Some time during spring 2013, I sat on the sofa in my tiny apartment in Gothenburg, where I was studying at the time, and had a Skype interview to be an Adventure Leader for Student Adventures. I awkwardly rambled on about a school trip to Malawi in 2009 and a 10k race I’d recently stumbled through. For some reason they gave me a shot and the next thing I knew I was in charge of recruiting and coordinating the participants for a charity trek to Everest Base Camp.
I returned to Plymouth that autumn and felt slightly crazed with motivation. I was out of the house at 6.30am each day and not returning until midnight - cooped up in the library writing letters, spamming social media, putting up posters, handing out fliers. We had an Adventure Leader training weekend somewhere in the shropshire countryside and as well as walking away with a raging hangover wearing odd shoes, I felt so inspired that I didn’t know what to do with myself.
To some extent that continued. In April 2014, I was invited to the Plymouth University Societies and Volunteering Awards where I was awarded Highly Commended for Dedication to Volunteering. It was, without being too cheesy, the happiest night of my life and suddenly all the early mornings and late nights felt worthwhile.
However, largely, dissertations and part time jobs and general apathy got in the way. I let things slip and I felt that I was letting my team down. Instead of doing something about this, I just buried my head in the sand. I spent months changing my mind on a daily basis about whether I would or wouldn’t be going on the trek.
I won’t bore you with the details of the teary phone calls to my father, the financial meltdowns or even the heartbreak that came along the way. The important thing is that on July 7th, I was sitting at Heathrow airport and I had my passport and my walking boots and I was ready to board a flight. I had rearranged my flights dates so was doing a couple of weeks volunteering in Nepal and a month travelling around India before returning to Nepal to complete the trek.
There’s a lot more on what happened during those two months to come - a hell of a lot more - and it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. However, I learnt during that time, and especially during the trek itself, that I would never be happy if I wasn’t regularly exhausted, covered in the grime of the outdoors and sporting a sunburnt nose.
So here I am - doing something about it and trying to make everyday an adventure of sorts.