Callum Shaikh Completes His World Challenge Trip – Nepal 2018
Altitude sickness, 15 cold showers, more miles of trekking than one can count and leeches galore – Callum Shaikh’s World Challenge Nepal has been completed!
We sat down with Callum to delve deep into his experiences on his World Challenge Trip to Nepal.
Before you set off, did you have tasks to complete?
“I was responsible for organising activities for the trip. I organised a zip wire experience for the group. It was unfortunate that this didn’t pan out due to safety reasons but I was able to organise white water rafting for the group instead which turned out to be really good.”
“I also helped on the food team while on the trip. Where possible, we provided three options for the group at dinner time. This included either 1. Nepalese dish 2.Fried rice or 3. A western option such as pasta.”
What sort of diet did you experience in Nepal?
“Before the trip started, we all decided to go vegetarian for the full month of our trip. This was mainly due to meat potentially causing more food borne illness than sticking to a vegetarian diet in Nepal. We still experienced illness from the food as to be expected in a new environment but it was on a smaller scale.”
“Some of the staples of the diet while on our trip included eggs at breakfast, curried potatoes, rice, dahl, and lots of bread.”
“In terms of water, we all brought chlorine drops with us so that the drinking water was safe enough to drink. 1 litre of water required 4 drops and we would need to wait at least 5 minutes for it to kill all of the bacteria before drinking.”
What struck you most about the Nepalese people?
“They are very friendly and welcoming. They also are such hard workers. We saw many carrying items that we couldn’t imagine lifting and they were carrying these loads quite a distance and uphill. All of this hard work for a very small salary as well.”
What was the best piece of kit you brought for the trip?
“I think that my hydration pack was a good choice. It did add a lot of weight during the treks as it carried about 3 litres of clean water. However, I was able to stay hydrated easily whereas others needed to continue to fill up and wait for their water to be drinkable.”
What was the most difficult part of the trip?
“Probably the lack of usual comforts. Particularly the cold buckets of water we used as showers were a change to get used to.”
“The rocky terrain was a concern. As it was monsoon season, the rocks were very slippery and could easily result in injury.”
“Also, the leeches were relentless!”
Did you or anyone else in the team find it difficult to cope at times?
“I think everybody struggled a bit as it is vastly different from our usual lives in many ways. It’s a really humbling experience. Everyone agreed that it was more than worth the short discomfort in some situations as it really was an experience of a lifetime.”
Could you tell us a few highlights of the trip?
“There were quite a few! I would say reaching Annapurna base camp was one. It was 4,130 metres to the top! We were the first World Challenge group this year where everyone got to Annapurna Base Camp. That was quite an accomplishment we felt. Also – white water rafting, taking a dip in a natural hot spring after 12 days of trekking, seeing the tallest temple in Nepal and experiencing a flash flood during Monsoon season were all highlights.”
Most rewarding experience of the trip?
“Working with the children at the school in Kathmandu. We spent a great week there painting their school walls, removing rubble from the ground outside that was to become a playground and hauling sand up a hill to the school which is used to make plaster and to repair the school’s walls. When we weren’t working, we were playing games with the children – including teaching them ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’. The teachers and the children were so welcoming and happy. It was a great experience.”
“We came away with a real sense of making a difference.”
Did you have any funny moments where things went wrong?
“After a really exciting day of white water rafting and enjoying a buffet that evening, we all went to get settled in to our upgraded tents that the staff at the white water rafting facility so kindly sorted out for us due to the torrential rain. These tents had raised beds inside which was a real treat. They were limited on the number of beds so I slept on two foam mattresses on the ground. I didn’t get my sleeping bag out before bed as I thought it would be warm enough that night. Was I wrong! Temps dropped and I was absolutely freezing. I ended up sleeping on one foam mattress and trying to cover myself with the other. Needless to say, it was a very early rise that next morning for me. Still freezing, I topped the experience off with another cold water shower that morning to really get the senses going.”
“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my fund raising, making my trip possible, especially PG Mutual, as well as those who have followed along with my story. “
Shortly after returning from the trip of a lifetime, Callum received great news.
Callum has been accepted to Loughborough University and will begin his studies this autumn. We wish Callum the best of luck!Go Back