Well, here we go. The diary starts. I always have to start these things with a reminder that I need to capture as much introspection as possible. Otherwise they can turn into something tedious and fail to reveal anything new to anyone, including myself. So lets start there shall we? A little knot in the stomach – a knot of anticipation, though mostly that is drowned out by the clamouring of administration voices. E-tickets printed (ironic is that not?). Equipment checklist. Minor wrinkle to iron out with transport on Friday and so on. Oops, been so busy chasing everyone else on kit I had better sort my own. So a bit of shopping to cover off on bits and pieces like extra batteries, some titanium cutlery (those sporks never seem to survive the first tin of baked beans) – all thanks to that Anaconda gift card from Rod and his family last November. Someone pointed out one of their stores are now conveniently located in our area. (Won’t mention I had to be told a few times). On top of that I have some final, final final, final edits of the final, final manuscript. My goodness, that process does not ever stop. And then a strategy session in the office tomorrow, so very little time to think too much about the pending trip. Nonetheless, that little knot does not let up. What fuels it? Expectations of the group? Maybe. Expectations by individuals? Probably not. Everyone’s fitness? No, we are all good to go. Kit? Not at all – if anyone lacks any gear we can catch that up when we get there. Health? Not really. We are carrying some niggling gripes but I am confident they will settle down. Group dynamics? Nope. All is well in our world. 18,000 feet. Okay, yup that is something I am wanting to watch very closely. Am I mentally ready for any AMS? Yes. And we have a plan for handling it. Am I prepared to not go over Thorung La and retreat with any of the group that might come down with AMS? Yes I am. But have we properly planned our acclimatisation? Yes and yes. So we should be okay. But what if… And so it goes. On and on. Rolling all these and a hundred other little things over and over in my mind, scenario playing this and scenario playing that. What if, what if, what if. Followed by lots of little plans to deal with them all. On top of that is the confession I have to make to myself that this is a very emotional event. I get like this as I watch the group forge and bond, watch their character emerge and develop, and find myself wrapped up in the fellowship of like spirited characters who have a great love for each other. It’s here that I have to apply the most self discipline in case I blurt out something emotionally daft to any of them. Suffice it to say I am anticipating this trip not for the scenery, the physical challenge, the accomplishment or to tick off any list. It’s appeal lies in the company I will be keeping. It’s some of the finest I have kept anywhere. Any time. Bring it on.
Author: Bruce Lyman
This blog will give me more flexibility to write about broader things than just travel although I am hoping there will still be plenty of that. Pickledeel conveniently provided the fuel for a book published by Harper Collins and based on my travels to Iraq in 2007.