In October 2014 I went to Nepal taking in the sites of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhuktapur, The Annapurna Massif and Chitwan National Park.
I begun the trip exploring Patan and Bhuktapur. Ancient areas of Nepal where the most traditional buildings, values and ways of life can be found. I was mesmerised by this beautiful country from the second I got there. The people are enchanting and friendly and the architecture is just absolutely stunning.
I couldn’t believe it when exploring the jungle of alleys in-between the houses in Patan (truth be known, I was very lost and getting a little bit worried I wouldn’t find my way out!) I stumbled across a printers, screen printing the most wonderful papers. I just couldn’t believe my luck, how this lost print designer found a fellow printer in Nepal! Just one of those memorable moments.
Other than exploring the major towns of Nepal my trip really evolved around the 4 day trek into the Annapurna foot hills, staying at the basic and wonderfully traditional tea houses along the route. From the moment our Gadventures group walked into the park the views were spectacular but the further we went in they just kept getting better! The route was undulating and at times really tough going; compared to my Kilimanjaro trek it was a walk in the park! But I hadn’t gone for a physical challenge but to simply explore.
The morning views had been fantastic throughout the trek, but on our final morning of the trek we woke up to the most spectacular view:
What a way to end our time in the mountains! The trip didn’t end there though as we set off for Chitwan National Park for a short safari tour.
I could write forever on my time in Nepal, the smells, sounds, views, culture, just everything about it is enchanting. My trip also signified a massive change in my life, it saw me quitting my full-time job as a Graphic Designer and stepping into the unknown world of self employment with my business ‘Tabitha Mary.’ A horrifically scary decision and step to make, but one I will never regret. I’ve had just the most fantastic year being self-employed and felt it was finally time to capture the place that focused my mind onto my new and exciting challenge ahead. The people I met there and sites I saw will never know how much they touched my life. I hope everyday that they are safe and well after the horrific natural disaster that struck in April 2015. The print captures that stunning view we woke up to on our last morning in the Annapurna National Park.
If you have trekked in Nepal then like my Kilimanjaro print I can personalise this print for you, just drop me an email email@example.com to find out more.
Most of you probably know that on new years day 2014 I summited the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro! It’s all I talked about for months before and months after!
So.. now, having not spoken about it for a good few months i’m going to self indulge a little but give you the background behind my print and why I pushed myself physically and mentally to reach the summit of Africa’s highest freestanding mountain.
The idea of doing something challenging stemmed from a big change in my life, i’d reached a big corner in my life and needed something to focus and work towards while I found my feet and a new life.
Several activities were considered; travelling around New Zealand being the most serious contender. But in the end I decided I needed a real adrenaline pumping challenge, something that would push me to my limits. Mt. Kilimanjaro it was!
After attending a welcome meeting in London with Action Challenge I was signed up and off! Training plan underway, fundraising page open, that was it! No turning back!
I decided to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research who helped my Grandma through her final few months with us, and Epilepsy Research UK who strive to find solutions and better medications for epilepsy suffers like my Brother. So 2 charities really close to my heart.
The training was going well, I hiked ALOT met loads of new people and friends and it soon came round to flying out to Africa.
The Action Challenge group:
were amazing! What a fab bunch of people and my new best friends for the next 6 days of climbing! Our support team of 77 porters (! YES 77!) were incredible! The organisation that goes into getting a group of us up the mountain is insane. Each guy had their own job and took pride in it. I’d chosen to hike with Action Challenge as they support the welfare and equal pay of the porters they use and its the best job for a local to have in Tanzania, they are treated and paid really well.
The hike started in the humid and hot jungle but by camp 1 we were already camping under the looming peak of the mountain. I’ll never forget the sunrise hitting the side of the summit each morning, turning it pink, purple and orange
Everyday of the hike saw a different landscape. Day 2 saw the land turn to big rocks and tough shrubbery. The altitude didn’t get too bad until about day 3 when we really started to notice the shortness of breath, headaches and other side effects!
For me the hike didn’t seem too bad until the morning of day 3, the Baranco wall! The Altitude was really beginning to affect me now, I had a really bad headache and felt quite dizzy. Not great when you have to free climb up a sheer drop wall! A stitch came into play half way up! I remember getting to the top and just thinking ‘how on earth am I going to reach the summit!?’ Day 3 was a REALLY long day, after the wall climb we hiked for 7 hours over mixed terrain and into an area that looked like Mars! Just rocks and dust! Was so weird. Until we got to base camp. The altitude was REALLY kicking in now, no appetite what so ever and sleeping was hard. Not that we had a chance too! We got 40 minutes to put our heads down before we were up again welcoming new years Eve by starting the ascent of the summit.
Imagine this… Pitch black, -8 degrees, only your head torch for light, plodding up a single track path like a herd of sheep for 6.5 hours! I tell you it does ALL sorts of crazy things to your mind! Everyone and I mean everyone went through 3 stages: Excitement, Tears and the grumps. All at varying stages! My tears came about 4am when I just felt SO exhausted, sick and my head felt like it would explode. I just lent on a rock and literally just wanted to go home! My friend Amanda (who had about an hour before gone through the same phase herself!) picked me up, said “don’t stop, you can do this tab” and that was it… off we went again, plodding….
At about 6am we saw the skyline show its first glimpse of sun rise. It was euphoria! I can’t tell you how that boosted us up the remainder of the summit. At 6.30am just in time for the sun rising we reached Stella Point, the first of Kilimanjaro’s summits. The atmosphere was incredible, everyone was crying, cheering, collapsing and just speechless that we’d done it! I video’d my feelings because I knew i’d forget (i’m not going to share it, because I look like a muppet!) but it’s incredible how the altitude gets you. I sound drunk! My words are slurred, i’m crying my eyes out and i’ve still got 45 minutes to hike to Uhuru, the highest point!
That final push was agony but so worth it. The sun was hot the view incredible…
After the euphoria, relief and celebrations of reaching the top (all be it in a drunken slurry, oxygen deprived state!) The reality of how we got down started becoming apparent…. I’d run out of water and we had a 4 hour descent ahead of us down the scree side that had now melted in the sunlight and was metre deep dust slide. It was awful!! What I would’ve paid to have been helicoptered off the side and taken home!
But we did it, got to base camp. Drank some water had an hours rest and then started a rather slow but long walk to our final camp before leaving the mountain.
And we wouldn’t have made it without these guys: The A Team:
I then flew onto Zanzibar for 7 days of R&R! Man did I need it!!
If you know someone who has climbed Kilimanjaro or have done yourself, share your story with me and receive 10% off a Kilimanjaro print order!
I could chat about it for hours! Truly a life changing experience. One I will never forget.
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