Sylvia Garcia Maggio won a free trek in the 2016 Tusker Trail annual contest. She chose to join Tusker’s Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. Here are some of her thoughts on the trek.
A lot of adventure travel is about the “what” – what summit I reached, what country I visited, what crazy adventure I had.
To me, Tusker Trail’s Everest Base Camp Trek is about the “why”? Why do I travel and why do I travel with Tusker Trail? When I won the 40th anniversary Tusker Trek Contest, I already knew the answer to the latter question having experienced the sheer awesomeness of Kilimanjaro with Tusker.
You travel with Tusker Trail because you know you’re going to get to where you’re you want to go and you’re going to get there safely – having high-altitude medical-expert guides means you’re getting med checks to ensure you’re safe, it also means a trek that’s planned with acclimatization days and rest stops to give you the best chance of success of reaching your goal.
Importantly for me, traveling with Tusker Trail also means I stay healthy when I’m eating– from the basic necessity of purified water to trekking with any dietary concerns. Personally, I have a restricted diet for medical reasons and getting sick while traveling is a constant concern and certainly I’ve had trips where I’ve gotten very sick and/or gone (very) hungry as a consequence. That’s absolutely never been the case on a Tusker trip. From comfort food (Mac and cheese! Pizza! Hash browns!) to local fare (Dal bhat! Curry! Yak burgers! Momos!) to unheard-of-on-a-trek-cuisine (SUSHI!), I can’t think of time I’ve eaten as well (or, quite frankly, as much).
What I didn’t expect, however, to be able to live the “why” of why we travel, at all. To wake up every morning in a place that’s brand new. To spend every day with a group – both the trekkers and our amazing guides – who dream big and adventure on just like I strive to do. To learn about ways of living, of being, of thinking in a way so completely different than what you’re used to.
Everest Base Camp is a place – magnificent among the highest mountains in the world and steeped in history of adventure. But the EBC trek? That’s a journey I had with my dear friends – meeting Lamas and talking about life (and yoga!). Having early morning coffee in our rooms at Tengboche and reveling in the views of the majesty of Everest and the indescribable beauty of Tengboche monastery with the sounds of the monks chanting and the constant cacophony of Yak bells in the background.
Asking hundreds of questions about the names of the mountains and the trees and the flowers and the animals and the chortens and stupas and summer pastures and everyday life and receiving the indefatigable enthusiastic responses from Mingma Sherpa giving every answer he had. Enjoying the camaraderie of group tea time, high on a ridge, in a snow flurry, after a successful trek to Everest Base Camp.
Those are the moments I’ll take with me forever. To borrow a phrase, the “why” of adventure travel isn’t to add more days to my life but to add more life to my days – this was certainly that trip for me.