After the road map announcement last week, I saw a real difference in people’s outlook. The pretty sunrise the following morning was well timed too, with social media exploding with posts and stories of positivity. Having dates in the diary really gives people hope and something to look forward to, we're all ready to head off on our individual adventures and make memories again.
I spoke to Jodie the very next day and we talked excitedly about what plans we have for the future and also the adventures of the past and where, really, this all began.
So, let me take you back to 2016. Jodie, myself and our good friend Lindsey were all going through difficult changes in our lives and decided to book an adventure of a lifetime to Nepal, trekking to Everest Base Camp. It gave us a focus in our lives and something to look forward to, it's also where we forged our close friendship. Flights were booked for November 2017 which gave us a year to save for the trip, buy equipment and get fit! That year was filled with weekends away (when we were child-free), day trips and, if we had a spare hour in the day, a lot of local walks. We even started pilates and going to the gym, which was new for all of us as we had never made time for ourselves before. The whole process, unknowingly at the time, helped us to grow individually and we all came back better people for it.
Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis, we did it all that year! We stayed in youth hostels, bell tents and caravans - some with showers and some with not! We made so many amazing memories on these mini adventures and it gave us a real opportunity to get to know each other too.
Time for Nepal. From start to finish it was an unforgettable adventure. Firstly, the flight from Oman to Kathmandu; the landing didn’t go to plan as one of the tyres on the landing gear had popped so we had to quickly learn the brace position! We finally arrived in Kathmandu and, even though it looks hectic, it was one of the most beautiful, interesting and safest places I’ve ever been to.
The night before meeting our team members we decided to have 'a couple of drinks' which obviously turned into a 4am finish, we literally felt like we were in our 20’s again and danced until the sun came up. Our first impressions to our team members and guide couldn't have been great, hung over British girls with our head in our hands! It provided a good laugh though. The next day, we set off on our adventure, hang over free, bodies rushing with adrenaline. We survived the infamous plane journey flying into Lukla airport, renowned to be the most dangerous in the world, and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
The trek was eleven days in total which included two acclimatisation days, which are necessary to avoid altitude sickness and so your bodies can adjust to the conditions. We also had time to bond with our team, which involved numerous amounts of card games and stories.
During the trek we walked through the most beautiful mountain villages and met some incredible Nepalese people, all with beaming smiles on their faces - they were so welcoming. On route we stopped to visit a couple of temples too, which was a humbling and peaceful experience. At this point I have to mention the Sherpas and guides we had, they were amazing people and they looked after us from start to finish - with daily checks of blood pressure, oxygen levels and making sure we were eating and drinking enough too. We could not fault anything, we were in the safest hands.
One of our last stops before reaching Base Camp was a small village called Namche Bazaar, one of the highest villages in the world. We all had our first showers here, which sounds pretty disgusting but when the evenings came it was so cold and you were so tired that you happily settled for a wet wipe wash and layered up with more clothes. Namche also had an Irish pub, and even though we were told not to drink due to the altitude, we couldn’t resist one to celebrate how far we had come! Each day was different and challenged us mentally and physically. The day before Base Camp we could feel the temperature drop dramatically, which made it extremely difficult to function. We were sleeping in 'houses' that were no more than plywood boxes in temperatures of minus 8. Day 8 was Everest Base Camp day, Jodie wasn’t feeling great for a couple of days leading up to this day, but she insisted on carrying on and put it down to altitude - we were fortunate to have met a Dr from Birmingham who looked after her and kept a close eye on her too.
By mid morning, Jodie had no strength to walk, was being sick and even lost her sight - she got so bad she had to get an emergency helicopter to fly her back to a Kathmandu hospital where she stayed for four days on IV and god knows how many different tablets. She was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis, Giardia and mild frost bite to her fingertips. This was such a hard and emotional day leaving Jodie, she had done so well and it goes to show the fight and determination in her. Getting to Base Camp was a relief but we weren’t there for long as other groups started to turn up, so photos were taken and then we quickly headed back to our accommodation for dinner. After dinner we climbed up Kala Patthar to watch the sunset over Everest, it was like someone was pouring a pot of gold over it – literally breath taking and the highlight of my day. Walking back to Lukla took three days and was obviously a lot easier as we started getting more air in our lungs. There were ten of us in the group when we started the trek and six made it to Base Camp, it's not an easy walk and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
We returned to Kathmandu and seeing Jodie again was a great feeling, we were all back together. She had some funny stories to tell about her hospital experience and she was feeling so much better which lifted our spirits. We had one last meal with our team and then started the journey home.
When we returned back to the UK, we wanted to keep our adventures going and felt we needed things to look forward to. So, we booked our next trip to Morocco, but this time to do something completely different - a surf and yoga retreat in Taghazout. This is where I found my love for Yoga, something I still do daily, and Jodie found her love for surfing.
Jodie and her partner Shaun have already booked [fingers crossed] their next adventure, a surf trip to Nicaragua.
Myself? I'm not sure yet. But wherever it will be, it will be an adventure.