G’day my name is James.
I’m 31 years old and I live in Canberra, Australia. I’m an exercise scientist by trade and I make a living working as a strength and conditioning coach for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) servicing athletes from Volleyball Australia and TennisACT. I also do some casual teaching in the Health & Community Science department at Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).
I guess you are probably wondering why I started Trekking4Nepal? Well… here goes.
On the 3rd of April 2015, I traveled to Nepal for a father/son trekking trip to the Annapurna Sanctuary. My Dad’s name is Steve by the way; he was a Science teacher at my high school for 30 years and now a seismologist for Geoscience Australia. This was my Dad’s first time in Asia and our first serious trek together, we’ve done plenty of walks previously, including the Kimberly, WA and Australia’s Red Centre, NT but nothing like this.
Dad and I were in Nepal for 18 days – 10 of these days were designated for trekking; the others were spent in either Kathmandu, Pokhara or in transit. The Annapurna Sanctuary blew my mind, it’s so scenic; one minute you’re in a rainforest, next surrounded by monkeys climbing amongst rhododendrons, then alpine desert, and then snow.
Accommodating our trip were 4 Nepalese guides and 5 porters. I felt a connection for every single one of them because they were so happy with so little. The porters need an extra special mention, they were in beast mode every day, carrying loads equal to their body weight, up and down, up and down, it was truly incredible.
But I’ll cut to the chase. My trip came to an end. I flew out of Kathmandu on Tuesday 21st of April at 11:00 pm and arrived back in Sydney at 9:00 pm, Wednesday, April 23rd. I returned to work at 5.30am the following morning and spent the day reminiscing my trip and giving my clients insight into how beautiful life in Nepal is. I was confident that I wanted to go back as soon as possible as the Nepal community had such a positive impact on my life.
Then, it was a short 3 days later that I got a call. It was Dad. “James”, he said. “You’re not going to believe this, Nepal has suffered an earthquake. It’s big, 7.8!”
The irony! Dad watches earthquakes for Australia and surrounding areas; he does tsunami warning for the government. My first reaction, gosh, in the scheme of geological events, that’s a close call. My next reaction, what about my guides and porters? So, I jumped on the internet and saw hundreds dead, and even more missing or injured. I then exhausted all of my energy into trying to contact my guides and any friends that I had made in the country during my trip, I felt helpless.
More than 8,500 people were killed in wake of the earthquake and aftershocks. I had the epiphany on Wednesday (29/4) afternoon, that I was going to do something.
Trekking4nepal was born.
To date I’ve raised more than $20,000 for the Nepalese, I’ve received worldwide media attention, and I’ve grown a following over 1,000 on facebook.
I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing, but I do know I want to raise as much money as possible and I will do it by trekking further than I ever have before.
My vision for Trekking4Nepal is to Inform, Inspire and Rebuild.
Inform the Trekking4Nepal community that Nepal has suffered unfathomable devastation, thus continued assistance and awareness is essential.
Inspire others to trek (Nepal’s major tourist attraction) around Australia; share our trekking experience with the intent that others will try trekking out, and consider a future trekking trip to Nepal.
Rebuild Nepalese communities in the worst affected areas by delivering plans & funding for natural disaster-resilient housing utilizing traditional Nepalese building resources.