“Left out in the cold and I’m not talking about the WEATHER!”

Women in parka, 50, fabulous & finally free

With our wedding only 6 weeks away, my fiancé insisted that we take a trip around the world returning 3 weeks before our wedding. It was so stressful!

We leave on a trip around the world…

Our first stop was Hong Kong: What should have been a great start wasn't. My fiancé was furious that I wanted to simply take a nap, a red flag, which set him off for the next few days. We were only there for a couple of days, but we were arguing the entire time. Everything was an issue. It was a miserable start to a really long trip!

Second stop, Katmandu/Nepal: In typical fashion for my fiancé, he had to win at everything! Everything was always a competition, especially with a large group of people. On this trip, one of the events was a chance to go to Mount Everest. There were so many people who wanted to go; they grouped us into three groups. The winners, which were Group A, would be going up to base camp, stay there overnight, and return the next day. Group B was to go up with group A to base camp and return down the mountain later that day and on to the helicopter back to the city. The next day group C was to helicopter up, go to base camp, and group A & C would return to the helicopter and head back to the city later that day. My fiancé had to win and be in-group A! I don’t recall how we did it but we ended up in group A. Sounds fun? It wasn’t!

First off, we had to pack a light bag to take for our overnight stay; all I had was a small Louis Vuitton bag, which didn’t exactly fit the criteria for hiking but it was all I had! The plan was that we were going to helicopter in and land on a glacier. We would then walk up to the base camp. Little did I know, we actually were hiking up to base camp.

We arrived at the airport where we boarded a helicopter that looked like it was 50+ years old! I hesitantly boarded the Helicopter.

Picture this...

We are basically strapped inside an aluminum shell, sitting on bench seats that lined the walls. In the center of this shell of a helicopter were boxes of food, crates with live chickens, and additional boxes of rations for the Nepalese people who live at the base of Mount Everest. It was like a scene from a different era!

I don’t know what I was thinking wearing tennis shoes and carrying a Louis Vuitton bag and I am sure that they were wondering the same thing! There was nothing glamorous about this and I was definitely not prepared! When the helicopter started you couldn’t even talk it was so loud! It was not only loud but it was freezing, I was terrified! I can’t remember how long the flight was but I was never so grateful to land as I was when that helicopter landed on top of that glacier! We all got off the helicopter and everyone proceeded to follow our Nepalese guides. These Nepalese people were so kind, but I can only imagine what they thought when I got off the helicopter with my tennis shoes and bag. We all started the hike up the mountain, but within two minutes I had fallen three times. It wasn’t snow; I was trying to hike up an ice incline with zero traction. I was immediately told to go back down to where we started and to wait on a bench near the helicopter. I wasn’t alone; I waited with another ill-prepared wife. It was really odd because, she and I didn’t talk; she wasn’t very friendly but she ended up being way smarter than me! After what seemed like hours, as the sun started to go down, the helicopter pilot approached us. In very broken English, he made it clear to us that there was a storm coming in and that he was going to leave… IMMEDIATELY! He would not be waiting for group B to return, he was leaving right then!

We understood fully what he was saying...he told us to get in the helicopter, but I felt like I could not just leave and instead chose to stay and wait for someone to return to help me up the mountain. It would be wrong of me to leave my fiancée wondering what had happened to me. He must have been worried sick and would have no way of knowing that I had made it safely back down the mountain. The helicopter could not communicate with base camp so it would not be until the group returned down the mountain that they would realize that the helicopter had left and that they were stuck.

The helicopter pilot along with the other wife, said, “OK” and left me sitting there! I am sure they thought I was an idiot!

To recap...

We were on a glacier.

There was nothing around except a huge mountain, snow and ice for as far as you could see and me sitting on the bench with wind getting stronger and stronger as the minutes went on!

As it got darker and darker I was worried that I might freeze to death! I had on sweats and a parka, but I am not even sure that I had gloves on. Way off in the distance, I could see some faint lights. I knew that that must be where the Nepalese people lived. I knew that I couldn’t wait there forever and gave some serious thought to walking toward the lights… I knew though that I was on a glacier and that glaciers had crevices that in the darkness I would be unable to see. I was starting to panic.

I truly had been sitting there for a couple of hours when thankfully a sweet, small Nepalese man returned with a donkey to get me up the mountain. I was so happy to see him and that donkey! I rode up the mountain carrying my Louis Vuitton bag up to base camp where I got off the donkey and immediately slipped and fell. I fell again as I opened the door to the base camp, literally falling in to the room!

My fiancé, whom I was sure must be worried sick about me, couldn’t have cared less. Everyone was around a large fire pit, which was emitting what had to be deadly fumes, and my fiancé was the center of attention telling jokes as everyone had opened bottle after bottle of wine! He really didn’t even notice I wasn’t there…

Let me paint this picture…

Base camp has an altitude of 17,000 feet and is not a resort; it actually is not even for normal people to ever even visit. It was as basic and rough as it could be. It had no running water and you had to pour water (melted snow) that had been warmed to get the toilets to flush!

This was not a place for type A personalities, this was a place for experienced, outdoorsy, serious mountain climbers who went there to prepare and acclimate before making an attempt of a lifetime to climb mount Everest and hopefully survive returning to base camp! Clearly, I had not gotten that memo!

I got to be the bearer of the bad news that EVERYONE would be staying there for the night! People had to bunk with strangers; as I recall there were only enough rooms and beds/cots for ½ of the people. The air quality was horrendous inside the facility and that coupled with the 17,000-foot altitude did not make anyone feel great; especially when everyone, except me, kept drinking and partying!

I was not happy; not because of our accommodations or the major headache that I had, but for the lack of concern that my soon to be husband had for my well-being. It was a rough night! Karma is a "you know what"! After consuming way too much wine, along with the poor air quality and altitude, as he deserved, my fiancé along with several others, got altitude sickness. My fiancé however, made everyone think that he was worse than anyone else and that he was dying. He was also complaining about the blister that he had gotten on the climb up and that he was too ill to have anyone sleep in our room!

Fortunately, and most likely because of all of his complaints, my fiancé and I got our own room with two cots, heavy blankets and a bucket of water! I was truly grateful for what we had, but I was furious. Not once was there any discussion of my ordeal, only complete focus on how bad he was feeling and hurting.

Visiting a wonder of the world truly was miserable and simply because of whom I was with!

It is amazing how someone can minimize your feelings and suck the energy and life out of you! We couldn’t even discuss what had happened, as everything was about him. Seriously, I should have seen this as a problem, but I chose not too!

I have a few pictures of the amazing Mount Everest, but the memories I have of my fiancé cast a dark shadow over it!

I was so happy to return back to civilization.

A couple of days later while in attendance at a Gala in India, I met a man from South Africa; I had noticed him looking at me throughout the trip. Randomly, that night he approached me and he told me that I was making a huge mistake by marrying this man; I laughed and joked with him thinking that he was hitting on me! Little did I realize – he was serious and more importantly, he was absolutely right!

Please share your story with us at mystory@50fabulousandfinallyfree.com

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