Kathmandu: Our Hero’s Journey Begins

After a year of fundraising, organizing, and recruiting I can’t believe we’re finally here in Kathmandu ready to embark on our adventure to climb Lobuche. I’m really proud of the team for all their hard work and training and I’m grateful for all the donors, sponsors, and World TEAM Sports community who have got us to this point.

Keep you fingers crossed. So far everything has gone smoothly. All our bags arrived except one which contained one of my Scarpa mountaineering boots and most of our Quaker oatmeal. I was envisioning myself limping down the trail on an emtpy stomach. But thankfully it arrived this afternoon. One team member who shall remain nameless forgot his boots but was able to buy some here in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu.

Walking down these crazy, narrow streets, with taxis, tuk-tuks, and rickshaws flying by is probably the most dangerous part of the expedition. I grab a teammates arm and weave, bob, and jump around trying to follow my guide’s cue. When I feel a bumper or hot tailpipe against my calf I know it’s to jump. A tuk-tuk cracked me in the elbow early today. I’ll be pschyed to get up to the Khumbu tomorrow having survived kathmandu. The diesel fumesl and pollution is rough here as well so I think the whole team is pretty excited to get up into the clean mountain air where at least for the first few days stepping in yak dung will be our only real danger.

Today we had a team discussion using Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero’s Journey” as the theme of our expedition. We talked about why each of the soldiers chose this journey and what they want it to be. When you’re looking forward towards a journey you need to consciously shape the road ahead and not just allow it unfold willy-nilly. Luis, our Outward Bound facilitator, compared it to building a house. You build that house with purpose and intention. Using Campbell’s phrases we talked about the things they’ll face along the way; the road of challenges, the allies that come to one’s aid, the gift of the accomplishment, and finally returning home renewed and using your new discoveries and mindset to shape the world you left.

In my opinion, everyone on this team is a hero on an exciting and important quest. Not all that different from the heroes that Campbell writes about in his books who overcome big challenges and return home to forge a new path for themselves and their communities.

** Thanks to Peter Baily for his help with the Hero’s Journey curriculum.