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Australian Professional Cyclist

Mount Everest Base Camp: Day by Day…..

Today was the first time in my life that I attempted YOGA! My roommate Lucie is right into her yoga and meditation etc… I was up a little earlier than her and ready to head to breakfast when she jumped out of bed, turned on some relaxation music and rolled out her yoga mat. I thought, why not…. I quietly asked her is she minded if I copied what she was doing.

I immensely enjoyed getting the body moving through all it’s ranges of motion before starting the day however I feel that I dismally failed on the breathing and mental aspect of it. I’m sure it’s something I can train and I will stick with it as much as possible during this expedition.

Unfortunately, I think I ruined Lucie’s session. She was polite enough to talk me through every movement and give me guidance on things to think about and focus on during the session. My favourite part was at the end when she said, ‘now, think of three things you’re grateful for in your life’. She said the three chosen blessings could relate to people, finances, habitation, health, career etc… I was surprised that the three things I felt grateful for this morning were three people in my life.

At breakfast I was sitting at a table of four; myself, Lucie and a husband and wife. The conversation was heavy…. Well let’s say that we all had different strong opinions on the given topic; why should we (or how could we) eat meat? FYI, I ate broccoli, eggs and chicken for breakfast!

We were then packed into a couple of old mini busses and taken to the SOS Children’s Village – Sanothimi, Nepal. This particular SOS Village has existed for over 40 years.


The Village has 16 homes for 8-10 children and one mother in each of them. The children do not have a father figure in their homes however the father of the entire village is the man who all 160 children call ‘Father’.

The Children are aged 0-16 years of age and they’re then moved into a different SOS Youth Facility where they are given another 8 years of guidance and opportunity before becoming completely independent and move into a home of their own.

What a great time we had there!! One of the Children (15yrs) took a small group of us on a tour around her community and showed us all the homes, playgrounds, soccer fields, basketball courts and of course – their amazing school right behind their community fences. The school is open to the general local public too – so they can make friends from all different types of living situations.

My first impression was WOW these kids have it all, what a life. The children learn in the English language at school so our tour guide was great! We were then taken into a room to watch a presentation specifically on the Sanothimi SOS Children’s Village in Nepal (where we were). I asked a lot more questions than anyone else – I was very curious about why so many children are born and found without parents, relatives or anyone wealthy enough to look after them. Did they not have free contraception available? Was abortion illegal or expensive, was there a high rape rate…. How do we stop this from its core?

We then went to see six homes outside of the village who SOS also support – resourcefully; health benefits, schooling etc…and financially.

These homes were so small….. tiny! The families work, sleep and cook in a space/room smaller than what I’d call a small bedroom. They shower outside with a bucket of cold water. Grandmother, mother and siblings are often all in together.

In saying this, these families supported by SOS – to live independently (outside of the villages) are comfortable and living well – in comparison to the majority of habitants in Nepal. They’re happy and fortunate.

Leaving the last home visit I passed a local bike shop working on bikes – I loved this…. I have a huge passion for bikes and mechanics of all types, I could have watched them for hours! I so badly wanted to get my hands dirty and help them out!

We then went back to the SOS village to play with the Children and this was a huge highlight for me. They were so excited. They first taught me how to make things/shapes from clay, in their ceramics class. I attempted making a Crocodile and an Elephant…. Not bad but also not that impressive!

The magic started when we went outside to play and the children were pulling us in all different directions. I decided to do some athletics with my group and they loved it. They couldn’t quiet get the concept of long jump….. they just wanted to jump continuously like leapfrogging – with no run/speed first. We then tried sprinting and they were pretty good at that! Faster than me!

We finished our time at the SOS Village by having lunch with one of the mothers who had been in the same house bringing up a total of 65 children during the past 17 years. Her cooking was amazing and there was way too much food. Lot’s of rice, chicken and vegetables of course but we weren’t sure what else we were eating…. Some type of soup, dry circular bread and dips, sweet juice, black tea and to finish off, food that looked like chocolate marble nuts but tasted like wood.

The mother’s youngest son (just 2 years) lost his mother during birth and no father or relatives were located. He was beautiful. He sat on my lap for a while and watched some videos on my phone of his siblings playing outside. He was a happy and curious child. It’s beautiful that this son takes the surname of his SOS mother. As soon as he’s old enough to ask questions about his blood family, he will be explained the sad and unfortunate situation.

We took a look around the inside of the houses and noticed a common room with a computer, the 8-10 children per home have a strict schedule of when they can each use it, it’s connected to the internet and some of the older girls have access to Facebook.

As I said, the SOS village was very impressive, the children have a great life and it seems the mothers are carefully selected and well fit for their positions.

I’d love to go into more detail about what SOS actually do; the recruitment process and, their future goals to change how they invest the fundraising they receive. At the moment they are providing great family lives (with wonderful opportunities) for 100s of 1000s of children from all over the world however,
they desire to do more at the community level, to change the general situation of so many children being born into a world where their survival chances are very limited.

We then went back to our hotel in the centre of Kathmandu to have a 1hr briefing with our lead Sherpa – who has summited Mount Everest a number of times.

We were already a little prepared for the news regarding our 4m wake-up calls however the shocking new news was that the weight of our bag allowances had suddenly changed. We were told our Sherpa could carry 15kg/person and our day backpacks could be 5-10kg. The new regulation was just enforced by the airline flying our small plane from Kathmandu to Lukla tomorrow morning. I’ve already heard plenty of horror stories about the difficulty of landing this small plane in Lukla, apparently there’s no margin for error and…. departure and landing times are very dependent on the weather. I’ve heard you can actually be held up for days due to bad weather. Our plan is to fly out at 6am with the hope
of getting the best possible weather.

The new bag weight regulations is a bit of an issue when you already have 2 pairs of shoes; hiking boots (for snow) and trekking shoes for the first few days. Then you need a comfy pair of warm shoes to wear at the tea-houses each evening and for Yoga etc…. then add in my 2kg summit sleeping bag, trekking poles, solar power chargers, cables etc and the weight quickly adds up…. before we even start packing the layers of clothing, wet wipes, dry shower, micro-fibre towels, medications etc…. I’ve packed six pairs of warm/compression socks and now one of the more experienced trekker’s just told me she always takes enough socks for at-least one fresh pair/day….. 18 days! I might need to purchase some more socks at one of the first stops.

In any case, I’ve managed the weight and my bags are ready to go at 4am.

We’ll fly to Lukla, get changed and start a 4-5hr trek up to our first night stop.

I’m looking forward to it! Stay tunned.

Saturday 26th October 2019

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