What I am thinking before crossing the Andes on foot – alone!

(written last night) Tonight is my last night in a town before I set off on a c.400km Andes crossing which will see me reaching heights of over 4818m, which incidentally is higher than any point in Europe…

Obviously there is a lot to think about before a stage like this. I need for ensure I am carrying a lot of calories (I will probably be burning about 5000-6000/day), make sure I have enough water (about 4-5L per day) and am prepared for a substantial drop in temperature and also the possibility of altitude problems. It’s not something to undertake without the proper respect for what could lie ahead.

So what am I thinking? How am I feeling?

Well today was a “rest day” and that would seem a sensible way to prepare. Well a rest day may sound nice and relaxing but to be honest it is completely the opposite. A rest day is really an admin day. I have to sit in front of my computer dealing with agonisingly slow internet either drinking horrible instant coffee or overpriced proper coffee. The day is spent writing blogs, feeling bad that it has taken me so long to answer emails, chasing people for things, researching the route ahead etc. Also as the expedition gets closer to the finish line the horrible reality of real life starts to dawn on me. I start to think (dread) about jobs and 9 to 5 routines. I also look at my finances and sob to myself wondering why I never got an official sponsor… On this point I do take heart that all adventurers seem to go through the financial stresses and part of me associates this with becoming a real adventurer.

It then dawns on me that nothing about the next 400km daunts me, it excites me! The freedom of being out of the clutches of council tax, mortgages, gas companies and, as my girlfriend would put it, real life shit, is exhilarating. Obviously I will miss the ability to speak to Christo and my family but i think they can survive without me for a few days!

One lesson I have learnt is not to leave on an expedition if you have responsibilities that are not 100% covered. I am very lucky to have a great family who are very supportive. My brother and his wife, Eve, have been amazing and have done so much without once saying anything about it, thought I am sure they probably do behind closed doors!! I do appreciate that without their support I would not be preparing for this monumental stage of my expedition. Another example of this expedition not being a solo endeavour. Thank you Charles and Eve!!!

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