06 May Hannah Wilson – She Is Moving Mountains
Wow. We’re super impressed with this woman, and her ability to conquer any feat. Meet Hannah Wilson – She is moving mountains.
“6 am and the alarm goes off… the day had arrived in which I was to embark on a 14-day trek through the Himalayas. My goal: Everest Base Camp. The excitement was palpable. I was ready for a new chapter in my year-long journey backpacking around the world with the sole intention of living life with passion. I looked at myself in the mirror, laughed, and shook my head in disbelief that this is actually my life.
After a heartbreaking end to a 4-year relationship that had become my purpose for existing, I needed to somehow find myself. I no longer had the security of a lover, business partner, or best friend. With that loss came the haunting realization that I no longer had the security of my own identity. How had I gotten here? How did I go from being a strong, confident, independent woman who I was proud to look at in the mirror, to this weak, insecure, and lost soul I barely recognized?
Fortunately, life has a funny way of working things out. All it took was one click of a “book now” button on a one-way ticket to Thailand to feel like I was back in the driver’s seat. I may still have had tears in my eyes and a heart to mend, but for the first time in a long time, I felt alive again. An adventure was in store, and I couldn’t wait to see where it would take me.
Four months later, after dancing under the half-moon party in Thailand, becoming a Certified Yoga Instructor in India, and learning the art of meditation from the desert of Rajasthan, I was in Nepal preparing for the trek of a lifetime.
I’ll be the first to admit that I did not go into this adventure with a healthy respect for what a trek of this nature deserves. I felt confident in my physical ability to walk the average of 5-8 hours per day, since I’ve spent the last 4 years of my life training as a CrossFit Competitor. I also felt mentally ready to practice my new found art of “staying present” in the beautiful scenery of the Himalayas.
Mother Nature was ready to teach me that everything I thought I knew, I didn’t; and everything I thought I could depend on, I couldn’t.
It all started to go downhill (pun intended) on day one. Regretfully, the night before I decided to go big and order the ‘fish sizzler’ at our introduction dinner. Not a wise choice, as I woke up to the debilitating pains of food poisoning. It was almost comical – I had just been bragging about spending the last two months in India managing to avoid every traveler’s nightmare.
This was my first experience with food poisoning, and I quickly learned that the horror stories had all been true. I was depleted of all energy, my body was dehydrated and aching, and my mind was spinning at the thought of having to carry a 10-kilo backpack for the next 6 hours. My enthusiasm for the trek disappeared, and my confidence in my abilities shattered when I had to hand over my bag to our guide. Keep in mind this was only day one.
The only thing I could think to do was keep walking. The sickness would subside in 24 hours and I would be able to enjoy the trek. I was once again wrong. The higher we climbed, the weaker I got. I kept attributing it to food poisoning, but the symptoms were changing for the worse. At 11,286 feet, in the bustling town of Namche Bazaar, my body was hit with altitude sickness. My discomfort had grown to an unbearable level, and all I wanted was to call my mom and be hugged by the man who was once my main source of comfort.
I could no longer depend on my body, and my mind began to waiver. I started to doubt everything I had learned about myself in the last three months, and felt all progress in mending my broken heart had been lost. My self-talk became negative and the idea of staying “present” was long gone. More times than I can remember did I consider giving up and taking the next helicopter off the mountain.
But something inside wouldn’t let go. All I needed to do was keep placing one foot in front of the other. No matter how much I didn’t want to move forward for sheer exhaustion and the general fear of what the increasing elevation would bring, I couldn’t let myself stop.
Some may call it ego, but I think what actually kept me going was that deep down I knew I could. The trek had become a metaphor of my life as I knew it the past four years. I had taken a path that lead me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I had found myself deep into an adventure that caused so much pain that I could no longer remember who I was and what I was capable of being. But somehow, even through the darkness an adventure of this caliber can bring – call it love or Everest Base Camp – a flicker of light kept shining within.
With the simple act of placing one foot forward and humming the lyrics ‘When you’re going through hell, keep on going’, I managed to trek to Everest Base Camp, at a mind-numbing height of 17,598 feet. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pride that brought me to tears. And I came off that mountain confident in knowing that no matter what adventure life may throw at me, I can handle it.”
Hannah is one of the fabulous women we’re featuring in our Everything She Is series. We’d love to feature YOU too! Email email@example.com with your “She Is” story (i.e. She Is Following Her Dream, She Is a Rock Climber, etc.) along with your favorite pic. Submissions can be anywhere from 600-1000 words. We can’t wait to get to know more of you, and to share your stories!
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