What a Trek to Annapurna Taught Me

On a charity trip to Nepal, and trek to basecamp on Annapurna, with five other women I learned something truly valuable about myself and my life.

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Annapurna Mountains

A few years ago, I was invited to do a charity trip to Nepal with five other women and trek to basecamp on Annapurna.  Eight days trekking up to an elevation of 13,550 feet and five days back down.

Those of you who know me know I was born and raised in the city of Chicago where it is pretty flat there and in the surrounding area for mile after mile. Also, if you know me, I have never been a big hiker. Yes, I enjoy getting out in nature and walking leisurely on trails and stopping along the way to just enjoy the beauty, but serious hiking?

When my friend invited me to this adventure in the Himalayans, something called me to do this and I said ‘Yes!’

When I commit to something physical, I commit to it fully. I am determined and unapologetically put ‘train to win it’ as my number one goal during the time before the challenge.

I did this for this trek.

I was prepared for it. Mostly.

I was unaware of the difficulty of so many steps being built into the mountain and the variance of each and everyone of these steps in both the width and the depth, which made it much more challenging for me as I did not train for this terrain.

The first day, I was the last to get to our resting place. The second day, I was the last to get to our resting place. The third day…you guessed it…last.  And this pace continued throughout the trek.

During these treks they have the most experienced guide be the last person in the line and he was with me all the way. Our guide, Narayan Tamang, spoke very little English.

He was my forever companion on the trip and could sense my tiredness before I wanted to acknowledge it. When he saw my tiredness, he would have me stop and sit and rest a bit. He would always say to me, “Slowly. Slowly.” He knew I would use all my energy just trying to catch up to my exceptionally experienced trekker friends. I never did move out of that last place position, and after several days I succumbed to the knowledge that I never would.

Once I accepted the fact I was slower than everyone else, I realized the beauty of my slowness was that I stopped along the way to deeply enjoy the beauty, the quiet, the calmness of that part of our world and enjoyed the things Narayan would point out that I would not have seen on my own in my hurry to get somewhere.

This feeling is beginning to resurrect itself in me as I keep reminding myself to take life “Slowly. Slowly.”  When I do, I enjoy the beauty, the quiet the calmness of this part of our world.

In what areas of your life do you need to tell yourself, “Slowly. Slowly”?

Written by Pat Obuchowski

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