Plan Fundraising

Trek to Nepal – 11 weeks to go

Posted on February 15, 2011. Filed under: Inspired Adventures, leadership response, Nepal trek, personal leadership, Plan Fundraising |

Well another week has flown by. Still working on the plan – no pun intended (remember that this is a fundraising activity for Plan Australia). Getting more and more people saying how close it all is. And also receiving offers of support and help.

I guess that is really what this sort of trip is about – realising that there is only so much that you can do alone. Sure I am responsible for planning and my personal, physical and mental preparation. The support and encouragement of others is really important to that too. And the support of others in terms of financial support to help me reach the fundraising target is unquestioned. It is also the support of others who are encouraging and positive that really helps when you have a flat or platreau week. Those weeks two to three months out where it still feels far away yet not really and where the training has stabilised and is almost a routine of its own. That is really when the support of others kicks in significantly.

Support from others in offering to help set up and run fundraisers. There is only so much you can do on your own – especially if aiming to hold a large event. Other people have ideas about what to run and where to go and have experience from doing it before. So you learn from the experience of others and leap frog your own learning curve.

It also becomes reciprocal – if we share experience and lessons learned then we save others the same sort of pain and they are also encouraged and more likely to return the favour. That is what a community spirit is. When we are willing to share insights and information to help each other.

For me that is one of the essential elements aout Nepal. There is a sense and a spirit of community and sharing. It may be very different when I am there, however my knowledge and to some degree my expectation is that I will find and experience for myself a strong community. A group of people who are gentle and willing to help. No I don’t have to go to Nepal to find that – such support and encouragement is all around. I guess it is just not what first comes to mind when I think of Australia.

With less than three months to go, (and really close to two complete months because we are almost at the end of February) I am having some thoughts and possibly doubts about how ready I really am.  I am working on different things – still my cardio and strength are a big focus with some core work in there as well. The fundraising hurdles seem close and high yet I’ll get there. And that’s probably the theme for this post. Holding that internal unshakeable belief that I will do this, and do it well.

It’s also about variety – keeping a mix of things going (multitasking some would call that!) so that I avoid falling into boredom – a personal challenge – and also so that I am tracking progress on a number of different fronts. From a fitness perspective it is more than counting reps and assessing stamina – although those are important and still improving – it is also had me trying on old clothes that have been a bit tight and seeing how they fit again. Or wearing different tops and pants that I am once again happy to wear.

The next two weeks are occupied with speaking engagements and volunteer work so the training routine is going to need to vary. More core work and static fitness. It needs to be mixed up as gym fit is different to hiking fit. They are linked yet very different. When anyone is thinking of preparing for something I always encourage them to tyr the activity itself as that requires a specific set of fitness that is hard to gain from any other activity. Hence why my preparation is so varied.

Let’s hope it works – I’ll know in just over 11 weeks when I am there.

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Trek to Nepal – 12 weeks away

Posted on February 7, 2011. Filed under: command or control, expectations, leadership response, Nepal trek, personal leadership, Plan Fundraising |

What a difference a week makes! Suddenly an adventure that seemed so far away and with plenty of time to prepare for is just around the corner. In fact in some respects there are two complete months to go – given that we are one week into February.

Wow.

What a different perspective this creates. Perhaps not in my mind as much as in the minds and responses of others. This past week when speaking with people about the trek (especially related to my fundraising targets) the responses have exclusively been “wow that’s really close”. It has been a sudden and complete shift.

In my mind there are still many weeks to go and I am tracking well on my fitness and training goals, preparing the right equipment, having test runs of all of my gear within the next few weeks and keeping up with the timing of progress payments for travel costs and fundraising donations as well. Lots of things going on yet all weaving together to form a complete tapestry of what will be a trip of a lifetime. A trip that will benefit me, will benefit Plan and will benefit communities. A trip that will also connect some of my friends and colleagues – and people who do not know me that well – with Nepal and a passion for helping others as the thread that joins us.

And that is what has really struck me about this week: many things seem to have shifted. It is not just the reactions of others, my own actiity and focus this week also shifted. It has been really hard this week to fit in the physical training due to weather and work commitments  and so I have shifted my focus to my mental and emotional state. Lots of meditation work and mindfulness. Rather than being physically active I have been mentally aware and focused. And perhaps mentally aware of what I have not been doing before I was able to turn that into what I have been doing. Making the switch from physical to mental activity initially felt like I was doing nothing and that was disappointing. Then I realised what was happening – the focal point had shifted slightly. It is all still very related to being ready and capable of trekking in Nepal. Just different.

For me one of the challenges has been that very thing: keeping my mindset positive and not lapsing into a self deprecating dialogue of how I have allowed the training to slip and what sort of risk that now poses to my making the trek safely and effectively. Progress physically has been so far great. There are lots of things I have improved greatly over the past month and persistence has been one of the kesy. For me to have a week of difference was probably a timely reminder that this trek is going to be filled with the unexpected and unanticipated. It was also a stark reminder that this is as much a mental and emotional challenge as it will be a physical one. And emotional and mental control is something I pride myself on highly.

Control. There are only certain things we can control in life – the main one is our views and mindset or beliefs about something. That’s where my personal focus has been this past week. And it has been a very different experience. There are things I cannot control and need to accept that. As Maya Angelou said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

And I did – early in the week I realised I needed to change my attidtude. Actually it was closer to mid week. And as soon as I did so the change was startling. Letting go of that expectation and pressure allowed me to make better progress with what really needed to be done. For example, I was going to have fruit and yoghurt for breakfast this morning (as I usually do) when I realised that there was no can of fruit opened. Not planning to breakfast at home for most of this week I initially thought it was not worth opening a can and not wanting plain yoghurt that I would have toast. With homemade jam. And then it struck me: I have homemade jam because there is lots of fresh fruit in the house from my own backyard trees. And so I had fresh fruit with my yoghurt today.

A small example of how focus that becomes fixation is not healthy or helpful. So a little bit of letting go while still holding the bigger goal is the optimal way.

Self awareness is one level, the deeper levels are where I have been. A useful event I feel as Nepal and trekking is likely to pull on all of those resources and practices. And probably even more.

I’m amazed at how even preparing for a trip like this has pulled certain issues to the fore – the past week has been full of distractions and so my focus has been tested. As has my ability to retain a level head and clarity on the end goal while also being patient with myself (personally being patient with me is a major challenge!). I’m a firm believer that life throws at us what we need – and here is an example.

trek to Nepal

For the coming week I am reconnecting with my intense physical training while also continuing the mental focus.  A coming week of continuing with the small steps while charting progress to the big one.

Being focused without allowing myself to fixate and judge.

Preparing and being prepared.

My first fundraising event was quite successful. I need to do more, much more, yet have proved that it can be done and whilst having a good time.

Experiencing and being on the journey – because the journey is just as important as the destination.

Beginning to get more excited by the prospect of the trek.

It is quite close now.

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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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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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