Archive for January, 2011

Trek to Nepal – 13 weeks away

Posted on January 30, 2011. Filed under: expectations, Inspired Adventures, Nepal trek, personal leadership, Plan Fundraising |

Another week has flown by and it has been a really interesting observation and opportunity for reflection. Every day really is important. If we do not take action every day and be mindful of our wider purpose on a daily basis then the days just get away from us. The days become weeks and they quickly become months. I have maintained my focus on exercise this past week and looking back feel really proud of myself because it would have been so very easy for this week to have slipped by without any physical effort.
And herein lies one of the reasons I am keen to raise money for Plan – because I and others like me in this country have the opportunity and environment to relax and to enjoy our first world living conditions.

Choice.

Yes I have made the choice to do something to help others. And like every choice there will be some benefits that I believe I will gain. There will be costs and trade offs to me having made this choice to go to Nepal – some of them quite personally significant, yet none so significant as the living conditions others experience as their norm. Some of my friends have made the choice to donate to my fundraising efforts and to make a difference.

I have been scheduling other commitments around my exercise and preparation – how lucky am I? To be able to do this is a luxury. It has not been easy yet so many people are not able to live easy lives. And as I keep saying and feeling – this effort and this trek is going to have a number of positive effects for me. These are what I am planning to share in my blog posts over the next couple of weeks to remind us all that there is a mutual benefit to be had when you step outside your comfort zzone and do something for someone else. The benefits may not be immediate however they are there especially if you look for them.

Perhaps most obviously is the opportunity to explore a country that has quite frankly held a high level of mystique for most of us. We have all read of and seen footage and images of assaults on Everest – and in fact many people have asked if I am going to base camp. No I am not. There is no way I am fit enough physically or emotionally to tackle that kind of effort let alone to tackle the great mountain herself. This does not diminish what I and the other 19 women will be doing, however it does put it into perspective.

Nepal is a small country with amazing geographic features and a public profile around the world. The weather conditions will be warm to hot in May when I am there which in some ways are more pleasant for trekking than rain – especially when you consider the amount of ascending and descending we will be doing on uneven surfaces – dry is better than wet. Part of me is assured that the challenge will not be too tough given that it is a group of 20 women going – not being disrespectful of women, more about the fact that if we were a group tackling the summit of Everest then the entry criteria would be tougher and higher than they are.

One benefit I am really excited about is the development of my meditation skills. It has been recommended to me that being able to meditate and find peace while hiking is an important success factor and so I am developing and honing skills that have previously been lower on my priority list. With Nepal just over 3 months away I am excited to be returning my focus to meditation. And of course it is something that will have huge benefits and payoffs before I go and after I return.

Well, I will post again next week and feel sure that there will be a continued emphasis on day by day effort. I will also include a focus on another of the benefits I expect because effort needs to be balanced with benefit or else it can become a grind rather than a joy.

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Trek to Nepal – 14 weeks to go

Posted on January 24, 2011. Filed under: Inspired Adventures, Nepal trek, personal leadership |

images of hiking in Nepal Another week has passed by and the countdown continues – relentlessly in many ways. This past week has been very busy work wise and I have pushed myself to maintain the exercise that is so necessary to a successful trek in May. I have found less hours to go walking and so I have focused on core stremgth and cardio work. Then the weekend arrived and I realised that two whole days of being at the Australian Open tennis was not going to be conducive to exercise.

What about my goal? What about balance I responded. And so I have had two full days with no exercise. The week ahead allows (or perhaps more correctly I have made it allow) more space for the exercise plan. This is the fourth week of my preparation – a time in many change plans when things can go awry and I wonder if it is because we all need a rest sometimes. A rest without giving up or going backwards. A brief respite that allows some focus and perspective on the bigger mission and goal. That’s certainly how I feel. Progress is still being made and I am pleased with myself, however the journey still lies ahead.

My physical fitness is progressing and I need to keep on keeping on with it.

My mental and emotional preparation has been more of a focus this week as I can focus on mindfulness while travelling and have even begun practising a mild meditation while walking. One tip I heard was to build the strength and ability to meditate while hiking as it will assist with those times when the body is struggling. My intent is to use this as a toool that will certainly be useful while in Nepal and will also be of great value in daily life especially with regard to stress management.

I have a book on meditation by Ian Gawler and it is proving helpful so far. The next couple of weeks will see a focus on physical and mental preparation. This journey is about building a framework and having the pieces of the puzzle come together. The blog will capture the pieces and I hope when I read back over it and reflect that it will also be a journey and guide for me – so I can see how far I have come and perhaps also learn a lesson from the approach. Reflection and mindfulness can only be of value and benefit from where I sit right now.

Keeping my eye on the end goal – that photo at the start of the blog is my online and onscreen reminder. I also have a picture taken in Nepal on my bedroom wall. Picturing how I am going to feel when I am there for myself is keeping me focused. Even when there are many distractions this goal remains constant. And that is something we all can manage – we can get busy with other things yet never distracted from our goal.

Another week closer and another week fitter than when I started.

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Trek to Nepal – 15 weeks to go

Posted on January 16, 2011. Filed under: Nepal trek, personal leadership |

Well the second week of physical preparation is over. It was very different to the first week which had me feeling really good on a number of fronts and feeling like lots of progress was being made – even though it was only a standard 7 day week. That degree of  “high” may be part of the reason for week two feeling a little bit average and in fact in some ways disappointing.

There was more work activity in week two including some interstate travel which meant that I had to be more planned and yet more flexible about my exercise program – not as much core strength work and long days of work and travel which made it hard to tackle physical exertion as well. Not having someone else to train with at any time during the week as also a big difference from week one and boy it had an impact. Destination Nepal

And yet at the same time I feel really proud of myself after this week: donations have started coming in and I am grateful to my contacts for their support of the cause and proud of myself for putting myself out there to ask for support. I am also proud of myself for keeping up the exercise even if I didn;t really feel like it and being able to adapt to the circumstances. For example I had a long day travelling interstate and working all day on Thursday so I went for a scenic walk at the end of the day and felt myself invigorated by being near the water and watching other people enjoying the lovely summer afternoon in the park. And I found a set of stone stairs that were steep and uneven and perfect so I went up and down them a couple of times to build some climbing and descent work into my walking.

Week one may have been about the physical benefits I am likely to gain from this adventure which makes week two about the mental benefits. The ability to set a goal and focus on it. That sense of pride and achievement when despite distractions and temptations progress is still made towards that goal. An element of being gentle with myself and accepting that every week will be different and that I may not be able to do everything to plan and accepting that while not letting go of the imperative to keep to the plan in some form.

As I head into week three I’m eager to discover what lies ahead – it is likely to be another week of challenges about travel and work around exercise although I find myself planning in the physical piece pretty quickly. It is said that it takes 30 days to make a habit and I am not there yet although feeling like I’ve made good progress.

My body does not seem to have changed yet although I stretched further today than I have so far and that has to be a good thing for core strength and I am managing the cardio workouts better than I thought I would – so the intensity is being upped from plan to make sure I do not get complacent! There is altitude and effort and teamwork ahead of me. My challenge this week is to make serious headway into the book on meditation that I am using as a method to deepen my skill and proficiency with meditation.

foundation of the trekAnd I am grateful for toenail polish as I’ve got one bruised nail already and some rough spots of skin. That is surely the evidence that I am at the start of my physical build up and that by the time of the trek in May I will be comfortable and able. Must give a recommendation to purchasing a set of specialised hiking socks – they have support and cushioning and feel completely amazing on the feet. I purchased from a good camping and hiking store – a bit expensive yet oh so worth it as you slide your feet into them and feel the support and comfort. An absolute essential for trekking and hiking. I can imagine how relieved I am going to feel when I push tired feet into them and feel that support and comfort.

And that’s a nice thought – every journey begins with the first step. Every journey no matter how long or short is made up of steps – the trick is to keep taking one step at a time and you’ll get there. Even the greatest adventure begins at the bottom – in my case the bottom of my body.

Roll on week three and the rest of the year ahead.

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Trek to Nepal – 16 weeks to go

Posted on January 9, 2011. Filed under: Inspired Adventures, Nepal trek |

Well the first week of my preparation and training is over – and I feel great! I am wondering if that is about the increased exercise I’ve been doing and all the resulting endorphins that are charging around my body. Or it could also be about being goal focused and having something specific to work toward always inspires me. Maybe it is the modifications to my diet – less alcohol, potato and pasta and more protein and salad. I also had a little bit of work downtime over Christmas too to recharge and refresh. Probably a combination of them all.

One thing I have done that I would recommend is contact someone you know who has done something like this before. I am fortunate enough to live in Bendigo and to know (albeit not all that well – yet) Linda Beilharz. Yes the lady who was named adventurer of the year in 2010 and who has walked to both north and south poles. A serious walk training buddy and she was kind enough to have me tag along on one of her light afternoon walks over a local area. Nepal trek training

The One Tree Hill area is peppered with walking tracks that wind around the tarred road giving access from Mandurang to Flora Hill and the university. It was a lovely day when Linda and I walked and we enjoyed a mix of on and off road hiking – as we went late in the day we were conscious of not breaking spider webs in the bush and so stuck to the road for most of the 90 minutes. Silly me forgot to wear my pedometer so I have no idea how far it was – only that it was hilly and steep in parts.

And that is a good tip about Nepal – when you ask a local porter what the day’s walk is going to be like they may well respond  “a little bit up” or down. That should not be taken literally as in there will be some ups and downs. You see the locals apply an average to the walk ahead so a little bit up means by the end of the day we will be at slightly higher altitude than we are this morning. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how hard, easy or steep the day ahead may be. I thought this was a very useful tip especially for the midset.

My training is blending walking and getting used to my hiking gear again with cardio and core strentgth work. In week 2 I aim to continue what I did in week one at a slightly higher intensity and add some step training. One day of the trek mentions climbing some fabulous stairs and the number of steps is more than 3000. So I thought it would be good to get the legs used to up and down steps.

Another tip for ladies hiking is to wear a skirt over trousers or thermals. That way when you “go” in the bush you don’t expose bare skin when downing trousers.

Nepal communityWeek 2 of preparation will maintain week one as best I can as it includes an interstate trip – this will be the test of my planning. How well I can maintain the physical conditioning needed with other demands on my time – including sleep!

It is all so exciting though: the benefits of being physically fitter are numerous, the mental preparation including meditation will be great too (I have not seriously attempted meditation before) and of course I am really looking forward to doing something to help other people.

And of course the fundraising component needs to kick off this week also. I have some plans in place although need some additional detail to turn the goal into a reality.

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Nepal Hiking May 1 to 16 2011

Posted on January 4, 2011. Filed under: Inspired Adventures, Nepal trek, Plan Fundraising |

Well I have done it now. I have committed to a fundraising trek in Nepal with Plan Australia and 19 other women. WE fly out on May 1st and return on the 15th so although it is a short trip it’s going to be an amazing journey.

Great scenery and hiking

 Why would I, a business woman in my early 40s decide to go to Nepal?

 Good question. Some might say it is an impulsive move however I have been talking about hiking in Nepal and doing the Milford Track in New Zealand for several years now. They have been ideas, dreams even that have never managed to take shape or translate into action.

Until Now.

I received an email late in December asking what I was going to do in 2011 to make a difference. It was about a fundraiser being run by Plan Australia to help women and girls in Nepal – http://www.inspiredadventures.com.au/plan/ – and I decided that it would be a fantastic idea for me to do it. The trekking part is 5 days and there is a physical challenge to get fit as well as a fundraising component to raise money to help others.

Both of those challenges appealed strongly to me. And so I signed up.

This blog will be updated periodically to update my progress as I get fit – I have started walking 5-6km every day and will increase that, along with my cardio fitness and core strength. There is work to be done building a plan to raise money and it will be interesting to see how I go with that.

Nepal as a country has always been a drawcard for me – many say it stands for Never Ending Peace and Love because the people have the reputation of being friendly and peaceful. Even if they are poor the enduring image we all have is like the picture at the right.

This is not about making people financially wealthy because the appeal of Nepal and her people for me is their spirituality. And I do not believe that any amount of money can buy peace of the spirit or that deep inner contentment. It can however help fight disease, improve education and provide access to basic facilities that allow people to be more self determining. 

Part of me is excited and eager. Another part is wondering how I will cope with the altitude and being away from technology for 14 days. And I’m sure I will have access to technology – the question may be whether I want to!

Welcome to the beginning of my Nepal journey. For 5 days of hiking the preparation has begun already.

January 4 2011.

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