Day 12: Monjo (2835 m) to Lukla (2880 m).

Last day of trekking. I kind of packed my stuff with certain nostalgia this morning. I knew it was the last time in a while that I was doing it and that everything that made sense for the past two weeks would soon come to an end. It is interesting to realize how attached you can become to a simple routine such as packing and getting ready. As I was doing it I was already missing it. All the mornings have been pretty much alike, kind of trying to guess how the weather was going to be and what to wear, compressing the sleeping bag, packing some snacks, doubt for a second about the choice of clothes, fill up on water, breakfast and then leave. There is a sense of safety in doing these simple things that I have a hard time explaining.

The first part of the morning went by pretty fast, it was sunny, warm and the combination of uphills and downhills was perfect. We met a lot of people that were on their way up and I couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous. Or maybe not totally jealous since I knew I was going to take a warm shower in a matter of hours and they had a long way to go. But seeing them made me happy, they were on their way towards doing something great and all in all made me thing that I had already done something great. Out of the ordinary.

Walking the last kilometers out of 160 was bittersweet, like eating the last bite of a really good cake that you know you are never going to be able to bake again. On the other hand I really wished I could pause this, go home, get healthy and redo these last days. For the most part of the day and except for a few moments of mental clarity I have been too much in my head and too focused on the fact that I am sick, moody, needy and everything in between, which only makes things worse. I don’t like to feel like that so I walked by myself most of the time.

Lunch came at the right time, we stopped quite unexpectedly since I thought we were not going to get any food until Lukla, so I felt better instantly. It was so warm we could sit outside in the sun and it was a really enjoyable moment. You are on vacation, I told myself. We didn’t talk much and I didn’t feel like it at that point since I could only focus on how nice it was to finally be able to feel the sun directly on my skin without the need of thousand layers.

We kept walking for a couple more hours and it was beautiful. The skies were finally clear and we could take the last pictures of the mountains. I knew i would be coming back here very soon so instead of feeling like a once in a lifetime experience it was like the beginning of something that I was really looking forward to.

We finally got to Lukla and it was strange. “That’s it”, I thought, and then felt some sort of emptiness for a moment. Right away I took what felt like the best shower ever. I really believe it was. It was warm, the water had the right amount of pressure and it was well deserved. Often happiness is truly in the small things like sitting in the sun, taking a warm shower or having a nice conversation with someone you care about.

After dinner it was time to celebrate so we headed to the pub downstairs. I am not a party animal except for when I choose to go all in. But this wasn’t going to be one of my “all in” nights so I made the effort to be social for a while. Unfortunately I cannot say I succeeded.

During the flight to Lukla 12 days ago I had quite a powerful and life changing realization. The night before leaving for the trek I had been listening to a song by Sia, The Greatest, and the lyrics said something like “I am free to be the greatest here tonight”. I couldn’t get it out of my head and that sentence just crossed my mind as we were flying. Though my goal was not to be the greatest anywhere I told myself that I was really free to be whoever I wanted during this trek. That I didn’t have to feel any pressure to be social, that I didn’t have to impress anyone with anything. That no one here or at home really cared if I was the first to get to the Base Camp or the last. That even no one cared if I didn’t make it at all. That I was here with the sole purpose of having fun and that, above all, I was here for myself. I didn’t have to do anything to get attention, those who would like me would like me anyway and those who wouldnt were not important. I didn’t have to force myself to be funny or entertaining, it was not why I was here, and that it was ok not to fit in and to not be popular.

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As we walked to the airport in Lukla the next morning I felt at peace. That it had been worth it. That all the doubts I had at the beginning had been worth it, that every single moment in which I wondered why on earth I am doing this had been worth it. All the questions that I had about who I am and what I am doing here became answered. I was really happy. Lisa, Caitlin and Anna were walking in front of us and looking at them made me think about a lot of funny stories and nice moments that we all shared during the trip.  And I felt lucky for having met them. Walking through empty streets early in the morning reminded me of the first day in Kathmandu, James was also walking next to me, the only difference is that back then he was a stranger and now he wasn’t anymore. It’s crazy how things change and how fast everything can go and that someone who I didn’t even know existed two weeks ago can have had such a big impact in how i see the world.

I really felt it wouldn’t be the last time we saw each other.

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