For 6 months I trained and prepared for a trip of a lifetime; 10 days in India followed by 2 weeks in Nepal trekking to the base camp of Everest. My time in India was amazing, seeing pretty much everything you could possibly see within 5 days. But after 5 days in India, I caught what is commonly known as Delhi Belly and was out for the county. 4 days without eating and laying in bed in excruciating pain calling home and crying on the phone. When Friday came and I was 2 days away from leaving for Nepal I was in the most pain I had been all week. I called it the rainstick of hell that I could feel the bacteria scrape my insides anytime I moved. It was during that time (and that night of almost no sleep – luckily it was America’s daytime so that I could be on the phone most the night). It was during this time that I had to decide if I could stay on the trip.
On Saturday morning I started taking an antibiotic my doctor had prescribed just in case something like this were to happen. The problem with taking Antibiotics overseas is that it wipes out all your natural bacteria leaving your body defenseless against any new bacteria, and since you are in a foreign country all the bacteria is new bacteria. So now I not only feel like I’m dying, but I’m putting my body at a higher risk by taking away it’s only defense. I also had to take into consideration the 6 months I had put into getting ready for this trip and the faces I would have to face when I returned. From my gym who trained me, to the people who were helping sponsor me, to every single person I had told about this trip.
For me leaving early and not going on this trek was the biggest failure. How was I going to be able to face home and how could I live with this failure. What it came down to was the fact that I could barely walk without falling over, I had no defense system and the risks that come with climbing to 20,000 feet 100% healthy were high enough. So there was no question that I was going to have to turn back and not go on my big adventure.
I traveled to Nepal so that I could take my flight home. I was able to spend 2 days there before taking 36 hours to get back to America. (Including one 5 hour flight to Qatar with an 8-hour layover, a 14-hour flight to Chicago where I almost got thrown up on and had to endure and deafening scream of a small child behind me, and a 3-hour layover and a final 2-hour flight to Denver.)
When I returned I had to face my fate. I was afraid of what people would say to me or think of me. That they would think I chickened out and just couldn’t do it. What turned out was an outpour of support. People I hadn’t talked to in years messaged me giving me their support and friends and family wrote to me telling me that they totally understood and that Everest just wasn’t ready for me.
So the only thing I had left to face was myself and figuring out where to go next, what did I want to do. I had spent so much time working towards being an Adventure photographer that I never really looked to see if this was the photographer I really wanted to be, and after traveling to the other side of the world and back I realized this wasn’t where I wanted to be. I want to be a photographer and I wouldn’t mind traveling some, but not all the time and I want to work with people first and foremost. So Katie Leigh Photography started off in a new direction towards portrait and Event photography which brings us to where I am today; building a brand that I’m proud of and doing the things that I love to do. It seems that one of my biggest failures is what’s leading me to my real dreams.