As I scramble to finish up work and get the last pieces in place for Nepal, I felt compelled to take a moment to prepare myself mentally for the experience to come.
I began to think that returning to Nepal was like a completing a circle. I left people I love, causing them angst about whether they would see me again, to explore the peaks of the Khumbu and consider key questions in my life. Last time it was Lobuche East; this time it's Ama Dablam. Last time the question was "Where is this MBA really going to take me and is that where I want to go?"; this time the question is "How do I get value and fulfillment out of my work, since I hate it now?". I'll even be climbing with some of the same people. And the peak I knew I would return for was always over my shoulder the first time.
However, upon futher reflection, I came to think of it as a spiral. The trail, the mountains, the people, the summit, and my purpose, although similar to the river I once stepped in, have changed irreparably through the passing of time. The origin of my climbing career and inflection point in my life four years ago is not a place to which I can return. I can only pass by and wave to it on a trajectory out of orbit. Growth is the narrative, and change, the protagonist. The purpose is to reach a higher place, a point farther from the origin, an unexplored region of space - my space.
I have serious doubts that the who, the what, and the why that inhabit my current future - that point in space - will fulfill me or make me happy. Hence, I'm taking a month to consider the settings for my course correction. However, at least one answer is clear to me and I made that first adjustment today. More to come.
Of course, the challenge of pitting myself against Ama Dablam, the beautiful surroundings, and the superb company will make this a hugely rewarding month. I cannot wait for each step on the way to the summit: off the plane in Kathmandu, onto the steeply sloping runway in Lukla, into the tea house in Namche Bazaar, around the corner of the trail to the first view of Everest, into the bakery in Tengboche, into the mess tent Base Camp, into my tent at Camps One and Two, and up the final snowfield above the "mother's necklace".
For those who had the patience to read my philosophical ramblings, I promise fewer of them and more climbing-related nuggets at my Live Feed from Nepal. Only three days to go!