We are leaving in 20 days.
For seven months our group of trekkers have been training, fundraising and learning together to get ready for an epic journey around Mont Blanc. Three countries, 170 km. With only 20 days before we leave my attention is turning towards the mental preparation necessary to do this trek well.
Just like last year in Peru, everything changes when you make it to the mountain. All the planning and preparation comes down to the 14 days we are in the mountains. The word that resonates with me right now is preparation. Educators all know about how to prep, it is what makes all the difference for a successful school year. Getting ready for the Tour de Mont Blanc is like one long prep. We certainly have had the time, now we are moving to the front of the room.
The prep takes place on several levels but I am not going to catalogue it here. That is not interesting at all. But there are elements that are good to write about.
First, training the body is an essential part of the voyage and it is really liberating.
Focussing on your body and seeing it as your vehicle for success is not something we normally do. We usually take our bodies and our physical health for granted. Cars take us to work and even if we work out we seldom see ourselves as the vehicle. I really like the Chase Mountains series of Youtube videos because he is all about prepping for the climb.
The video above is really helpful as he breaks down the type of physical preparation you need to do to be successful on the mountain. Take a look at this video – it is pretty short. The one big thing, the one thing that takes a really long time is mobility – up to 3-6 months! My mobility is terrible, but I have been working at it for months. Recently (too late for sure) I have started doing more yoga. My 61-year old body simply isn’t as mobile as it used to be.
One other person who I follow who really speaks to preparation is Elia Saikaly. I have followed him for years and he has spoken to students in three schools I have worked in. He has lots to say to kids, especially those who struggle to fit in. As a young person, Elia lived on the streets, got kicked out of several schools and rebelled against all authority. His story of turning things around is compelling.
The Unclimbed Series featuring Elia and fellow climber Gabriel Filippi is really interesting. In episode 3, Elia focusses on preparation. This is really worth watching if you plan to take on any really challenging task. You don’t have to be planning for the summit of an 8000m mountain. Your challenge is unique to yourself. The preparation, however, has to be done. It is partly physical, mental and I would say spiritual as well.
It is a comfort to be focussing on the physical. The trip planning and the fundraising are just about done. We are on track to raise $35,000 for Christie Lake Kids and with last year’s campaign, we have raised over $60,000 for inner city kids in Ottawa. One program – STEM education for girls actually started because of the fundraising we are doing.
Preparation allows for transformation. Physical prepping transforms your body and mind. Good program prepping is transforming the lives of low-income kids in Ottawa.
Transformative Recreation® is our unique way to engage kids in having fun, but also a powerful way to help them develop the values & skills that will help them to change the way they look at themselves, their relationships & the world around them.
Good preparation allows you to tell important stories – Elia has done this for years. The Climb for Albinism is a wonderful example of how this can all come together to produce something important and good.
These trips need careful prepping. Preparation can lead to something important. What is true for the classroom is equally true for adventures that raise awareness and support Transformative Recreation.
There is lots of video material to look at in this post. It all helps to explain why we prepare. Here is one more, a quick summary of what we have done this year to get ready for Climb for Kids II.
Soon we will have an inReach map up on the Christie Lake Kids website so you can follow us in the trek around Mont Blanc. Hope you follow us. Hope you contribute.
When we return, we still start to prep for Year III. Life is all about good prep.