Trekking the Great Wall of China

Trekking the Great Wall of China

Tomorrow I fly home after having the most mentally and physically challenging experience of my life. I have pushed myself further than I thought possible, have made new lifelong friends along the way and have seen some of the most breath taking views.

On Saturday I flew out to China in celebration of my 40th birthday! This year I wanted to do something completely different and tick off one of the biggest challenges on my bucket list, to trek the Great Wall of China.

Prior to arriving in China the organisers of the trek had created a social media group, where everyone in the group could chat online, sharing packing and training advice before we met. This was brilliant, as it felt like I was meeting friends on the first day and wasn’t anxious about travelling on my own and not knowing anyone.

On the first day me and a group of 9 managed to trek 8km in just 3.5 hours, I’m not going to lie; it was so much harder than I thought. The last half of the days walking, was all downhill and I was really pleased I had packed my trekking poles, they made a massive difference in reducing the pressure on my achy knees and back whilst helping maintain my balance – otherwise I’m sure I would have fallen over!

The second day was a real test, both mentally and physically, as we scrambled and climbed the wall. I enjoyed this more than the steep steps and slopes, however, these both returned during the second half of the day. I hit my mental wall at one point, thinking we only had 1 more incline to go but 10 minutes later we were still trekking!  I didn’t realise how mentally focussed I would need to be to complete the trek. Putting my boots on every morning, when everything ached, was a challenge in itself. Physically it’s not just the aching muscles it’s the heat and subsequent heat rash that slowly covered my body.

On day three, getting up and ready was the longest and hottest day yet, everything hurt, thankfully I was with such an amazing, inspiring group of people they helped me through the day and kept me motivated.

The day we finished I was buzzing, I managed to pretty much stay with the group the whole way, in fact, there were parts where I was leading……amazing!!!!! Absolutely amazing!!!!!

I was taken aback and surprised how emotional I felt at the end of the trek. I was overjoyed and massively proud of myself for achieving this once in a life time experience, it’s something I will never forget.

Whilst I work at the Hospice, I have my own experience of the services provided and have seen the support given to some of my closest friends during the saddest times of their lives, so raising sponsorship money for the Hospice was an obvious choice. I’m immensely proud to say I raised over £2,000 in total – which makes the whole thing even better!. I am in the lucky position where my day job allows me to show my appreciation and gratitude for the support my friends have received and, the care given to their loved ones receiving palliative care.

Jodie, Fundraising Manager, St Michael’s Hospice

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The Hospice is looking for individuals keen to take on challenges across the globe. If you’re looking for your next big challenge, please contact us on 01424 457985 or email us.