Last week, the Just Challenge team had the privilege to experience a slice of the magic that lies ahead of us in March, when 100 people gather in the mountains for Challenge Himalayas 2018 in aid of Laureus Sport for Good.

The recce was an epic reminder of the fundamental life lessons to be learnt by taking yourself out of your comfort zone.  With less than four months to go and only as many places remaining, if you’re yet to be convinced, read on…

1.      Get out and see the world

Some of the greatest of life’s lessons are learnt by heading out into the world and exploring the unknown.  The Himalayas should simply make it on to everyone’s bucket list. 

The word Himalaya translates vaguely as “abode of snow”.  It is the transforming power of snow, with it’s reflective luminosity that makes the Himalayas so holy to millions of Hindus and Buddhists – and somehow utterly irresistible to those of us who want to challenge ourselves through adventure.  Don’t be fooled by it’s beauty though.  It’s still Baltic.

For Challenge Himalayas participants, there is going to be something truly magical about beetling through mountains, rivers and spying snow-capped peaks during the day – not to mention the primal satisfaction of surviving nights in the wild.  These are experiences and indeed lessons that will last a lifetime.

2.      Understand the people

 We will start Challenge Himalayas from Dharamsala, the second winter capital of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.  The Tibetan settlement of Dharamsala began in 1959, when his holiness the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet, and the Prime Minister of India allowed him and his followers to settle in Upper Dharamsala.  Thus it is still the worldwide residence of the Dalai Lama.  That in itself is rather cool, no? 

Challenge Himalayas will give participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and history of the people in this region and the route itself incorporates some key landmarks (a bonus because at least you know we will be on vaguely flat bits sometimes). 

There is something so incredibly special about the richness and colour of the villages and people, nestling in the foothills and on the slopes of the mountains.  And no shortage of animals and things to marvel and chuckle at.

3.      Form new bonds

“Popcorn brain” refers to a brain so accustomed to the constant stimulation of modern electronic multitasking that it is almost unfit for life at a slower pace offline.  An amusing phrase, yet terrifying and unfortunately true.

Happily, there ain’t no reception in these mountains.  Whilst the benefits of a modern digital “detox” are clear, the result is a genuine opportunity to focus on building relationships with new people.  To listen and to learn about people’s lives.  The path of conversation can be truly extraordinary when scrabbling up a scree towards the next snacking juncture.

The faces of those who have signed up to Challenge Himalayas represent young and old from all over the world, with many different backgrounds, professional and personal stories.  So be curious, get out there and make some new friends.  You never know what you’ll learn.

4.      Work hard, do good and sleep the sleep of the gods

I know that some bright spark once said go to work on an egg.  But personally I’d extend that particular recommendation to porridge, coffee, sausages, samosas and other various available accompaniments.

You can do this in Delhi, at least.  Because three days without food isn’t so long is it?  *Panic not* we’ve got you covered. 

You will eat, because you will trek and climb for hours on end and then drop at the end of the day.  But the good news is, when it’s that cold, you’ll be in bed by 8pm with delicious curry inside you and will sleep until the sun rises over those majestic peaks.  And onwards.

There is a huge satisfaction to suffering hard physical slog to feed the sleep of all sleeps.

Which reminds me.  Sleeping bag.  Don’t for goodness sake forget it and don’t bring a feeble summery one.  Father Christmas’s list everyone.

Four places left.  Apply at www.just-challenge.com/himalayas2018

Concrete Creative