So I said I’d be going off the radar for a while then coming back with a bang… yet I’ve resurfaced with the title of an Iron Maiden song? It’s a number that has lyrics almost custom-built for the occasion…
Don’t want to be here
Somewhere I’d rather be
But when I get there
I might find it’s not for me
Don’t know what I want
Or where I want to be
Feeling more confused
The more the days go by
I guess it’s referring to the fact that this week I should have been arriving home after the expedition of a lifetime, putting my feet up with a slice of cake and a cup of coffee whilst relishing the simple things in life before making a start on my book. Talking of which- I’ve recently secured a publishing deal for it with Coventry House Publishing. It’s called ”One Mountain After Another”, it’s due out in late 2015. Judging by my current mountaineering track record, though, perhaps ”Mr Bean’s guide to climbing Everest” would be more pertinent…
But that was Plan A, and I made the mistake of not making a Plan B. Naively I hadn’t anticipated, after 15 months of fundraising, dedication and gruelling training, that something could go this badly wrong. Well, I’m learning more about the reality of high altitude mountaineering. In this instance, though, it wasn’t bad weather, illness or another understandable factor that led to the demise of the season, but a seemingly pointless political strife/power-grab where everyone lost out. This is the pivotal difference, but still, it’s not the end of the world.
Of course, after drowning in post-expedition blues those particular lyrics really hit home. I started to question who I was, what I wanted from life, and what was my purpose? Did I really want Everest? And as to ‘Don’t want to be here, somewhere I’d rather be’- well, the bittersweet irony came a fortnight later as I sat on the laptop searching for part-time work whilst wincing at a photo of Everest’s precipitous North face. I knew where I was meant to be right now, especially as the 15th/16th of May is historically one of the most common summit windows. But I wasn’t. This is where the ”more confused, the more the days go by” rings true.
The tragedy, or should I say tragedies, are now in the past and it’s not that I’m still submerged in a rut or pointing fingers. But as time goes by, the situation and the lessons learnt become ever more apparent. And the lyrics ”But when I get there, I might find it’s not for me”- well there’s always that risk. But Everest has a beautiful calling that just cannot be ignored or replaced- I need to experience this for myself. I’m not content with ‘just finding something else to do’. And yes, the mountain will always be there, but so will Jessica Ennis…
Since being home I decided to quit my University placements this year. Any opportunity to learn about yourself is never wasted. Everest taught me that my real purpose and passion in life, the one that felt right, is to give something back. The comments I had during this trip especially almost gave me the proof I needed, that my own ambitions and fundraising is inspiring people. To me, that’s bloody amazing. Even if it inspires just one person to make the most of their life and give something back, it’s a winner. It’s why I keep doing what I do- help people find their Everest in life. All I do stress, is that if their Everest happens to be Everest, they need to approach it in a responsible and pragmatic way. I’m also developing on my motivational speaking and trying to get the story out there as much as I can with a few gigs booked already.
Moving forward, as ever. I’m planning my ‘come back with a bang’ with a new project for 2014/2015, finishing with Everest again next year.
And I’ll finish on this awesome quote which sums it up nicely…
“So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.” George Mallory.