I highly recommended both, even if you have no interest in climbing mountains or stupid stuff like that. They are phenomenal studies in human psychology, ego, and humility in the face of failure.
I don’t have aspirations of climbing Everest. At least not in this lifetime.
I am, however, planning on going to Nepal and trekking up to Everest base camp. But keep that to yourself.
Just about everyone I know hates the idea of Westerners going to Nepal, since these tourist scum leave behind their own mountain of oxygen cylinders, Snicker wrappers, and empty Perrier bottles. Nepal tourism is, apparently, symbolic of First World abuses of the planet.
So, I’m sharing my plan to go to Nepal with you, and no one else!
I have to confess, even though I won’t come within 10,000 feet of the summit, the prospect of trekking in the Everest foothills is still quite daunting. I’m not as young as I used to be, which makes altitude sickness potentially more serious.
I’m in my mid-50s. A couple of years ago I had my cardiovascular system checked, out of interest rather than need. The test results suggested I have the heart, lungs and circulation of someone 10 to 12 years younger than my chronological age. That still means, at best I have a 40-something year old body.
That is sobering. I feel strong and fit, but a 40-something body under stress is still not as resiliant as a 20-something body!
So why do it? Why endure three weeks of squat toilets and altitude headaches? Why not go to Florida or Maui instead? Why risk pulmonary edema?
I dunno. Perhaps I’m at a fork in my road.
And as Yogi Berra famously said:
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
So, a year from now I’ll pull on my hiking boots in Kathmandu and keep plodding uphill until a guide tells me to stop because it’s time to hike back down.
Until then, no Cinnabon buns for me.