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From EF to EBC: Celebrating Another Birthday!

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By Cassie Castro

Every time I complete 365 rotations around the sun, I take the time to reflect on where I’ve been to help reorient my trajectory. For my most recent celebration of me, I decided that a great avenue for this self-reflection would be on a hike … to Everest Base Camp (EBC).

Just a month before my departure date, I bought my plane ticket to Kathmandu, Nepal, and found an outfitter who would guide me from the foothills of the Himalayas to the heights of EBC. It was a spontaneous decision, and I was in a state of excitement and panic! I hadn’t trained a single day for this physically challenging adventure, nor had I started collecting gear for the trip.

Nothing calls on the use of strong executive functioning skills and strategies like solo travel! I immediately went into research-planning-execution mode so that I could prepare myself for this adventure. In order to make sure that I would safely and successfully reach EBC, I researched a bunch of things, including:

  • Weather. I researched the season and weather of the region during October to ensure that I would pack appropriate clothes.
  • Cultural Norms. I learned about the language, food, and social norms of Nepal – no social faux pas would happen on my watch!
  • Safety. I studied how to avoid mountain sickness. Having a medical emergency while celebrating my birthday was definitely not something that I wanted to experience.
  • EBC Specifics. I read about other people’s experiences on the trek, including how they prepared, what they experienced, and what they would have done differently.
  • Outfitter Specifics. I explored the group expectations and the trip outline in order to have a clear sense of the itinerary and rules.

Equipped with all the information that I needed, I was ready to start planning. There were so many details that I needed to plan for, including:

  • What to pack. Using what I learned about the weather, I packed versatile items that I could layer up and down. I had to be ready and comfortable in all of nature’s elements.
  • How to be a responsible visitor. As a traveler, I always strive to be respectful in any new place I go to while adventuring and exploring.
  • Staying safe. I followed the guidelines suggested by other trekkers and the outfitter that I would be joining. For example, I made sure to take elevation pills to avoid mountain sickness, and I packed light and only what was necessary.

Now, all that was left was to execute my plan. With one foot in front of the other, one day after the next, with the support of my fellow hikers turned friends and sherpas, and with research and planning, I executed my goal of making it safely and successfully to EBC! More importantly, it was a wonderful avenue for my self-reflection as I prepared to brave the next 365 days.

Erica MechlinskiFrom EF to EBC: Celebrating Another Birthday!

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