Everest Base Camp The Journey

How I decided to do Everest Base Camp

Imagine Dragons : West Coast


A few days after dreaming of the tiger and understanding that I would be going to Nepal, I remember waking up feeling energize (I love that feeling but it’s a bit addictive!). I remember being in my kitchen and having this thought who was like a shooting star 💫 that came out of what seems like no where. Suddenly I thought;

– If I go to Nepal maybe I could go to Everest Base Camp?

That thought came in and out so quickly almost like if you had flash my mind with the idea.

I laugh (yes I laugh by myself that happens… more and more often actually! haha). I laugh because there was no way I could do something like that. I had not train nor hike. I smile for a second while holding my warm coffee mug and thought ‘can you imagine Val’. ‘Can you imagine if you would do that’. ‘You could achieve anything after such an accomplishment’.

The rest of my morning I felt like I was surfing that positive energy wave that the idea of Everest Base Camp had left in my mind and body.

But being a ‘human being’ I started to do what most of us do: I started to rationalize everything and talk myself out of it. The reasons for not considering Everest were pretty easy to find.

– I had no gear (I had no hiking boots, I had no poles, I had no idea really what I needed).

– I don’t hike! (I had done an afternoon hike 4 months prior with a friend).

– I had never done in my life a hiking trip. I had never done trekking that required overnight stay.

– I had no idea of the altitude sickness stuff and how it worked. This stuff actually caused me anxiety in the past just thinking about hiking and lacking oxygen!

Anyways slowly slowly my head rationalized, analyzed and slowly I could feel that high energy fading away.

A few days pass and I did not give Everest any more thought. I had convince myself that my lack of hiking experience would alone be a reason to step out of this crazy idea. After all Val ’you have to stay safe and this is not safe I told myself. There is so much you don’t know’.

I remember it was Saturday morning, a few days after my Everest Base Camp (silly!) idea. I had became so good over the years at pushing away ideas that were not ‘logical’ that Everest already seemed like a vague memory. So Saturday morning I called my good friend Ed who as been to Nepal before.

Ed is a friend, a mentor, a big brother, a dad, a wonderful person (knowing what I know now I can now say that all this time he was one of my spiritual teacher without knowing that he was).

So I called him to announce him that I was going to Nepal! He was excited for me. (Don’t you like people who get excited for you when you have great news! You just feel that they want what is best for you and are so happy to see you doing well and facing your own journey!).

So we talked. We talked about me going to Kopan Monastery for a Buddhist course and he informed me that that was where he went years ago. He recommended it. Sold I said! I will sign up today.

I don’t remember how it came on the subject but we started to talk about Everest Base Camp (EBC). Ed had done the trekking to EBC. He advise me of all the training and preparation he had done prior to do EBC. He sounded more serious. He admitted that EBC trekking without any prior training is not the best idea. My mind than told me; ‘See Val you have to stay safe you are not ready… you don’t know enough about hiking and altitude sickness’. Deep down I knew that he was also a reflection of my insecurities. Of my concern. I also knew that his advice was coming from a good place.

Once we were done talking his girlfriend, who I just adore, was excited after hearing the terms Kopan and Everest Base Camp and wanted the phone! I said bye to my dear friend to than switch from English speaking to French speaking conversation to chat with her! Without saying hi she said to me: You have to do Everest Base Camp. I burst out laughing and I said; Did you not just heard your boyfriend telling me the exact opposite? She said yes but don’t listen to him you will do fine. Go and do it!!! You have too! I said well maybe the next time I go to Nepal I will do it. I will be more ready. You know when you can feel someone rolling their eyes at you through the phone line! haha that’s exactly how it felt.

Oh MJ I thought don’t come and confuse me again!! haha! (But deep down I could feel she was awakening that inner energy that I had felt a few days ago while holding my coffee mug).

So I brought up all the arguments that had came up in my mind a few days prior and now these arguments were even approve by Ed so I felt pretty strong about them:

– I have no gear MJ. She said: come to Quebec city to our house it’s a 4 hour drive I will give you all my hiking gear!

– Euhhhh okay I said. Well I don’t hike MJ. I am not prepare. I am not in physical condition to do that. She said you ski, you run and you do CrossFit you will be fine. You are fit.

She was stopping all my arguments with such simplicity it was almost frustrating (the ego likes to make things heavy and complicated and she was responding so quickly and simply that my ego was just without words). She was convince I could do this and was slowly convincing my mind of it.

– So I said I have never done any overnight hiking trip. Who cares she said you can stay in tea houses on the way up.

– Well MJ I have no idea about altitude sickness and have never done that. I haven’t practice. She said it doesn’t matter. Some people are affected by it once and not the next. There is no consistency and you can’t practice that. She just finish with: Just go Val!

After we hung up the phone I felt mix emotions. MJ had for sure awaken that energy of adventure that I was missing but it was also cover by a thick layer of concern. The spontaneity of this idea was giving me energy but I could not follow through. Over the past years I unconsciously train myself to be more rational and logical and safe. But MJ sounded so sure that I could do it and part of me wanted to believe her since… since I did not have the confidence to believe it myself.

Getting ready for my trip:

I started to look for my backpack. Back in 2003 my friend and I had travel to Italy and Greece for 2 months. Just after I was done my probation as a paramedic in the city of Ottawa. I took off for 2 months with him. I don’t think I had seen that backpack since. Did I sale it? I went through a few decluttering phases in the last years and I remember that backpack was always something I wasn’t using and just could not get raid of. But maybe I finally did sold it? I could not find it anywhere.

A few days went by and I had another flash and thought this backpack would be in my shed. And yes it was there! Hiding in another bag at the far end in my shed.

I remove the dust from that bag! I was so happy that I didn’t through it out. I felt like I was reconnecting with that part of me that use to like the unknown and be fuel by the adventure and the lack of preparation. The kind of adventure that you let yourself be guided by life and it’s many surprises. I felt good. I walked home holding my bag like a precious treasure. Almost like a kid who found a lost toy.

Over the next week or two I started gathering stuff that would most likely make it to my backpack. Not easy to select items that would become your only stuff for the next little while. But funny enough hiking gear items were not making it to that cut. I was getting busy selling my condo and selling almost everything that I own that Everest was still in the back of my mind but not a priority yet. I haven’t decided what I would be doing and was hoping that life would give me a hint.

Five days before living for Nepal I connected with one of my old work partner. We met for coffee. He had been to Nepal to hiked the Himalaya. We talked and catch up for a bit. To me he is like an older brother. You know he will always look out for you but from a distance. We talked about Nepal and we finally hit the Everest subject. He mention with a calm and reassurancing voice that I could do it. That I would be fine. I told him I did not know. You will be fine he said again.

Sometimes when you are in the process of growing or rebuilding yourself your mind needs to be reassure and hear that you can do it. You may need to hear it more than once and by different people. It is only because you lost part of yourself along the journey and until you reconnect with that inner confidence you need to be reassure by others and trust others of what you can actually do. Sometimes others remember more than you what you are capable of. What you are truly made of. It’s okay to hear it over and over again. It is like a seed that friends are planting and slowly it will grow. It is not a weakness.

(If you believe in someone who is hesitant to do something do not hesitate to tell them you believe in them. You just never know how powerful that statement may be for that person).

My friend than had to go to work because he was working night shift (and like a machine that he is he was going to the gym before a 12 hour night shift). I swear this man as always been a machine. A tough man inside out!

He got up and left on the Starbucks table a few Nepali bills. He said that’s what he had left from his trip and had kept it but that I could use it!

And from that exact second I knew I was going to go to Everest Base Camp.

He left and I did not have to tell him that I was now going to do it. Because he did not need a tiger sign to know that I could do it. But I still did.

I am so grateful that life sent me those friends my way! My confidence was on a vacation break but I was slowly making my way to find it again. I wanted to believe in my capacity the same way they believed in mine.

Sometimes people around you will know things before you do. If they are good friends trust them. But also listen to the sign. Gather all the information that life gives you and listen for that life wisdom. It will slowly awaken your own inner wisdom. You will know when you are right. And if you are not other signs will come up to correct you. You have to listen in order to be able to understand it’s language. Patience. Practice. Being uncertain of the signs at the beginning is not a bad thing. You build up trust and slowly start speaking a different language… a language without words. A language made of signs. The language of wisdom.

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