March 2, 2021…

For the next couple of weeks I will be blogging on Facebook about a trip that I have been planning the day I turned 65, which was about a year ago. I am heading to Everest Base Camp and hoping to celebrate my 66th there.

I got the all clear from my amazing wife and life partner, Marjan Saghafi Shallal, whose only advice was telling me to make sure I enjoy every minute of my time there and that things will be fine while I’m gone.

Right now I am at an almost empty Dulles Airport about to depart to Kathmandu in about 2 hours. This is my first flight since the pandemic and it feels a bit eerie.

I will begin my trek as soon as I am cleared of covid restrictions which should take a couple of days after arriving in Kathmandu. The trek is one of the most iconic in the world. It traverses 130km (~80 miles) and elevation change of 5500 meters ending at the base of Mount Everest where the more experienced mountain climbers head to the summit. I will merely be standing next to them soaking their excitement, taking a selfie or two and gazing at the snow covered peaks in the distance. It will take about 10 days or so to do the entire route round trip starting at a little town called Lukla that sits on a cliff and has a tiny strip of an airport runway. It is euphemistically referred to as “the most dangerous airport in the world”. For someone who fears heights, that’s going to be my first and possibly my biggest challenge.

I will be hiking alone with a local guide. I will be staying in tea houses, eating local food and completely immersed in the local culture. Internet and electricity will be limited throughout but I am told there is some. Hope you stay tuned!

Off to Doha – Namaste!

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