Episode 146: The End Of The 2009 Everest Trek & Photography Workshop
All Good Things Come To An End. It’s difficult to believe that we’ve reached the end of this amazing experience but here we are. The past couple of days in Kathmandu have been pretty amazing. I look forward to going home to my family but I’m incredibly sad to be leaving.
We returned from the trek riding a wave of exhaustion and exhilaration. We were a complete team and we completely succeeded in our goal to visit Everest on foot and document the experience. This adventure was wonderful and so different from my other experiences with Everest. I have to say, now, that it will go down as one of the best 3 weeks of my life.
It’s hard to put into words just how much this trip has meant to me. I mean, it’s always great to visit Everest–she’s like an old friend now–but this trek offered so much more than a visit. This trip was another turning point in my life.
When I called Chris Marquardt up to ask him if he was up for hosting a photo trek with me back in April 2008 I thought it was such a good idea. I had been producing The Rest of Everest for two solid years by that point and had already returned to Everest because of the show. I had already built a fairly large, worldwide audience and was riding high on the many daily emails I was receiving telling me how much the show meant to so many people. I felt that in my own small way I was truthfully telling the story of what the Everest region was really like and it seemed to be having a profound effect on people. It felt so wonderful…but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to take the storytelling to the next level and try to give people a first hand taste of Everest.
I was so excited and nervous as I headed off on a plane out of Denver bound for Kathmandu. I had so many things on my mind: will this be a good experience? Will people have a good time? Will they be safe? Will anyone get sick? Will the experience justify the workshop’s cost? Will they like me? Will I like them? Is the burden on my wife and son going to be worth it???
Flash forward to this last day in Kathmandu and I now realize that I was just being nervous about the unknown. The team did have the time of their life. Chris taught a phenomenal workshop and everyone learned a lot. The new venture was an unqualified success.
It’s funny now to think back on the concerns I had about whether or not I was going to like everyone. I guess it’s always going to be a question that will be in the back of my head when going on one of these trips but the final answer is “YES!” It turns out that the one thing that I didn’t take into account when preparing for this trip was just how attached I was going to get to everyone on the team. It never really occurred to me that I wasn’t simply going to be taking a group of clients up to Everest…I was going to be taking a group of people who would turn into my extended family.
My goal for this trip was to try and give everyone at least a taste of what my 2003 experience was like. That expedition changed me forever. It affected every fiber of my being and actually made me a better person, a better husband and even a better father-to-be. I’d done a fair amount of traveling before that trip but no other part of the world resonated with me the way Nepal and Tibet did. I had been trying to share those feelings through the show but I wanted to give people the opportunity to experience them first hand. I know now that I have succeeded.
I just was too busy in the planning and execution of the adventure to ever think that I would be the person most positively affected by the trip! Over the past 3 weeks I’ve gotten to know this group of strangers very well. We’ve shared so much. We’ve experienced the highest of highs together as well as the lowest of lows. Once again, Everest has been a catalyst for creating lifelong friendships.
Now as I head home I’m completely at peace. There’s not a hint of nervousness in me and my brain doesn’t have a single “what if” question rattling around in it. I’ll be returning to my family simply beaming with pride. This trek did affect everyone profoundly and in a very positive and meaningful way—and I had the amazing fortune to facilitate it.
This is by far the best job I’ve ever had and it’s only just begun. We’ll take a few months off from each other then get to catch up a relive the experience through episodes of The Rest o Everest! Again, the best job ever…
Now the only question is, “What shall we do for next year?”
Everest, I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again very soon.
Total Running Time: 38:48