As I sit in the Hong Kong Airport, awaiting my flight to Kathmandu, I can’t help but feel a bit of deja vu. On my first trip to the Himalaya (2008), I flew this same route as a bright-eyed kid, excited for the journey and with no idea how the trip would change me. At the time I was there simply for trekking – to make it to Everest base camp and, having read countless adventure books about it, to finally see the mountain for myself. But the trip had a more profound impact on me: the Khumbu glacier was not how I expected a glacier to look. It seemed unhealthy: pock-marked with lakes and covered in rubble. I needed to learn more.
So here I am in 2013, back again to the Himalaya, but now for research purposes. My first two field seasons (June 2011; November 2012) were learning experiences in many capacities. There were difficulties I did not anticipate, and, at times, my abilities did not match my ambitions. So I learned, adapted, worked harder and smarter. The challenges will continue, of that I am sure. For me, this work extends beyond a PhD. I am driven by my love of nature, a desire to understand it, and a desire to protect it. This is a life-long journey for me. I feel ready – excited – for the next stage of this project!