Debra was there for our very 2nd Overseas Adventure in 2013 when we went to Peru and completed the Inca Trail. She came back for more in 2015, because she has always wanted to go to Nepal, but the earthquake diverted our trip to Cambodia instead! Debra has been through her fair share of adversity, developing Type 1 diabetes later in life, and the turmoil as a consequence. Debbie is fun, relaxed, pragmatic, and cheerful, and will bring a lot to our group through her own experiences of our past Overseas Adventures!
Debbie says the most important thing for her is completing the hike, whichever one she ends up doing. We have two options this year, one group is heading to Everest Base Camp, the other is doing the Panoramic Trek (they’ll see Everest but not climb it). However she also says “to be honest I am not worried if I don’t make it. If I have to do the scenic route I am happy to do it. I feel like if I am there I should give EBC a go, but if I don’t get there, just being in Nepal and getting around there is a huge achievement. I will never another opportunity to get there and do this.”
When asked about her strategies for coping with stressful days, she says “I am a stopper, I know you like to keep moving but i stop. I count to 30, take a pause, and keep going for another 30. It keeps me moving, and helps me focus on what I am doing, and I know I have to take these 30 steps and then I get a rest. I feel that I have to focus on what I am doing.” This was interesting to hear, as counting is a useful form of mindfulness and meditation technique, and Debbie has worked her own way out with no formal training! To motivate another team member, she will tell them a similar story to our other participants so far “One foot in front of the other. Take your time. If you want to stop, stop. It’s such an individual thing.”
For herself, Debbie’s biggest challenge is going to be managing her diabetes. The altitude affects her sugar levels, the higher she goes, the higher they go, and the more dangerous it gets for her. In her words, “It’s a matter of survival“. On her diabetes “I got diabetes when I was 52, it started with a thyroid condition which was an autoimmune disease and which leads to diabetes, which it did. I went straight to type 1 with no warning, i just woke up one day going blind and after about a month I could not see anything. Since then I have managed it, kept fit and healthy, I workout, eat as well as I can. I believe in moderation – I don’t believe in restricting yourself from anything – I also educated myself thoroughly, and signed myself up for all the trials. I believe they need more information, there is not enough information. It is also a very individual disease and how you deal with it is very individual too.”
Debbie’s mantra is “you can never do enough stairs”; to date she admits she has not done enough. She’s excited about the scenery and walking through little villages. And if she never chose this challenge for herself, she imagines that “I’d be sitting on the lounge drinking wine and having tim tams – being a diabetic only a moderate amount of tim tams. I’d be envious of everyone else going. I think that anybody that has the opportunity and doesn’t take will eventually , down the track, go “shit, I shoulda done that”.”
She remains realistic about “making it”, if she doesn’t she’ll just shrug with a “That’s the way it goes” attitude. However, if she makes it, she’ll be “very happy and I’ll have bragging rights“.
If you’d like to support our hiking group, then buy a Seven Women product from our website, or come hiking with us! 100% of the money for either of these things goes to the Seven Women charity, and Australian charity that provides refuge, skills training, and employment for disadvantaged women in Nepal, Indigenous Australia, and Africa.