What is a 'challenge'? Is it getting out of bed when your alarm goes off, and not scrolling through social media first? Is it having to remember that you get paid for putting up with that annoying client at work? Is it trying to lift a new personal best at the gym when your legs are already heavy? What do we define as challenges? And what does that say about us? For the entire month of April, these are the question's I'll be asking myself. In just under a week I'll fly to Nepal to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek, which promises to be an incredible experience. Have I done much hiking before? No. Do I have much solo expeditioning experience? Not really. Have I been to Asia or a third world country before? Nope. Have I done any altitude training? Not at all.. Am I scared? Yes. But not because of these reasons. In the past few years I've been fortunate enough to complete some adventures that others have described as a 'challenge'. 2,200km in a kayak.. 3,800km on a SUP.. 153 days of total adventure.. But what I'm now asking myself is if that really counts as a challenge. A few months ago I would have proudly said that my trips were definitely challenges and that I overcame them. But as I think about my trip to Nepal there's a seed of doubt creeping into my mind about how tough these 'challenges' really were. Consider this; What is a few weeks paddling compared to the loss of basic human rights? My trip to Nepal will see me spend time hiking up the worlds highest mountain, but it will also see me spend time with human trafficking survivors. I aim to compare the experiences as best as I can. To compare the grind of pushing myself past physical and mental barriers as I make my way up the trail, to hearing the stories of someone who had every right taken away from them. What do we define as a challenge? And what does this say about us? I'm deliberately going into this trip somewhat unprepared as I thankfully don't know much about modern slavery. I may be going in uneducated, but when I arrive I will immerse myself into the grim reality of there being over 30 million people living as slaves in our world, in 2018. What I'm exposing myself to will most likely be raw and confronting, and I doubt I will like the stories that I hear. Yet with each story I hear and every step up the mountain I take I hope to gain a better understanding of what I think a challenge really is.
MAKE NOISE NEPAL is about to begin and I look forward to sharing my experience with you. Follow @whattomhasdunn or @30milliontonone for updates on the trip.