Being ready to live— at last

Two yrs ago in August 2013 I realized I weighed 100kg — the heaviest in my life. 6 months prior I had got onto the couch … And off everything else that has been pulling me in more directions than on a compass. Getting onto the couch had given me permission to just. stop. And stopping meant starting eating… But this isn’t a post about weight loss — but rather self gain. Two years it has taken to piece myself back together. And in Aug 2013 I was simply ready to move myself again. A friend persuaded me to go on girls-only weekend getaway to a guest lodge… In between yoga, cycling, spring sunshine and walks, an internal fire was rekindled and I decided to redo Kilimanjaro for a second time. On that successful Kili trip I refound the spirit of a person who had spent so much of her childhood in the mountains progressively improving and taking on greater and greater things: from being in the Eastern Cape mountains to leading in the Drakensburg, to overseas expeditions in Bolivia, Chile and Peru. And eventually my first visit to Everest Base Camp and Island Peak in Nepal. After the successful 2013 Kili trip, I continued Berg hikes complimented with a trip to the North Col of Everest, Mt Damavand in Iran and back to Peru bringing me naturally to the cusp of a trip I’ve lived my whole life for: a significant expedition to Nepal to climb an 8000m mountain. The strange thing is — I don’t need this the way I needed to get certificates, degrees, medals, ticks in boxes etc… Previously I had goals because I needed to feel accomplished, worthy or just hidden by them. Now it’s a simple want with no ego attached. Some girls want new shoes. I want to get up Manaslu. I want to go and absorb and breathe in every experience that this trip will provide. I want to look back on this time and know that I did good — no matter the outcome. I am ready. And I deserve this for just being me — at last.

**Jeannette will be travelling to Nepal in August 2015 to join an international mountaineering expedition to climb Manaslu — the 8th highest mountain in the world. If she succeeds she will become the first South African woman to do so.