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Some Thoughts From Mike.

May 4, 2012

Sorry its been a while everyone, Dave,Dwight and myself have all been in China over the past 2 weeks so life has been pretty busy however we have all still been training as some of us have an adventure race on the 20th May. Ill post photos of the adventure race once we have competed in the 25km Run,Kayak and Mountain Bike challenge.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing some thinking regarding the Everest trip, I have been asked like many on the guys some pretty deep questions so I thought I would put my personal thoughts on paper and post them for you all to read, they are quite personal but as I have been reminded this whole trip has been quite personal and as you have shared in the trip from the start I thought it was only fair that i share this with you also…….

Hi All, over the past few weeks I have been asked many times about my trip and have loved recounting my adventures, one of the main questions asked is “Do you think the trip has changed you” I have tried to answer this question but every time I start it doesn’t seem to come out right so I thought I would try put it down on paper for you……so here goes…..

You got me seriously thinking about my response to your question “do you think the trip changed you” I have been fumbling with the answer to this since I got back but I can see when you asked this question that you wanted more than me just saying……… yeh it changed me but I’m not sure how. I love the fact that you ask me that question because it has changed me and my mind-set and to be honest I do know how it’s changed me I just haven’t put it down on paper yet and voiced it to many people, I could see when asked this question the emotion and interest shown by you in my response so because of this I have inspired to put my thoughts down on paper and if its ok with you I would like to share my experience with you.

The short answer to the question is yes the trip certainly has changed me but it wasn’t the trip alone, the changes for me started when I put on paper the idea to do the trip, the goal I had been of course to do the trek to Everest, this was a personal goal that I set for myself just like many other people do in their lives…..for me what made it different is that I invited others to join me on my goal which made my quest known to others, I then compounded this by starting the blog which at the beginning was only to show everyone our photos but as you know grew into so much more, this made what I was doing very public and it put me in a position where I put myself out there so if I was to fail everyone would know it , not something I wanted to ever let happen.

When I said the changes started before the trip I wasn’t really aware of it at that stage but looking back I can see that I had already changed my mind-set and understand now how hard I was pushing not only myself but the others on the team, the drive and determination to not fail and complete our goal was evident in the way we were training and I see that now, because of that hard training we were able not only to complete the trek but to really enjoy it because our fitness level exceeded what was required for the trek.

I learned from that period of training that I do enjoy hard physical exercise and that I love the results that it gives you…..not so much in body but what it does to your mind, the confidence and self belief and motivation it provides cannot be under estimated or understated and I have learned to believe that when things aren’t going 100% in your day a run or workout can give you balance and give you time to think and sort out your head.

On the trip itself the energy that this experience bought to my life was incredible, what I mean by energy is not so much the energy it gave me but the energy it created around me, I couldn’t go a day without talking to someone about what we were doing and the reaction was amazing not only people wishing us well but people taking the time to express to me what the trip and blog has meant to them, I was so surprised to hear so many people tell me how the trip and our training had inspired them to do things that they had wanted to do, for some it was just to start training themselves for others it was just to get up from in front of the TV to get out of their comfort zone or get back to playing their favorite sport but the comment that excites me the most is “it inspired me to chase my own goals”. To hear this was incredibly motivating, to know that what we were doing was inspiring others in so many ways…..I found this very humbling and at first wasn’t sure how to handle it. After a while I decided to try to embrace it, I’m still trying to work out how to do this but meanwhile I just try to support and be open to anyone who wants to talk openly about their experiences or mine. The one thing that I found out about myself or should I say confirmed about myself is that I discovered that my ambitions didn’t out way my abilities, I hear so often from people statements like “I can’t do that because I’m not fit enough” or “that’s too hard for me” I myself would say similar things when asked by mates to join them on outings however I now realize it’s only a matter of setting goals to conquer that particular event and that’s a huge thing to learn as it opens so much more to you and allows you to open your mind to a whole world of adventure.

What did I learn from my time in Nepal and on Everest itself? Well to start with I think it’s safe to say that the main thing was self belief, there were many times early in the trek where we were faced with large amounts of up hill work and strenuous hours of hard slog, before you hit those areas you couldn’t help but question your ability to finish the day, but day after day of doing this and conquering the daily challenges you started to trust your fitness and ability.

There were a few times on the trek where I was surprised at my reaction to certain situations, for example on day 6 of the trek we walked off the beaten track and headed to a base camp at Ama Dablam another 7000 mtr peak in the Khumbu Valley this required us to climb from the valley floor across the river and a climb to the base camp at 4500 mtrs, we were completely by ourselves for the entire 3 days during this part of the trek, on the first of those 3 days when we done the major climb we started off slow and steady like every other day so far, on this day we were feeling great and walking strong, I was out front and was feeling in control, I had my headphones on listening to some great music when I turned around and found myself alone, I had gone ahead up the mountain and hadn’t noticed the guys stop for a rest. We were in sight of each other so I felt no need to stop so I kept on moving slowly but strongly up the mountain towards base camp, what happen next was unexpected but in hind sight a memorable experience, for some reason I was completely overcome with emotion, the music was perfect the day was glorious I was completely alone and I was standing in front of one the most impressive sights I had ever seen but all that wasn’t the reason for the emotion, It was the fact that I was doing something that for a while I thought I would never get the chance to do, I had been telling myself for years that I would do this trek someday but I had let myself down, I had been overweight and had got so consumed with work and the day-to-day family pressure’s that I had forgotten to look after myself, not just my health but my well-being. I had a dream to do this for some time but hadn’t followed it through and I had been very down on myself for allowing that to happen. But now I was back on track and on this day at this moment in think I realized this and that’s where the emotion came from, I’m glad I was 20 minutes ahead of the guys because it gave me time to take it all in and keep a mental photo of what was happening to me and around me, it was by far a very raw and emotional memory that I’m very glad I had.

The next standout event happened while I was walking to Everest Base Camp itself, I have written the account of that day already on my blog so I won’t go over it again however what I didn’t write on the blog was my reaction to reaching our final goal. It was in some ways similar to my experience at Ama Dablam but for different reasons. We were about 400 mtrs from the EBC marker and the guys very kindly let me go ahead by myself and gave me a few minutes head start on them, I’m sure they could sense that this was very personal to me and needed a few minutes just to take it all in, it was great that they gave me a bit of time to take it in alone. As I was approaching the camp I just lost it, I found the last 20 mtrs incredibly emotional but this time for other reasons, this time in reflection it was due to the relief of completing my goal, the pressure of getting everyone there in one piece and enormous pride in what I had achieved. At the time I of course didn’t process all that I just assumed I was just happy to complete my goal of getting there, I had a million times over the past year visualized this moment so I wanted it to be memorable and special. Now that I have had time to think and process the day I see completely why I was so emotional and can now explain my emotion in a clearer way.

I was at that time so pumped and full of energy that all the hard work and exhaustion was completely forgotten but as I was soon to find out the relief of making it due to the pressure that we put on ourselves was going to take its toll, the adrenalin that was keeping us going in the 100 knot wind and the -30 degree conditions just left me, the emotion came because of the pressure I had put on myself to not only get myself there but the whole team to the end goal.  We of course all celebrated and embraced when reaching Base Camp and we spent a good 30 mins taking photos and soaking it in but the trip back to our base camp ended up being one of the hardest physical days of my life but again in hind sight I loved that this day was so hard and pushed me to my physical and mental limits, this day will be forever etched in my memory and will be a day that I can look back on with pride, I know there will be times I will use that experience to help overcome obstacles that may arise in my life and I will always look upon that day as one of the most positive experiences that I have ever been a part of.

In conclusion, yes! This trip has changed me…..not in a “spiritual” way or in the old cliché of “I found myself” but simply I rediscovered the real Me, the Me that I knew was always there but now could physically keep up with my goals the Me that loves life and adventure, the Me that sets goals and finds the way to reach them, the Me who motivates others and who takes joy in helping others to reach their goals.

I have learned to like and trust myself again, this experience has inspired me to continue being motivated to help myself my family and others and I will endeavor help others to achieve their goals and dreams. I’m currently working on my new goals and lm looking forward to the many years of completing and sharing them with the help from my family and friends.

I hope my thoughts on this have answered your question and gives you a clearer idea of what I have been trying to say for the past few week, thanks for allowing me to share part of my life with you over the past few months I have loved every minute of the journey and your company.

Cheers Mike

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Woodham permalink
    May 4, 2012 12:06 pm

    Now thats what I’m talking about Mike – just now reading your personal recount, I felt every raw emotion, you took me on your journey and once again it adsorbed me completely, every fibre of my body was taking those final steps with you… you need to write a book – you are a truly inspirational person. I know if I had a goal or a dream just out of reach I would be able to draw on your experience to guide me.
    Not only having the courage/strengeth/determination to test yourself and find the ‘you’ inside that got a little lost in the maze of life , but to allow your friends and some strangers to share such a personal challenge. You moved me to tears reading this personal recount and I thank you for opening up as you have. I was in awe of you before and more so now.
    I am now off to reassess and explore what it is that I might have a dream for.. when I find that answer, I know I will be able to draw on your inspiration to get me started and eventually over the line…. thanks again Mike for your powerful message – it maybe the message I have been waiting for…..
    Jan
    🙂

    • May 4, 2012 12:21 pm

      Hi Jan, Thanks so much for your wonderful response to my post, I’m very happy that you have found something positive to draw from and I sincerely hope that you find that goal or adventure your looking for.
      Always remember if you need the support of the Rockstars all you have to do is ask and we will be more than happy to help in any way we can…..
      best wishes……Mike

  2. Hazel Walker permalink
    May 4, 2012 10:15 pm

    Thank you Mike. This is the Real You I know. It is a huge thing to share part of your soul in public, but you touched our hearts by doing so. xx

  3. Gary Wert Snr. permalink
    May 5, 2012 2:09 am

    oh doggy the tears are runnin down me face oh matey what a truely honest account of ya adventure thanks for sharin this woweeeeeeeeeeeeeee wonderful wonderful luv ol ma wert

    • May 6, 2012 8:28 am

      Thanks Ma Wert, and thanks for all your wonderful support, can’t wait to catch up with you and Gary Snr next time your up on the Coast or I’m in Melbourne…….Cheers Mike x

  4. Lynsey permalink
    May 5, 2012 6:35 am

    What an amazing experience!!!!!! You are an inspiration

  5. Brett Wellauer permalink
    May 6, 2012 4:47 am

    Hey Dog

    You thought about it, you spoke about it, you organised it, you did it.

    I remember those early words about doing this years ago and remember thinking this is not something you would take lightly and would require considerable preparation. I think (and could be quite wrong) you may have had a couple of attempts in taking the first steps towards this goal that didn’t quite follow through. Maybe it was those initial attempts that prepared you and gave you the realisation of what was required to achieve this goal you had spoken of with such passion and wonderment.

    I always felt that you would make that dream happen and it was no surprise when you put the call out there for anyone with a sense of adventure to join you on a trek to EBC. Although I wasn’t able to join you and the boys (whether it have been a poor excuse or not), I thank you for taking us on the journey with you all.

    I do recall a comment made early in the piece in relation to a potential reminder should things not work out. How things have changed since then, although you are the same man you always were, your self belief as mentioned, has grown to a point were I can only hope to hang on by my finger tips as you stirve forward from task to task taking those with you who want to come along for the ride. Honestly your text messages scare me a little with ferosity and dedication to which you’re applying yourself. You always said this would be a life changing experience and I can see it has been in the best possible way both physically and mentally and as for the reminder issue, well that’s just a joke now.

    Go forth and if we can hang on we will.
    YOU ARE INSPERATIONAL.

    Your mate
    Bert.

    • May 6, 2012 9:14 am

      Wow Bert, im not sure what to say but thanks so much for taking the time to put in words how you feel, you are and always will be one of my closest friends. I would have loved for you to be on the trip with us but please know you were in my thoughts when we hit EBC, we have for many years been as close as brothers and that will never change, I love that we have the kind of friendship that allows us to be so open with each other and want to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support not only for this trip but for the many years of support you have given me. Thanks for never excluding me during those years when I couldn’t keep up, you have only ever encouraged me to try my best and always compete along side yourself and the other guys…..and you’re still doing it! As far as hanging on by your finger tips…..Ha! as I have always said to you and the rest of the Hogs you guys have always been my motivation and for years I have been trying to keep up with you all, now I have the chance to compete along side you and thats a great feeling.
      Here’s to a great friendship mate with many many years of adventure and fun to come…….Cheers from your mate….Dog

  6. May 8, 2012 11:23 am

    Hi mike We did. Not realize this blog was still ongoing. Will be checking again more often we are so glad u have fulfilled your first goal so successfully and We know you will fulfill many many more you have always been such a caring person and have a wonderful way of including everyone in your life and making everyone very welcome so glad you are part of our wonderful family and thinking of it I always call my brother Michael. Saint Michael as he has a wonderful caring nature also must be the name Xxx lots of love will be checking in to keep up with your adventures Aunty Rosaline uncle eddy xxxxx

    • May 9, 2012 11:16 am

      Thanks guys, I hope you know how much I love you both, you have always been so loving and supportive of anything not only I have done but the whole family.
      Thanks for just being you as you are the perfect Aunty & Uncle…..
      love always…..Mike xxx

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