Hiking the Great Wall of China – Interview with Emma Lewis
We’ve been catching up with Emma Lewis from Hip2Trek, a Yorkshire lass with an awesome recovery story to tell.
Hi Emma, Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Emma, I live in Yorkshire with my family and when I’m not out walking I help run our IT company, write my blog or very occasionally work as a film extra. My adventures involve walking, trekking, hiking and just getting outside really. I also recently took part in a charity trek on the Great Wall of China.
Sounds like you’ve got a busy life! Is it challenging fitting your adventures into your life?
My biggest challenge when trying to adventure is that I’ve had two major hip surgeries. My love of walking has come from having to walk myself to fitness and the gruelling physio exercise I’ve had to do to get there. The promise of my China adventure was great motivation and kept me going. I did wonder if I was being selfish as these adventures aren’t cheap. It was something I needed to do and I think the experience has made me better for it. If money weren’t an issue, I’d take the family on another trek with me!
You had 2 major hip surgeries and then hiked the great wall of china? that’s impressive! How big of a role did walking take in your recovery?
Walking helped in my recovery as it got me out of the house and was something different from the grueling physio exercises. It was also a good way to measure my progress from being able to walk up the road to increasing my miles, and seeing how far I’d come. Before the surgeries, being stuck inside was quite depressing so it was nice to able to enjoy the fresh air again.
Would you mind telling us a bit about your China trek?
I’ve never done anything like that before and I went on my own but with an organised group. I’m also terrified of flying and didn’t meet anyone else from my trip till after the two plane journeys to Beijing. It was an incredible trekking along such a magnificent structure, the heat, sheer number of steps and the vertiginous drops either side made it tough. Although emotionally and physically challenging it was such an amazing experience. I had a great group and I came home with 37 new friends.
That sounds amazing! Did you face any big challenges along the way?
The hardest part of the trek was on the first day, after 30 hours travelling, we had a ‘mini warm up’ on the wall. It was two hours walking in the lunchtime heat and we were jet lagged. The shock of how steep parts of the wall were and the extreme tiredness made me wonder what I had let myself in for. It was the only time whilst I was there that I doubted I could do it.
That sounds exhausting! Did you have any ‘wow’ moments that made it all seem worth it?
There were so many wow moments on the China trek. The most amazing moment that stands out is walking into one of the watchtowers to be greeted by a line of trekkers tapping their walking poles and singing ‘The Grand old Duke of York’. It was after a particularly tough climb up a steep slope and as each trekker made it to the top we joined the line to join in the singing. It was overwhelming and I cried but there was such great camaraderie.
We’re a little jealous! Do you have any more epic adventures lined up?
Now I’ve had a taste of adventure I quite fancy doing another international trek. There’s a few of my new friends from my China trip who fancy doing something else together, so it would be great to meet up again. I also did the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge a few weeks ago but the weather was awful and I didn’t finish in the tradition twelve hours. I’d quite like to beat that time one day!
What would you say to someone thinking about embarking on their own adventures?
My advice for anyone wanting adventure is DO IT! The biggest challenge, I think, is the mental challenge and believing in yourself that you can do it. Also, do your research about your adventure.
Great Advice! Any last words to inspire?
The words I now live by are ‘Believe you can’. My China trek has proved I’m capable of more things than I thought and belief and determination got me there.