Comfort to Kathmandu …

This blog was written by SHA Community Fundraiser Linda Winters on her experience of doing an overseas trek for charity. If you are thinking about doing an overseas trek why not join us on the Great Wall Discovery Challenge in 2019 or speak to us about organising your own.

As a fundraiser, I get to meet some incredible people, doing great things to change their community and improve lives.

One ordinary day at the office, that phone call happened. A fundraiser who also happened to be a family member and Trustee called to ask for some fundraising materials and tell us she is embarking on an overseas trek of the Himalayas later that year. I was immediately impressed by her ambitious spirit, but then I was pulled in…

I had intended at some stage in my life to do something adventurous for charity after bringing up my kids.  Now could be my chance, after I said this sounds amazing, Marie asked ‘why don’t you join us’?! Arrrgh, ‘okay I will,’ the quickest decision I had ever made – well nearly!

One telephone call later and I was booked up as a Volunteer Fundraiser to trek the Himalayas with Marie and her friend but it was the amazing causes that really did it.

Arriving in Kathmandu was an experience of a life time; it felt like we had landed on a movie set. Our guide for the trek collected us at the airport and took us to our hotel and ran through the next 14 days itinerary.  I sat there so excited with the realisation of what I had signed up to do.

The trek was a life changing experience; even partially conquering my fear of heights as I crossed the squinty, shaky bridge with missing planks.

The daily walks were surrounded by breath taking views of the snow topped Himalaya mountain range and meeting people from around the world heading in different directions. For 8 days we walked for about 5-7 hours per day, reaching Poonhill on day 8 at 3,210 metres. Regular stops for drinks and food were well organised. The local people were so friendly and at no time did I ever feel unsafe. Although we didn’t speak the same language we managed to communicate. Our accommodation was far from deluxe but gave us everything we needed, food, bed, and occasionally shower facilities.  It was humbling to see how other cultures live and in many ways, are less stressed with fewer material possessions.

We witnessed many villages that had been washed away by the monsoon with lots of lives lost and bodies never found under the rubble. Whole families destroyed in the landslides – it was sad to see. I did wonder to myself what services were available for people who had lost loved ones and how they coped. The communities really worked together and made the most of what was available to them and acceptance was maybe part of it.

Anyone taking on an overseas trip, be prepared for different emotions, everyone on your trip will feel the same and you can all support each other.  The biggest emotion will be the feeling of achievement and knowing that you did something for others. Planning for your trip is important and the charity you are supporting will be delighted to help with this.

I raised over £2,000 for Scottish Huntington’s Association and Diabetes UK Scotland. I would also say, if you are considering embarking on an overseas trip ‘do it’ go with no expectations and you will have an experience of a lifetime. Just think, doing something so life changing but helping others.  The feeling couldn’t really get any better!!!

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