Before…

I was in love with this idea since 2004, when one of my students had just returned from Nepal telling very interesting facts about it. He was so excited that we used to speak about it during almost every class. It couldn’t be different! The guy had gone on a kind of trip that very few people in the world would go. And it had all to do with what I was looking for, adventure, challenge, self-improvement and entertainment. Luciano Nunes Balbim was my student since 2001 as he still is. He is one of the most intelligent and interesting guys I have ever met. He has become my everyday life encyclopedia for being a great reader and a much experienced traveler. Little by little this very demanding and grumbler client, entered the selected noble rooms of my friends.

I have only decided to travel at the end of January after hesitating for many days. The dream had become true! My self esteem has increased, along with a wonderful sensation to go on such a trip, but at the same time I became more concerned by analyzing the professional responsibilities and my role as a father. A series of problems started to arise. I was fired after 10 years as a Physiologist at the largest gym academy in the country. This seriously impacted my professional career from that time on. I was very upset by the way that the dismissal was carried on. I gradually started to deal with some of the problems but others I simply haven’t solved up to now. I tried to go on living the life. My students got to know about the trip only at the end of May. All of them, without exception, could understand the situation I was going through and gave me a great support. I thank them all. Thanks a lot from the deep of my heart.

Luciano took care of everything! As he was going on this trip for the second time, he was aware of all the important issues. He contacted Mountain Madness, a company specialized in taking people to the Everest base camp and made all reservations for hotels and tickets.

The interest increased in the same speed as the time went by. I read and reread some books of people who had gone on this trip before. Little by little, the base camp, Kalapatar, Khumbu Ice Fall, sherpas, iaks, etc, became part of my vocabulary.

It was interesting to see people’s reaction when they knew I was going to Nepal to visit one of the most inhospitable regions on earth. Many didn’t have the slightest idea of where Nepal was, and they got completely astonished when they knew that it was a poor, and cold place and that I would have to walk for 6 to 8 hours a day. So, what are you going to do there? This wasn’t an easy question to answer. There were so many issues involved that it was hard for me to understand. The ideas didn’t seem clear enough for me to explain. Or at least they did not have logic reasoning. Kind of… you know when you know something but don’t know how to explain? It looked as if I wanted to hide even from me the main motivation that led me decide on this trip. Indeed, I didn’t even know very well why. Crazy! It had been a long time since Luciano and I were training five times a week. We gradually started to focus our training for getting more strength. Luciano was very determined and started to train running for the first time in his life. He increased his strength in a significant way. He went on a diet. He was so motivated that he lost 20lbs.He run up to 6miles an hour. I had some problems and couldn’t train the way I would like to. By that time a lesion affected my calf as it continuous to hurt during the trip. Even though I could keep my strength levels, I lost about 9lbs. However I knew that I already had more than enough physical fitness to go on the trip even before I decided to go. I read reports of people much less prepared than I. that had had no problems in reaching the end of the trek.

I had to increase my aerobic capacity mainly to recover a muscle injured by daily stress and by altitude. Although my fitness was excellent I planned it to be a priority, once all the other variables from the point of view of training were important not only for the trekking, as for quality of life.

I already had a good aerobic fitness and tried to increase it the most I could; Luciano only trained hiking. I explained the importance of taking nice aerobic training and it wasn’t difficult to convince him to increase the pace. I have always told him that this was what was missing on his training. It seems that he finally got the feeling of it.

Along the last ten months I bought the clothes and objects that I still needed. They were expensive, so I could buy just a few per month.

We had time to do everything patiently.

Photos, forms, travel insurance, yellow fever vaccine.

On the last week there were only a few details to be made.

On the other hand I could not control the anxiety. We started to count down the 200 days missing for the trip. The last two weeks were like hell. It was close enough for the anxiety to take hold of me, whereas at the same there were still 15 days to go. I think this was the worst part. All of a sudden 10, 9, 8, …3, 2,…

I had already talked to my daughter about my trip to the Everest several times. The last time I went out for dinner in Brazil was with her. I would not see her for a month. For the last time I tried to show her a good reason for the trip which she couldn’t understand very well. We had a pleasant and interesting conversation for about two hours. It was a fun conversation so I could catch her attention. We went deep into several subjects. Not only about my dreams as about hers. We could remember things we went through together during our last trips and we laughed a lot. That night she was talking like an adult. The decision whether I should go on the trip or not, had a lot to do with her. At the age of seven, Ana Laura is a very intelligent, gentle and loving girl with an easy smile. She many times asked pertinent questions, difficult for me to answer, such as why did I have to go on a trip to such a cold, far and high place. I think I did it well with the explanations, and I still bring the memory of each smile from that night. Surely one of the hardest things I had to face on the trip was to miss my daughter so much.

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