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What not to do while trekking through the Himalayas

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What not to do while trekking through the Himalayas
Walking across the Hilary Hanging Bridge – Before being rescued

I got rescued in Nepal… and it wasn’t fun…

I went to Nepal on a whim, and I got rescued in Nepal down from the Himalayas. It was a true bummer. This certainly was not my plan, but it happened and I’m here to tell you what not to do while trekking through the Himalayas.

Don’t go trekking through the Himalayas on a whim

And certainly, don’t decide that you want to climb to Everest base camp. This is an arduous journey. People prepare for it months before; including serious gym going, two times a day for four hours in total. Using the treadmill and the stair master. I did not do that, and I paid for it dearly (I’ll tell you later how much).

Don’t go when you are depressed and/or dealing with anxiety

Don’t get me wrong, the location is spiritual in a way I cannot describe. But when you are depressed you can’t bask in this spirituality. Depressed people are usually self-involved (no shaming here). But this reality of depression makes it hard to enjoy your trip.

Also, when you are struggling with anxiety, you will struggle with eating. Nutrition is important for the average activity, let alone a trek to the base camp of the highest summit in the world. Not eating is NOT a good idea even if you lose weight with it.

Don’t NOT do your research health implications

I knew I might get altitude sickness. I did a quick research on altitude sickness just to know the symptoms and implications. But I missed out on a VERY important thing. I suffer from hypothyroidism, I take medication for that. I found out later that the effectiveness of this medication is reduced at high altitudes. Boy did I need to know that before the journey.

Hypothyroidism affects your activity and your energy levels adversely. You really want the medication to work (you really really do). If it doesn’t you’re in deep trouble. So please don’t NOT do your research on health implications, if you have any sort of permanent medical condition.

Don’t be iffy about excreting in nature

We used to do that at one point in history before modern infrastructure was ever a thing. So don’t be iffy about it.

I refused profusely to do my business in nature during the trek. And to manage my excretion urges, I drank as little water as I could. Believe you me that is NOT a good idea, especially when you are trekking across one of the hardest pathways in the world. Whatever your reason is for not drinking water (I heard many from other people) DON’T DO IT.

What not to do while trekking through the Himalayas
Waiting for the helicopter rescue in Dingbouche

For female travelers – Don’t forget about your menstrual cycle

I forgot about it and it was a disaster, considering how basic the toilets get the higher up you go across the trek. I had no idea how problematic that would be (I know, that’s dumb), so this epiphany hit me when I got my period at 4000 m above sea level, and it was way too late and way to high up to do something about it and trekking to Everest base camp while menstruating is not fun AT ALL.

Don’t NOT talk to your guide about your physical condition

I did not tell my guide when I started feeling the symptoms of altitude sickness, I kept pushing myself and I kept shushing my gut feeling that something wrong is going on with my body. I got competitive and did not take care of myself properly, I wanted to get to the base camp regardless of my physical state, and I shot myself in the foot with that attitude.

Had I talked to my guide openly, I would have reached the base camp through slow acclimatization, instead of getting rescued after reaching two thirds of the way.

Be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey, screw the goal if it will stop you from moving on with good health.

Don’t NOT read the fine print of your insurance policy

This was what screwed me up financially, I bought my travel rescue insurance and I thought I had it all figured out in case I get sick and need rescue, and I would not pay a penny, I stood corrected.

I did not read the fine print of my insurance policy, and when it all went down, my guide did not activate the rescue procedure properly and I ended up paying the total cost of my rescue and stay at the hospital, a whopping 4000 USD which I could have completely avoided had I read the damned thing.

At the end my trip I came out a bit more depressed and exhausted than when I started. I did not reach Everest base camp. I did not enjoy my journey as much as I should have. And I wasted 4000 USD. If you want to avoid that just be smarter and don’t do what I did.