Setting ‘Mt Everest’ level goals

I am in awe of those who set themselves dangerous projects, especially those associated with water.

Today’s local newspaper, The Mercury, reports that a group of mates ‘the injured, ill and wounded former and serving Australian soldiers’ have successfully kayaked across Bass Strait.  This is the wash of wind-blown, wild water which separates the State of Tasmania from mainland Australia.  This is the patch of water which, when the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race passes across it each December, masts may be broken, yachts overturned and sailors drowned.

At the narrowest and easiest route, the distance is 330 kilometres. The kayakers left north eastern Tasmania on March 14, were delayed in the Flinders Island area for 11 days with bad weather, and arrived yesterday in Victoria after 24 days. ’The challenges don’t come any tougher, with elite kayakers referring to the Bass Strait route as the “Everest of the sea’.

The story is from: http://www.news.com.au/national/tasmania/military-mates-conquer-everest-by-crossing-bass-strait-by-kayak/story-fnn32rbc-1227294031866

There is no doubt this was an extreme project undertaken by a group of people who might otherwise have believed they had limits on what they could do in their life.

I see it as a strong reminder that our bodies are capable of so much more than we push them through, and that it is our minds which sets most limits. So when I hear people say things like ‘I couldn’t do that or I couldn’t do what you do’, there is nothing wrong with saying that as long as their next sentence is something like, ‘but what I can do is ….xxx….’  The scale of the project doesn’t matter. Whether a ‘Mt Everest’ or a tiny mole hill type goal is set, the important thing is to do something that pushes you even slightly outside your comfort zone.  It is so enriching to do something that, after you have finished, you can look back on and think ‘I did that and no-one can ever take away that achievement from me’.

You may be surprised to know that I am terrified of the walk ahead of me to Lake St Clair. I realise this ‘Walking the Derwent’ is a puny project by comparison with the Bass Strait crossing by kayak. However, in my own terms, this is my ‘Mt Everest’ sized project.  I have never talked in this blog about my physical characteristics, but if you had my size, age, gender, health situation and other personal characteristics you might think that attempting this project is crazy.  My antidote to the fear is to remind myself to think of the small steps and not to concern myself with the big distances, the isolation and the impenetrable bush.  I tell myself that I only have to put one foot after the other, and that because each step is always okay, the whole distance can be achieved.

10 thoughts on “Setting ‘Mt Everest’ level goals

    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      Thanks for your support. I have been mapping out the stages between New Norfolk and Lake St Clair and trying not to be overwhelmed; but as I break it down into smaller and smaller chunks it seems doable. Right now, on the days I have time to walk, the weather is preventing me heading off for any more walks. I look forward to getting back out there.

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  1. theoldfellowgoesrunning

    I remember this quote back from when I was climbing (30 years ago), and I am not sure who has the source, but it goes, “overconfidence blurs the risk, inferiority magnifies it”.
    I don’t really know what lies ahead for you, but you have done your research and am not going this stretch blindly.
    I really admire you for honestly sharing feeling very vulnerable. It shows strength. I know you will do this, and will look back and take pride in this achievement.
    Am rooting for you every step of the way. 🙂
    ~Carl~

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    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      Thanks for your support and I like the quote. The psychology of all of this is so interesting. Even in normal life, parts of my brain can sometimes be saying two contradictory things at once; there is the naysayer which reflects more conservative views around me and the ‘sure you can do it’ which is based on lots of experience trying something new and succeeding. It is the second message which encourages me. Another message I give myself is associated with the question ‘what is the worst that can happen’. Well the worst is not death because then I won’t know about it and so that’s not a worry. The worst is injury and since I will take an EPIRB to signal where I am, it will only be a matter of waiting for help to arrive. People survive worse than that. Mainly I am excited to keep going but realistically know I need to wait until Spring (August) or later to tackle some of the remoter wilderness bits. I am grateful Tasmania has no predatory animals. All our snakes are potentially deadly but I like snakes and have never been worried by them in the past. So … this makes my future paths safe in that regard.

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      1. theoldfellowgoesrunning

        Thanks for such a incredible detailed response. Just hit me, yes, you would be going into fall season now. Weather does play such a HUGE factor, and I know you will trust your instincts. We have black bears in Canada which we always need to be wary of, and except for a shy endangered rattlesnake that we never encounter hiking, the snakes here are all non poisonous. I would definitely need to learn more on Australian snakes, if I were ever to embark on a hiking adventure there!
        Much respect!
        ~Carl~

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        1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

          Our snakes only want to bite you if you step on one or corner one; makes sense. Otherwise they generally feel the noise and vibrations of your tread before you reach them and slither away. I have come across some curled up in my path. Then I wait and move the ground a bit, and they (having been enjoying a sunbake) think an intruder has wrecked their sleep and so slip off into the undergrowth. I would guess most Tasmanians have never seen a snake in the wild. So if you decided to walk here, all you would really need to know is the latest approach to managing a snake bite medically.

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  2. DeeScribes

    “I see it as a strong reminder that our bodies are capable of so much more than we push them through, and that it is our minds which sets most limits.”

    Absolutely! Our attitudes influence our outcomes. Your journey has happened one step at a time, and in keeping that forward movement, you will accomplish the goal. Of that, I am certain. And we will support you on the way!

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    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      Thanks for your support as usual. Kelly may have told you she and I had a little discussion about my feet and their problem when you whizzed off trail blazing to MONA. But the medicos find nothing wrong, so the fact they hurt when I walk is not going to kill me – it is just has to be mind over matter.

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