Meet the 2017 Hike Nepal Team: Clare Hozack

Justine asked me (Clare) on the weekend if i was going to write my own story here, and I hadn’t really thought of doing it, so i guess i wasn’t going to! But she got me thinking, and i do actually have some things to say, so i went through this process this morning.

 

I did not chose to do Everest Base Camp (EBC). It was just the most popular overseas trip, I am going to Base camp just because you guys voted for it! Having said that, i continue to organise and participate in all our adventures because it is seriously the most rewarding thing I have ever done. When I was pregnant with Evie, Chris (my husband) told me that he was content not to travel anymore… but I wasn’t! I wanted to find a way to “have it all”. After she was born I stumbled on a local Dee Why company called “Cycle Samoa” who desperately wanted people to visit Samoa, to the point where they gave us the itinerary and everything we needed for free. So I found people who were willing to do it with me – the “originals” Di and Jen – and off we went! Read this story here.

 

The trip that started it all. 4 women and 10mth old Evie, cycling 300km around Savaii

I realised on that trip that these adventures were so much more meaningful than simply “going overseas”. For one, Di said to me (as she signed a $3000 contract) that she “couldn’t imagine being able to do this” (cycle 300km in Samoa). What an honour that she trusted me enough to try, and what a feeling when, of course, she DID do it!!

Mountain Bike NZ crew. Maia was cooking (7mths), and Anna (on my right) was also pregnant – 8.5mths to be exact!

I have a story like this for every trip – Debbie, who we gave up on and left on the trail so we didn’t miss sunrise over Macchu Picchu – made it with 5min to spare. Martin, very overweight but lead our cycling team across NZ. The entire Cambodia Team who hiked and CAMPED 100km across FLAT and 40 degree Cambodia when they’d trained for mountainous, 5 degree Nepal. Brave Dave, overweight and diabetic, who trained alone with Jade and I and didn’t miss a beat. Kass, who hiked Annapurna on two broken legs. Margaret who turned couldn’t hike Alexander st without a panic attack, then achieved ABC, turning 70 three days after returning home….

Deb and I at Macchu Picchu

The list goes on. These adventures and these people have made my life so rewarding, and I thank everyone of you who gives ME the opportunity to show YOU what you’re capable of in this amazing world. You can use the links in the paragraph above to read more details about those trips and the people who went on them!

I know that the going will get tough, but what gets me through is the fact that I am privileged to be here, doing this, right now. For me, success doesn’t feel so good if you don’t suffer for it. It is the very act of suffering that makes success so damn intoxicating! And this is true for everyone who comes on these adventures. It has to be a little bit tough, for the achievement to be worthwhile.

Completing “the hunge” (100km) in Cambodia wasn’t just tough because we weren’t fit for the conditions, but we also had gastro sweep our entire team.

 

I will have more challenges this year than i have had in the past. I have had a few injuries; to name a few, two hernias (one life threatening), chronic and debilitating gut and back pain, plantar fasciitis, and surgery. I am frightened that one of these things might hold me back, and even more frightened of ignoring them and doing further damage. It is important to me that I learn the skills of “being in the moment” and enjoying the journey, so that i don’t beat myself up when i have to stop. In this way, the most important part of this journey for me is learning how to stop, slow down, breath, and be at peace. To let go of the need to be “doing” something all the time, to let go of the “end game”, “objective”, “goal” and just revel in the experience.

My favourite motivational quote is by Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I was in the Australian Sailing Team from 2001 – 2005 and this quote resonated with me. I try to live my life by it.

The thing that i am looking forward to the most is seeing everyone on the finish line (not at EBC, but when we finish hiking and get back to Lukla). They’ll be exhausted after 14 days of hiking, of insecurity, uncertainty, & facing their fears – and that day they will realise that they did it, they got through it, and they no longer want to stab me with a fork but hug me and say it was all worth it!

The day we finished Annapurna Base Camp in 2016. Even the porters and guides became an integral part of our “unit”, and you can see how close we all were despite the dirt, sweat, and dust!

 

What’s next for me is Yoga and Surfing in Bali. To be honest, I am looking forward to the change of pace. I need a trip with a little less pressure, and then I can hit the ground running again in 2019.

 

So thank you all for putting your faith and dreams in the hands of me and my gym. It is not just a life changing experience for you, it is also for me to and I couldn’t imagine life without it!

x Clare

 

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