My son Ollie seems to have caught the infectious wander bug surprising me when he wrote saying he’d come and trek to the basecamp of the worlds’ highest mountain with me.
You see, I had him pegged as a water kid like Marni and envisioned his life to flow with the currents to all the world’s best diving locations. It was nice to know that he hankered back to his mountain roots occasionally and wanted to see what the old man got up to in his line of work. Turning up to Kathmandu with a bag full of dive gear having not worn shoes for 6 months didn’t seem to faze him. He was doing as we have instilled. Going with the wind, saying yes to opportunities and figuring out the rest out later!
The beautiful thing about him coming along was that he reopened my eyes as to how utterly stunning this trek is. That’s not to say I had become complacent, it’s more that his enthusiasm for the things he saw and people he met brought an unexpected gusto to the sensory overload that this trek already is. Seeing things through the eyes of a young man fresh to the wonders of Nepal and the craziness of life lived at its most real was a special treat indeed.
For Ollie life is what it should be, a thing to be wondered at and enjoyed, and his enthusiasm rubbed off on many people; Sherpa who I have known for years greeted me with “you must be Ollie’s dad!”, trekkers high-fived him and on more than one occasion a girl’s eyes would spark.
To see an amazing trek such as EBC from his perspective is to savour the incredible diversity and uniqueness of this great country afresh.
The millions of prayer flags spanning over a pass. The humbleness of a monk at prayer, Sherpani girls giggling, the excitement of dodging a herd of yaks storming down a hill, balancing along a path barely clinging to a cliff above a steep gorge, and waking after spending a bitterly cold night on the summit of Kala Pattar in a bivyy bag having watched the sunset over Mount Everest. Hearing enormous avalanches thunder down Khundi peak, the wonders of the surreally sculpted Khumbu ice-fall, gaining an understanding of reincarnation, drinking chang at the legendary Danphe’s bar in Namche and trying to lift a porter’s load and warming your hands in front of the pot-belly stove of a teahouse toped and tailed with the bustle of Kathmandu.
The wonders of this trek are timeless and continue to inspire.
I am glad to have seen it afresh and will take this energetic and spirited energy with me on my next gig. Who knows what wonders await.