Lessons Learned On My Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp – Part 3 of 6

Learn and Love

In June of last year – 2010, I determined to write six articles based on my experience of trekking to Mt. Everest. I wrote two of those blogs and then got blindsided. Forty of us (mostly USANA distributors) embarked on the Everest quest and although we had a group of incredible guides and sherpas that helped us every step of the way, there was a young man who stood out. My guess is, he was everyone’s favorite: Prakesh – the one with the ready smile, the encouraging word, the stories about his sons and dreams for his future.

During the USANA convention in August, we got word Prakesh – along with thirteen others who were planning to trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp – had perished in a tragic plane crash on the mountain. We were devastated. How could such a bright light be extinguished so soon?


Prakesh and his umbrella

We all mourn in different ways. Although I’d only known Prakesh a couple weeks, I felt I’d lost a dear friend. In addition, the peril of the mountain became more real to me than when I trekked in its shadow. That could have been us! I went from wanting to talk and write about my Everest experiences non-stop…to quiet reflection.

It’s now time to continue what I started. Throughout 2011 I will finish the series of six articles I originally outlined; the lessons I learned on our epic adventure. This blog, however, will most likely contain the most important of the lessons.

I believe when all is said and done, what matters most will be how we answer two critical questions:

Did you learn?

And even more importantly…

Did you love?

Every time I see a picture of Prakesh I stop to reflect on mortality’s fleeting nature. Once again I’ve been reminded that in the pursuit of all that’s possible in our industry, what I believe we’ll ultimately take with us are the memories we make and the lessons we learn.

At the beginning of each year I set my intentions. They’re listed on the front flap of my daily planner and have included many things…ranks I plan to reach, financial benchmarks, the number of books I intend to read, places I’m going to visit, items to be crossed off my bucket list, etc.

This year my intention is simply: Express Love Daily.

Thank you Prakesh, my friend, for the most valuable lesson learned on my trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

1 comment… add one
  • Steve Netherby

    One of the kinds of courage demanded of those who venture to Mt. Everest is the courage to become intimate with death. You illuminate the fact that Mt. Everest is much more than a vacation or a personal challenge or the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition. It is also a lesson in death and, as you so beautifully put it, Collette, a lesson in love. It's been this way since the first ill-prepared, ill-equipped, ill-fated expeditions and will always be. Love and death. Author Sherry B. Ortner said about climbers there, " … the sense of sudden, close, and relentless death becomes almost overpowering." Your experience shows that not only climbers, but also trekkers, and especially the Sherpas, venture close with love and death when they go to Everest.

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