1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
4. a commercial or financial speculation of any kind; venture.
This pretty much describes how I feel about my current trip to Mt. Everest. It is my single largest adventure to date. Granted, biking the coast of California with Jason was up there, but this one will be solo, and in a foreign country. I have opted not to hire a guide or a porter for several reasons. One of them is cost, but that is negligible and I could swing it if I really needed to. The main reason is that this is something I really want to do by myself. A guide takes the uncertainty out of it, and makes the trek a sure thing. The last organized tour I did was to Ha Long bay, and it destroyed my opinion of that place. I don’t want to take that risk here.
When I travel by myself, the experience is what I make it to be, nothing more and nothing less. I have found that there are very few people I can travel with for an extended amount of time. The three guys from Arizona that I met in Ton Sai were part of this group, as was the Iceman. We meshed well, and there was no forced conversation. When I travel with someone who does not speak English very well I find that conversation is limited and tends to revolve around subjects that can be understood and discussed with 5th grade English. No offense to those I have met who do not speak English! I just find it harder to build up a base understanding that enables us to branch out to more interesting topics. I do however learn more about the world and its people than I ever would traveling with English speakers, and this is an amazing part of the experience.
The thought of hiking for 15 days with a guide / porter who speaks at best marginal English worries me. I also feel bad about paying someone to carry my bag. (Slavery anyone? Paid Servant?) I would rather do it myself, and be able to say that yes, I trekked to Everest Base Camp… and I even carried my own bag! The route is well traveled, populated along the way, and is used as a main highway in the area. Granted, the primary vehicle is a 1999 Yak but this makes it more interesting.
Oh, and for those of you who are reading this at work right now, check out this post on how to make your environment a little more interesting. I can even help. My pictures are going to be available to print out in large scale format, large enough to cover your
cell cubicle wall.