There’s perhaps no greater bucket list item than trekking to Everest Base Camp. The quest to make it to the infamous 5,350 metre plateau, at the foot of the world’s tallest mountain, has inspired and intimidated hikers for years.
And while we firmly believe that Everest Base Camp is for everyone (at whatever age), there’s a couple of persuasive benefits to hitting the trail and conquering it before your 30th birthday.
It’s a habit breaker (and maker)
Whether you’re fresh out of high school or drawing unnervingly close to the big 3-0, it’s more than likely you’ve inherited a couple of life habits that you wouldn’t mind giving the flick. Now, these don’t have to be huge, terrible vices. Perhaps you’d like to go easy on the sugar; maybe you’ve promised yourself more time outdoors.
Either way, the two weeks spent on the trails in Nepal away from your regular habits is the perfect opportunity to take stock and make any changes. Personally, I’ve never been a morning person. For almost 29 years, I’ve envied (and been completely baffled by) humans with a morning routine. But after seeing the sunrise above Ama Dablam and hiking the frosty early morning trails out of Namche Bazaar, consider me an early morning convert.
For the social media detox
You know it, I know it – we’re all pretty addicted to social media. It doesn’t matter what app is your downfall; it’s undeniable that our phones rule our lives. And given the speed of technology today, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find Wi-Fi-free zones in parts of the world.
But lucky for us millennials, the trail from Lukla to Gokyo Shep is almost devoid of roaming bars. So, I decided to disconnect entirely from social media for the two weeks of trekking. Sure, I was still using my phone to take a few pictures, but I wasn’t stressing about which shots to use for Instagram or how to caption my next Facebook post. It took a few days to shake that sense of obligation to share my experience on the social channels, but after I let it go I was more relaxed and a hell of a lot more present.
Because you’re young, and fun and fit
Now, this is not to say that people over 30 can’t, or shouldn’t, be completing high altitude treks. No way. After all, I was overtaken by a 65-year-old German couple who could easily have been mistaken for a pair of mountain goats.
No, all I am saying is that if you happen to fall into the ‘under 30’ age bracket, then you’re more than likely going to be in pretty good physical condition. So why not embrace your youth (and your lack of lower back problems) and conquer the camp now.
You’re probably gonna be more tolerant to ‘roughing it’
It’s not a crazy generalisation to say that as we get older, our expectations of comfort change. It’s just a reality. To be fair, the tea houses en route to Base Camp are super comfortable. They’re warm and cosy, and you can drink as much lemon tea as your heart desires.
But let’s remember what you’re here for – you’re hiking to Everest. The big guy. So expect to be cold, expect to be tired, and expect to feel less than 100 per cent health-wise (thank you altitude). But you’re young, and you should be good at dealing with it.
Your brain is still developing
Yep, that’s right. You may think you’re perfect as you are, but science says that our brains continue to develop until well into our mid-20s. This means that opening yourself up to new customs and cultures is an essential part of gaining perspective and strengthening our emotional intelligence.
And what better place to do so than Nepal? The trek to Base Camp will see you encounter Sherpa culture, and incredibly generous people living in the Khumbu region. Take the time to speak with locals, learn about their way of life and let your brain soak in all that Himalayan travel goodness.
Ready to embark on the trek of a lifetime? Check out Intrepid Travel’s Everest Base Camp trip.
All photos by Tayla Gentle