011 – Namche Bazaar, Elevation: 3,440 meters

Eight hours of walking (my. feet. hurt), a hot Australian boy (who I am THISCERTAIN likes me(!!)) and breathtaking (literally, I’m starting to feel the high altitude levels) views later, I find myself in Namache Bazaar - the largest mountain town we’ll encounter throughout this trip.  We have an acclimatization day tomorrow, which will be eagerly welcomed after 8 hours of hiking up rather strenuous hills mountains.

Today also marks exactly one year from the Chicago marathon. The day my life changed forever.  Corny? Of course. True? Absolutely. October 10, 2010 will always hold such a special place in my heart.  I crossed the finish line after a 42.2 kilometer (26.2 mile) run, accomplishing a goal I never a year before had thought in the realm of possibility for my life.

An now, one year later, I sit here and write this as tears fill my eyes, and am in awe of the faith I have in myself. I wanted to run a marathon. So I did (actually three). I wanted to go to Base Camp, Mt. Everest, so I am. I wanted to travel the world, see new places, so I’m going to. I have no intention of dying anytime soon, but I suppose if I did (knock. on. wood), at this stage in my life, I’d be rather content with the life I lived. I’ve tried hard to be the best person I can be, and live the life I want. I think I am. I realize, Dear Diary, how lucky I am to say that. And then believe that.

Someone (hint: hot Australian) told me today that where someone is, at this very moment in their lives, is because of a combination of decisions they’ve made. It’s not by chance. It’s not by accident. It’s people taking themselves to where they want to go (that we manifest…). I often forget this, and pass off all the cool things I’ve done to chance, but the truth is I did it. All of it. I decided to do it, then I did it. 

Today, one year after the Chicago Marathon, and a hard hike through the Himalayas, I can finally see how far I’ve come, how I’ve changed, and how I’ve moved from someone who didn’t believe she was worth anything, to someone who thinks nothing can really stop her.  Anything is possible now…  anthing.

October 11, 2011 – Namche Bazaar, Elevation: 3,440 meters

This morning we woke up at 5:30 am to watch the sunrise over the mountains and get our first peak of Mr. Everest. It was only a 15 minute walk to the lookout, but I was more tired than the end of a marathon by the time I reached the top. However, it was more than worth it – watching the morning sun hit the snow capped peaks of Everest was beautiful.

Then after a 4 hour up-then-down hike to acclimatize, the day was ours, and I spent it with Damion. He’s different from anyone I’ve ever met.  The most positive, enthusiastic, glass-half-full person I’ve ever encountered. He’s actually sitting next to me as I write this.  Writing in his own diary, however, I’m certain he only told me he writes to spend time with me. Or it’s all in my head and I’m just looking way too into everything….

His story is incredible too. Every day I learn a little bit more about him, and am more fascinated with his life. Today I heard where his enthusiasm for life comes from, which I don’t have time to write about now as he’s just offered to give me a massage (!! See? I think he likes me…. I mean c’mon).

The people you meet while traveling, the strangers you come across, they create your experiences, touch your life, become a part of you… 

October 12, 2011 —> Kenjuma, Elevation: 3,870m

AM: Remember that time the Australian and I stayed up late talking/writing, then after some “back massages,” and a hand hold (yes, we’re in grade school again), we made out like two make out bandits in the Himalayas? We had just finished brushing our teeth and he ‘pushed’ me against the wall, ready to kiss me, but then didn’t, so, wait for it… I kissed him. And then we made out. At 3,500 meters, we kissed. I then slipped into my sleeping and despite feeling stupid, couldn’t take the grin off my face. Damo’s nice. So nice. And hot. So hot. So me thinks the next weeks are gonna be funnnnn.

Today we hiked for only about 3 hours and then reached this tiny town called Kenjuma, our home for the night. What a different way of life. So much harder in so many ways, but also so much simpler. I appreciate being born where I was born, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing to say, but I do. I consider myself lucky. So lucky.


PM: Majestic.  I’ve never used that word before, I suppose I never really felt the need to, but tonight, as I write this, it’s the only word that comes to mind with my surroundings. The mountains’ snow capped peaks are lit up by the moon (the moon!) and I’ve never seen stars as big or bright as the ones in the night sky. 

Also, I saw a quote today, up in a small mountain town, it made me think so much. Especially how I’m in the middle of no where, and someone thought to put this quote up.  Food and weight casts its spell on people all over the world. 

Eating food is a necessity. Eat well is an art. 

Ohhh, and! Damo and I have kept ourselves a secret, which is actually quite fun, or at least, so we thought… Simon, one of the guys from Australia apparently asked him, “so? Are you moving to Canada?” as he had picked up on the flirting. Fail. I really thought we were being sneaky.  We usually stay up late after everyone has gone to bed to spend time together. I find him so fascinating.  His life and mine are the complete opposites. To say Damo is a “bad boy,” would be a massive understatement too, as I think his criminal record could go from my finger tips, to my shoulders. On both arms.  Tonight he also somewhat dropped a bomb on me.  He’s 34. He has a 14 year old son.  Umm what. But yes.  He had overheard me talking to Steph, and saying, “I would never date anyone with kids,” and then boom, he goes and tells me this.  He was 19. She was 16. The kid is now 14.  That scared me a lot. I didn’t know what to say. Like, at all. 

But his eyes. And lashes. His smile. I’m just so amazed by him. 



Part II - I’ll post when I find a moment. 

Full Mount Everest Photos Found Here 

November 5th, 2011
52 notes ·

Base Camp, Mt. Everest Video. 

October 28th, 2011
54 notes ·

Smile Friday! I’m soooooooo still not over this edition.

Video of me getting it done here!

October 26th, 2011
277 notes ·
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.
 Bob Moawad
October 26th, 2011
115 notes ·

Today is “travel admin” day.  I’m the last of my friends left in Nepal… left at the Hyatt. It’s true, I’m being *that* traveler right now.  We all were for the last few days. “Treating ourselves” after living with no power, no hot water, no mattresses, no showers, for nearly 3 weeks.  We were those people who travel to extraordinary places, yet then curl up to our regular north American luxuries. And it’s been weird being here. I won’t lie.

Weird to see the above view every day. Every morning. Every night. While we’re sitting at tables feeling full, drinking from the open bar, laughing at each others jokes, we look out onto the city of Kathmandu, where a mere few days ago I walked the streets and was horrified at the poverty I saw.  It didn’t sit well with me. I felt guilty the entire time.

Traveling to Nepal made me realize how the simple act of me being born where I was, was the best luck I ever had.  I am lucky. And if you’re reading this, so are you. I don’t really know what else to say, just that I am so humbled and thankful by the life I was given, and I hope if you’re reading this, you are too. Because no matter how bad things are, I promise with all my being, that things could be worse. A lot, lot worse.

Welcome! I'm Liz, the girl relieved the Internet has 0 calories. South African by birth; Canadian on paper. A marathoner. CrossFitter. Paleo (somewhat) eater. Traveler. Cheese lover. And I think you're great!

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