When twenty-one-year-old Jessie Fuller decided to take on the world alone and trek to the Everest base camp she was told she would need good quality hiking boots. Taking the advice to heart, Jessie went out and bought an expensive pair of [highly recommended] hiking boots for her journey, but after trying to break them in with little success she decided the footwear just wasn’t for her. Instead, she grabbed her trusty Blundstone boots, and tossed them in her bag, ready to take on the world with simple pull-on comfort.
Inspired by her dad’s travel journals that she used to read as bedtime stories, Jessie knew she always wanted to travel and explore the world. Not one who likes being told what she can’t do, Jessie was determined to make her first solo-trek to Everest one to remember and prove everyone wrong. She flew into Nepal with no real plan, only the determination to see Everest, as her father had. A chance to follow in his footsteps—sporting her favourite boots—and find herself as an independent, young woman.
She ended up doing the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Gokyo Lake Trek, both popular options for other adventurous travellers. However, Jessie wanted to make it her own, and instead of flying into the popular starting point of Lukla, Nepal, she set her sights on the small village, Jiri, and started her adventure from there. With that can-do attitude, her trusty Blunnies and her backpack, she set off on her trek. Though it wasn’t without looks, Jessie shares, “other trekkers kept asking me why I was wearing slippers trekking but I honestly think they were jealous because I looked so stylish.” Not to mention comfortable.
The trip was not without its challenges, including getting lost a few times “which was terrifying” since Jessie opted out of having a guide. But with a bit of courage and trusting her intuition, she always found her way back. Despite the decision to venture alone, there were still times she felt lonely and afraid that made her question her choices and tempted her give into the nay-sayers and give up on her dreams.
But Jessie prevailed. She pushed herself, determined to appreciate the beauty of the Himalayas and embrace the feeling of being so small amongst the large mountains.
Coming from a quaint town in interior British Columbia, Jessie is accustom to hiking and skiing the Canadian Rockies and feeling as “small as a bug”. But after experiencing Everest, she can honestly claim that “nothing really compares to being alone in the Himalayas.” And she was constantly inspired by the people she encountered. Many Sherpa families living amongst the places she traversed, had almost nothing, yet were “the happiest and most giving people.” An eye-opening experience.
Not to mention the spectacular view that was Everest. Jessie admits to getting emotionally overwhelmed with the beauty of it all and the chance to experience the stories she’d read.
“This trip was [probably] the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Jess shares, and despite the times she wanted to quit, she would recommend it to anyone looking for a life-changing experience. As long as you follow your intuition and never let anyone decide what you can’t do, you can do anything you put your heart into. “Be brave and live in the moment, because the hard and scary moments will pass, but the good ones do to.”
With one foot in front of the other, Jessie and her Blundstone boots conquered Everest and that is something she will remember forever.