Sunday, December 17, 2017

Trini woman makes it to Everest Base Camp

Vera Seurattan displays the national flag as she stands at the base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal.

YET ANOTHER Trini has made it to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

The Fyzabad native, Vera Seurattan climbed with the aim of inspiring others to achieve their dreams.

She said: “I want children to see that despite whatever circumstances they are living in, that great things can be achieve and that they should dream big.”

Seurattan, an air traffic controller based in South Korea, began her journey on September 6 and completed it by September 14.

Originally from Mon Desir Road, Seurattan attended the Erin Road Presbyterian Primary School and moved to the United States with her parents and brother.

The solo adventurer said she never thought the trip would become a reality, but pushed herself given that she was close to Nepal.

“I got very excited because historic places have always interested me and Kathmandu in Nepal has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites alone. Nepal has a total of 10. After my nine day trek, I have three free days which I plan to utilize in exploring the temples in Kathmandu. Aside from successfully trekking to Base Camp, I'm most looking forward to eating some good Indian food as I've been away from my mother's cooking for about a year,” she said.

Seurattan joked about finding the Trini local cuisine of “doubles” or channa and buss-up-shot roti during her travel to Nepal.

She said she never had any aspirations to become a mountain climber and was never a fan of hiking or trekking, but after doing research, she felt compelled to plan a trip to Kathmandu which quickly spiralled into a Mouth Everest trekking trip.

“I reasoned that it would be a once in a life time opportunity and it'd be unwise to pass it up. It's also quite a thing to cross off my bucket list. At this stage in my life I realize that I'm unlikely to find major epiphanies or divine inspiration on the mountain. However, I hope to experience something outside all that I've experienced so far in my life. The Nepalese people are known for their generosity and kindness. I simply hope to see a lot of smiling faces on the trekking route and in the villages I stop in overnight.

For me travel is important because it is easy to become jaded with the routine of everyday work and life demands.Travel allows for a respite from these things and it often puts things into perspective and your big problems become more insignificant.

Everyone is born an explorer I believe, and while I might have been glued to my mother's, aunt's and grandmothers hips as a young child I still found time to explore. My fondest memories of my time living in Trinidad are of exploring in both of my grandfather's land and climbing the plum and mango trees with my cousins. Every time I am back in Trinidad, I make time to return to the land and explore because it is what makes me feel most connected to the Earth.”

Speaking about the trip, she excitedly recalled the events.

Though she fell violently ill due to altitude sickness, one of the more hilarious things, she said she entered was having to dodge yak droppings.

She said: “It was an incredible, once in a lifetime trip. I suffered from symptoms of altitude sickness starting on day three and did not feel better until day seven of nine once I had reached a sufficiently low altitude. I suffered from headaches and nausea. I was pretty miserable once I got to Everest Base Camp, the symptoms had taken out all of the excitement from me. I simply wanted to get the task done.

After talking about it with my trek guide and fellow trek companion Alberto Maria Caputo, an Italian from Rome, I found I was quite proud of myself for completing it because they were quite worried about me not making it. I had no idea. They kept it a secret until after I was feeling better to tell me they had been a bit worried.

I must mention that I am most impressed by the Yak. I would pause to watch them go by every time. They are amazing animals who do a great service to the mountains and its people. They are graceful and majestic animals that quietly move goods and materials up the mountains. They wear bells around their necks that make the most harmonious sounds. I brought five yak bells to take home with me. I promised at least one to my mother (in lieu of gold earrings).

The entire trail, except for the last three hours to Everest Base Camp, is littered with yak droppings which I was excited to find out they also call gobar in Nepal, just like in Trinidad. You really have to be careful to steer clear of the droppings that are everywhere. I found it quite comforting to see though, since I'm pretty much in love with yaks now.”

Seurattan said she hopes to continue mountain climbing but may opt for a less challenging route next time.

“As far as future trekking goes, I hope to convince my brother to accompany me to trek the Inca Trail in Peru that leads up to Machu Picchu. It is much more simple than the approximately 75 mile round trip trek of Everest Base Camp and only has a max altitude of 2680 metres. I am looking forward to something a little less challenging,” she said.