Returning from Everest Base Camp with a heavy heart, my trip cancelled we were caught up in the Kathmandu Earthquake

Last month I wrote to you about goal setting – Big Hairy Audacious Goals, also known as BHAGs – (The term ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book).  These would be goals that change you, that make you reach higher than you have before and strive to become a better you and scare you enough to take action every day.  Goals that force you way out of your comfort zone, that excite you and maybe even excite the people around you.  My BHAG was walking to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side.  Over a 12 month period I prepared myself physically, mentally and emotionally for this trek and within 3 days of a 21 day trip it was all over.   I was in Nepal when the earthquake hit and we immediately knew we would not be trekking to Everest Base Camp this time, and this poor country would be forever changed.

So what next?  What to do when you set your heart on something and don’t get it through no fault of your own?  What lessons can be learned?

Of Course there is personal disappointment but it is hugely put into perspective when you see the destruction of this beautiful place, with its kind and cheerful people who on a very good day do not have very much at all.  I was back in Tassie within a week having had what can only be described as a whistle stop tour of Chinese Airports and 1 and a half days in beautiful Lhasa, Tibet.  I was exhausted, emotional, anxious yet happy to be alive with my lovely family, back in Tasmania where the earth does not rock beneath your feet.

For a few days I was very restless.  I wanted to hike and head off on any number of difficult treks – Kokoda, the Overland Track, Rinjani, Larapinta, Jatbula all came to mind – and all were rejected as too emotional, too volatile, not hard enough or I did not have someone to go with.  It was time to stay put and set a new goal.  I’m now comfortable with my decision to stay put and properly plan a few local walks.  Not much beats what we have in Tassie – its temperamental, hard, sometimes technical, isolated (and the chance of an earthquake or volcano erupting is really unlikely).  I’ve joined a local hiking group and I have a new local hiking buddy who I trust.

Finding a BHAG taught me a lot about myself and when a friend asked was I disappointed about putting in all that physical preparation and not using it I can honestly say I’m not.  It was a great year where I was fully focused on a goal.  It was the journey that mattered, the destination was secondary.  I’ve kept the exercise habits and mindset and I’m eating well. Perhaps you can relate to this, perhaps not, but once again I suggest you look deeply at a BHAG, be brave, and go for it!


Hobart Observer June 2015

Jo Cordell-Cooper runs the twice award winning Active Solutions and Health Network specialising in women’s fitness – all ages, all stages.  Contact her on 0409 862206, or at

Sharing is caring!