Today is the 16th May 2016, a pretty standard day for most people going about their work and general day to day activities I would imagine.
Today is also just another day for me too, but exactly five years ago things were quite different. I was stood on the summit of Mt Everest! A height of 8848M almost 30,000ft above sea level, an experience I will never forget. It was all very surreal; my Sherpa, Dorje, and I arrived on the summit at 8.30am after having hauled ourselves up over the famous Hillary Step. The ascent was difficult with the oxygen levels being low; I devised a strategy, I would take 10 steps, rest, another 10 steps and rest and so on. I knew this method would eventually get me to the top – I simply repeated the process and kept going. It was a long slog through the night – around 9 hours from Camp 4 to the summit, but I reached my goal!
I was so exhausted, I was struggling to stand up and with every breath I took my lungs were working overtime to absorb as much oxygen as possible. My body and mind were in a place that I’d never been before, but I was somehow managing to function.
We took a few photos of each other and after approximately 15 minutes started to make our way down again. As soon as I tried to move, I realised I could hardly take one step without needing to stop for breath. Initially I thought I just needed to get back into a rhythm of moving, but things did not get easier. Once again I needed a strategy, I repeated my 10-step routine, but not knowing what was wrong and why I couldn’t breathe was extremely disconcerting. Eventually after 4 days I made it back to the safety of base camp. On my return to England I learned that in fact I had a severe lung infection and was lucky to be alive. It was the adrenalin that was masking the debilitating infection, which I must have contracted during the ascent.
But my strategy worked, it was this mindset of breaking the task down and thinking in small steps that got me to where I wanted to be. On my descent it was just to be safe again, it was simply survival. It does not matter what you’re trying to achieve, if you are continuously taking steps towards your dream and never stop, you will always reach your summit, whatever that might be.
So five years ago today I was standing on top of the world! That was my goal, I’d love to hear what your goals are – do leave some comments and share your dreams and ideas with me.
Last week, I returned from Canada where I was on a speaking tour with a wonderful teacher called Joe who lives and works in Guelph. Joe runs a program for schools called “Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants”. Joe’s aim is to connect classrooms to Science, Adventure and Conservation using guest speakers and virtual field trips from around the world. Whilst in Canada I visited ten schools and collectively spoke to the best part of 4,000 young people. I hope they remember this lunatic from Britain, who had the funny accent, for some time to come. I will certainly not forget them.
I have been lucky enough to speak in schools all around the world and I have met many amazing teachers in my time. Joe however really stands out to me as his passion and drive is something that really inspires me, and it’s remarkable to think of all the wonderful experiences he is bringing to young people around the world.
For more info on “Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants” you can visit http://www.exploringbytheseat.com
You can also check out a few pictures from the tour here https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesketchell/
I will be launching my new project over the coming weeks so watch this space. And finally thanks for all the lovely feedback on my book “The Ultimate Triathlon” – you can pick up a signed copy here http://jamesketchell.net/shop/
Don’t ever give up on your dreams, they do come true if you want them enough.
Out for now