I’m (almost) ready to go.
Someone might say that it happens often. I am always going somewhere. Always looking for new adventures and always looking for new corners of the world to discover.
However it has been a while since I did something big..
Not that I needed it, at least consciously, but in one way or another I started to pursue a new dream: trekking on the Himalayas, at the foot of Everest (no, I will not climb Everest)
It is more than two years that I think I want to do another walking trip, since the Camino de Santiago completed in 2007.To reach an altitude over 5000 meters is an emblem of the challenge, of the extreme.
Inspired by the adventures of Bill Barkeley I started to wonder why not me?
I do not have necessarily to emulate other people and push beyond the limits that do not belong to me, but it’s clear that I need constant stimuli and new emotions. I find them in experiences that lead me to discover the world, cultures, nature, people.
Surely I was intrigued by the stories of who was in Nepal and the Himalayas and some dear friend who loves the majesty of the mountain, so that I want to know this new immense.
I have known and lived the South Atlantic Ocean, I went through the Australian Outback, I missed to get closer to the sky and know the silence of the air.
The question I ask myself is: am I irresponsible? Am I going too far?
Obviously there is no answer. It depends on the point of view and on the experiences and knowledge of each one of us.
Erik Weihenmayer climbed Everest to the summit and is completely blind
In 2004, with Sabriye Tenberken and six blind Tibetan teenagers, climbed on the north side of Everest up to 6500 meters, reaching an altitude higher than any point that a group of blind abbia ever reached.
In 2006 it was released a documentary about the project, Blindsight..
The objection might be that these were prepared and maybe had a dedicated and experienced support team.
I’m training for several months, I am in good health conditions, but no one knows how I will be walking for 15 or more days over 3000 meters.
To the problems related to sight and hearing, I must add the ones that everyone, without distinction, can have with altitude. I’m trying to take all the necessary precautions, but I am aware of the amount of risk, I am ready to take it and, at this time, also the consequences, knowing that it is a very calculated risk and that every possible drawback will not be much different from an accident by bike or car.
We are constantly at risk, whatever our daily activities and the only objective responses are the statistics. Sterile numbers that do not scare as a plane falling.
Adventure is not necessarily the most dangerous thing one can do.
I looked for information on the risk of low pressure for those with retinitis pigmentosa and I did not find much.
I asked the question in some Facebook groups and it seems that everyone knows some blind man who has done some great enterprise.
I asked my ophthalmologist and indeed the high concetration of UV radiation and oxygen deficiency could be dangerous. For the first I must have glasses with selective filters, for second I believe that the risk is similar to that of cigarettes I smoke.
Is this adventure related to low vision and Usher Syndrom?
If I used not know the extent to which to connect my explorer spirit to disability, now I am almost sure there is a connection, although I could not give a rational explanation. Maybe some therapist could help me find an answer, but so far I prefer to enjoy the effects of the question.
Indeed, in this case I want to promote the adventure to raise awareness about low vision and in particular about Usher syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa.
So March 12, 2015 I go. Destination Kathmandu.
The city itself will be a challenge and not only for a visually impaired.
Like most of Asian cities is chaotic, noisy, probably dark and full of obstacles.
But I am convinced that with the help of some kind Nepalese and some casual encounter I will manage.
I will need a few days to complete preparations and buy most of the gear.
Then everything is to be discovered. Lived. Walked.
I have a pretty good idea of the route and timing, given that in recent days I have done nothing that compare prices of the various agencies that offer hiking, but of course, and fortunately, everything will be different from how I imagine.
And I find this super exciting.
The are many details to consider. The guides and websites are full of information that must be filtered and classified.
The most importants points are
1. Choice of the company for the trek. There are a myriad at different prices and for me the choice is particularly delicate. I decided not to join groups already formed because I do not know what will be my needs. I’d rather have the chance ‘to have a guide dedicated to me, that can always walk next to me
2. Travel Insurance. I have to make sure that covers activities of hiking in the mountains and covers accidents even if they I am disabled.
3. What to put in the backpack, what to buy in Europe and what to buy in Kathmandu. In my case, in addition to the things everyone should put in the list I added the glasses with cutoff lenses and many spare batteries for my flashlights.
It will be an expensive trip. It is a gift to myself and maybe to all those who just get stop by their limits, whether or not considered disability.
I will pay out of my pocket, but I will gather donations and sponsorships to invest in Noisyvision and projects related to this name.
Noisyvision needs to make a leap and go from blog and Facebook page to a true networking project, linked to mobility and to the world of those who love their limits.
I choose to start from Himnalayaa, the highest point in the world, to overthrow myriad of yellow thumbs and infect everyone with #yellowtheworld.