THE WEEKLY #315: LUKLA RESIDENT

This has been a tough week. It felt like the old days of solo travel but not fun or adventurous. Often when traveling solo you don’t necessarily feel alone but this week I’ve felt very isolated. After three days of being scanned, tested, and operated on in Kathmandu, I headed on a short flight to Lukla. A four-hour delay at Kathmandu airport would signal the start of an unlucky spell. When I arrived in Lukla, I was basically on standby to return heli-flight to Makalu Advanced Base Camp. The very next day, there was an opportunity that fell through. A client left the expedition and took a helicopter out but the helicopter didn’t depart from Lukla in the end due to weather and he caught a helicopter from the Makalu side. So, I waited in Lukla and waited. Unfortunately, I was at the mercy of the helicopter schedules. They were nonexistent for this period. That is just part of the situation as it was my issue had left the expedition and I was grateful for the company even to try and send me back, basically hitchhiking in an already chartered helicopter flight. However, with almost no communication and a number of false alarm promises of a ‘flight tomorrow’, I found myself disappointed daily. In the end, I packed up and checked out of my tea lodge a total of three times only to return with my tail between my legs to stay another night. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even sure how my head and gum infection would handle the higher altitude. I still had a mild headache in Kathmandu and Lukla. So, how would it deal with 5800m at the advanced base camp or even in the death zone? I was full of doubt and wondered if I should just call it a day on this adventure. I’m terrible at bailing on an idea, commitment, or expedition. That can be dangerous. I really hope I’m not hanging on to this one and pushing it too far. I guess I will try to reach the advanced base camp and then try a rotation to Camp 2 and see how I go. The other elements contributing to my lower-than-par state of mind are the lingering hamstring tendinopathy that has caused me a lot of pain on the Makalu Base Camp Trek. This makes it hard for me to plan anything beyond this adventure as I don’t know what it can handle. I’m tired of being injured all the time and feel like I live a life of constant rehabilitation. Basically, my current situation is out of my control as I wait and wait. In addition, my future situation also feels out of my control as an injury dictates what I can and can’t do. The final nail in the coffin is financial markets crashing as I watch quite a few investments significantly decrease. At the end of the day, my situation is not dire, not so dramatic, and not all that much to complain about in the big scheme of things. It’s always important to stop and remind one’s self of the scale of a problem or a situation. However, when I’m completely honest, it’s been a tough week mentally. Luckily my natural instinct is to never quit anything unless it is one hundred percent necessary or required. So here, we are waiting on an opportunity. The highlight of the week is that I’ve basically become a resident of Lukla and made a couple of cute friends. Namely, the young boy at the tea house here where I’m staying. Each day he comes down and hangs out with me until he gets in trouble.

THE WEEKLY #315: LUKLA RESIDENT

This has been a tough week. It felt like the old days of solo travel but not fun or adventurous. Often when traveling solo you don’t necessarily feel alone but this week I’ve felt very isolated.

After three days of being scanned, tested, and operated on in Kathmandu, I headed on a short flight to Lukla. A four-hour delay at Kathmandu airport would signal the start of an unlucky spell. When I arrived in Lukla, I was basically on standby to return heli-flight to Makalu Advanced Base Camp. The very next day, there was an opportunity that fell through. A client left the expedition and took a helicopter out but the helicopter didn’t depart from Lukla in the end due to weather and he caught a helicopter from the Makalu side.

So, I waited in Lukla and waited. Unfortunately, I was at the mercy of the helicopter schedules. They were nonexistent for this period. That is just part of the situation as it was my issue had left the expedition and I was grateful for the company even to try and send me back, basically hitchhiking in an already chartered helicopter flight. However, with almost no communication and a number of false alarm promises of a ‘flight tomorrow’, I found myself disappointed daily. In the end, I packed up and checked out of my tea lodge a total of three times only to return with my tail between my legs to stay another night.

To make matters worse, I wasn’t even sure how my head and gum infection would handle the higher altitude. I still had a mild headache in Kathmandu and Lukla. So, how would it deal with 5800m at the advanced base camp or even in the death zone? I was full of doubt and wondered if I should just call it a day on this adventure. I’m terrible at bailing on an idea, commitment, or expedition. That can be dangerous. I really hope I’m not hanging on to this one and pushing it too far. I guess I will try to reach the advanced base camp and then try a rotation to Camp 2 and see how I go.

The other elements contributing to my lower-than-par state of mind are the lingering hamstring tendinopathy that has caused me a lot of pain on the Makalu Base Camp Trek. This makes it hard for me to plan anything beyond this adventure as I don’t know what it can handle. I’m tired of being injured all the time and feel like I live a life of constant rehabilitation.

Basically, my current situation is out of my control as I wait and wait. In addition, my future situation also feels out of my control as an injury dictates what I can and can’t do. The final nail in the coffin is financial markets crashing as I watch quite a few investments significantly decrease. At the end of the day, my situation is not dire, not so dramatic, and not all that much to complain about in the big scheme of things.

It’s always important to stop and remind one’s self of the scale of a problem or a situation. However, when I’m completely honest, it’s been a tough week mentally. Luckily my natural instinct is to never quit anything unless it is one hundred percent necessary or required. So here, we are waiting on an opportunity.

The highlight of the week is that I’ve basically become a resident of Lukla and made a couple of cute friends. Namely, the young boy at the tea house here where I’m staying. Each day he comes down and hangs out with me until he gets in trouble.