Planning for Everest

Later this year I will be in Nepal, climbing to the Mt Everest Base Camp. The base camp sits at an elevation of 17,598 feet above sea level on the southeast face of the tallest mountain in the world. To give you some perspective, the base camp is 10 times the height of One World Trade Center and over 3,000 ft taller than any mountain in the continental US.

The hike to the Everest base camp is tough. The trek takes about 8 days of hiking at very high altitudes. Apart from the unpredictable mountain weather, altitude sickness is the most dangerous and potentially deadly risk. As my trip grows nearer and I tell people about my plans I often get the same response. “Why? Why would you want to do that?”

Well, spoiler alert. I don’t really know how to answer that question. I don’t really know why.

This awe-inspiring and unforgiving mountain has just always been in the back of my mind, calling me. Hiking in the Himalayas, and particularly Everest has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I had this coffee table book titled, “The 10 most beautiful hikes in the world” and in that book was the Everest Base Camp trail. In college I read the book “Into Thin Air,” about an ill-fated 1997 Everest expedition and my fascination with the mountain intensified. As I grew up and climbed taller and taller mountains the pull to experience Everest continued to grow.

My fascination with Everest is not unique. The native people of the Himalayan region considered Everest and other peaks in the region to be sacred. They are revered as protective deities, and in the native name for Everest means “Mother of the World.”

There is also a rich history of westerners, like us, being captivated by Mount Everest. At over 29k feet high, this mountain is seen as the ultimate challenge for the world’s top explorers and mountaineers. The dangers of the mountain – altitude sickness, severe weather, avalanches, crevasse, ice falls, and extremely high winds – have done little to deter thousands of people from attempting to climb to the summit. Everest is so incredibly tall that its peak extends into the upper troposphere and penetrates the stratosphere, so it is exposed to extremely fast and freezing jetstream winds that reach over 175 miles per hour. People have literally been blown off the mountain. There are well over 200 frozen corpses on the main climbing routes and many now serve as landmarks for other climbers.

The first documented attempt to climb Mount Everest was in 1921. After a number of unsuccessful expeditions two of the greatest mountaineers of the time, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, made a summit attempt on June 8th of 1924. They were seen high on the mountain in the late morning by their support team below, but clouds obscured the summit from view the rest of the day. The two never returned to their camp. They disappeared into the mountain. To this day the mountaineering community hotly debates whether or not they were the first climbers to reach the summit of Everest. The first climbers to officially reach the summit did so 29 years later in 1953.

In 1999, after over 7 decades of searching for the bodies George Mallory and his partner, the climbers who disappeared back in 1924, his body was finally found. Interestingly enough, my uncle was on the expedition team that discovered Mallory’s body. Months later, over Thanksgiving dinner, my uncle recounted the story to my family and I, showing us pictures from the expedition.

Now I am not going to attempt climbing to the top of Everest like the late George Mallory, although the thought has definitely crossed my mind. I want to climb to the base camp.

I want to stand in awe of the tallest mountain on earth.

To stand in the footprints of the incredibly brave and strong humans that have gone before me.

To push my mind and body to extreme conditions that I have never before experienced.

To prove to myself that I can do it.

To share in the rich and sacred history of the Himalayas.

Why do I want to hike on Mount Everest? I think the late George Mallory himself said it best. In 1923, they year before his final and fatal summit attempt, Mallory was asked by a New York Times reporter, “Why do you want to climb Everest?” Mallory responded with three simple words, “Because it’s there…”

Love,

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Well hello there!

Confession time!

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quiet on the blog front. It’s been a minute since I posted anything (okay more like 3 months). Why? Well, to be honest I quite abruptly lost my desire to write. I’ve still been creating. I post sketches on instagram daily and I’ve been working hard on getting an Etsy shop off the ground, but I’ve let this blog lay dormant.

So, why? Why did I loose my desire to write?

Three months ago I decided to go more public with this blog. I linked to it in my social media accounts. Of course some family members, friends, and even co-workers found it. I, in turn, freaked out.

This blog has been my free space to write whatever I want without worrying about any “real world” judgement or controversy. When I shared it more publicly that anonymity disappeared, and I realized I was no longer comfortable writing freely. Then another truth sunk in; if I can’t write freely and authentically then I don’t want to write at all.

I quickly realized what was going on and I removed all links to the blog. And then I let it sit here. For months. Hoping they would all go away.

Sometimes there are parts of us that we’re not yet ready to share with the world. That we only share with a few trusted people (or anonymously on the internet – wink wink). Parts of us that we’re still developing. And that’s okay.

Love,

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72 Days of Drawing

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Day 72 / Little jellyfish

A couple months ago (72 days ago to be exact) I started a project. I committed to posting a sketch on Instagram every single day. Why? Well, allow me digress for a moment.

It’s easy for us to loose ourselves as we grow up. At least this was the case for me. I spent much of my adolescence and adulthood trying to please other people, trying to fit into a mold deemed by others as “right” and “moral.” Then, a little over a year ago, I made the decision to follow my own heart and intuition. I won’t go into the details here since I’ve written about this time elsewhere on the blog, but let me just say that my life changed dramatically.

In the midst of this existential crisis I asked myself over and over again, “Who am I?” The advice I got, again and again, was to reflect back on my childhood. What did I love to do before anyone told me what I should and shouldn’t like?

As a child I sketched all the time, sometimes hours a day, for no reason other than because I loved it. I drew people, animals, flowers, whatever came across my path. Art flowed through me. As an adult I decided to peruse Architecture. I found architecture school an interesting mesh of the artistic and the technical. However, as with most professions, school and professional practice are very different things. Soon after graduating all hand drawing stopped as the computers took over. I’ve been out of school for about five years now, but only recently realized how much I’ve missed my first love – art.

Since making that decision to listen to my intuition the call to create art has been getting louder and louder. Seventy two days ago I finally decided to listen. I decided to commit to doing something every day for no reason other than because it gave me joy. I also decided to put it out into the world. This world could us a little more joy and love! And, to be honest, I knew I could use a little accountability!

The past 72 days have BLOWN ME AWAY! I’ve gone from hardly creating any art to drawing and painting every single day. Not only has this daily practice been incredibly fun, but through this project I have connected with other artists from around the world!

Through art I am able to explore myself, and share my whole self with the world. It’s an amazing feeling.

I’m so excited to see what the next 72 days bring.

Love,

Eva

Why I Travel

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While journaling this morning I had a hit of intuition that brought tears to my eyes!

You see, I’ve attempted many times to explain to others why I want to travel the world. Yet, I’ve never felt that I’ve been able to fully express my unextinguishable desire. This is because I have never really understood where my passion for travel comes from. It’s just there. It’s always been there.

This morning I had an epiphany. I was journaling in response to a prompt from Anita Wing Lee’s Funded & Flow course, “There is a higher power in the universe that will supply all you need to fulfill your dreams. In what ways have you been provided for in life?”

As I journaled I thought about all of the times when things have inexplicably worked out for me. This has been most illustrated in my travels abroad.

Traveling has shown me how the universe takes care of me. Traveling has shown me the good in humanity. Traveling has shown me my own strength and resilience.

That is why I love to travel. That is why I am so obsessed with it.

Universal truth, love and the goodness of humanity opens up to me when I travel in a very real and tangible way.

Once, on a train to Meteora, Greece, I sat in a car with a couple from India, a couple from Russia, and a couple from Mexico. We all talked for hours and at one point sang, literally sang, songs we loved from our respective countries.

While traveling through the Greek Isles I met a Canadian couple that I spent a few days with, and then was randomly placed in the same hostel room as a friend of theirs (such a small world!) in Turkey a week later. We became good friends and traveled together for the next couple weeks.

Upon arrival to a small Korean town I found out that my hostel was overbooked. There had been a glytch in their website. I wasn’t able to find any other vacancies in the small town, so instead of turning me away the hostel owner invited me into her small home where she shared her warm fish soup dinner and found a mat for me to sleep on.

Also in Korea, I started talking to a family during a morning hike. They insisted on buying me lunch and then invited me to come allong for the rest of their day trip. We explored a bamboo forest and had dinner at a traditional Korean resturant nestled in the mountains. At the end of the day they dropped me off at my hotel with hugs and pictures.

I have so many stories like this. Stories of incredibly loving and friendly people. Stories of miraculous events aligning in my favor.

Travel has opened my eyes to a wonderful universal truths. There is something unseen watching over me; taking care of me.

Travel has taught me that at it’s core humanity is good. We are all much more similar than different. We are all connected.

What have your travels taught you?

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