My name is Nik Southwell but you can call me Southy. Why am I interested in the trip to Everest Base Camp? It's like Ollie Blake was taught and put it; "life is all about the journey" and he has had a very special and influential person to show him that, Pippa Blake. I am very grateful that I can be part of this life-changing journey.
I was born in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and have always had it in my blood for hiking amongst Mother Nature’s greatest creations. Raised on the Los Angelo’s ranch in northern Alberta, I was taught a "grab life by the horns and run with it" lifestyle and that you cannot take anything for granted. The day after my high school graduation, I challenged the Golden Triangle on my bike through the Rocky Mountains and this journey gave way to what I wanted to do with my life. I chose to move to Edmonton (and now Vancouver Island) where I pursued the sport of Triathlon for 10 years. Racing for Team Canada over the years allowed me to meet some amazing individuals - one of them being Jasper Blake.
The first time I met Jasper was at National Duathlon Championships in the early 90’s. It was pretty much just a handshake for a job well done on the podium. But I will never forget the image of watching this guy out sprint me at the finish line to run up and hug this lady in a wheelchair. I didn’t know why this image would always stick with me but I think I know now - those two individuals who showed so much respect, emotion and love for one another through that hug would be two people that I would later share an epic journey with.
I’ve become very close with Jasper since our racing days. We both have made Vancouver Island home and have had many interesting traveling experiences together. He has told me many stories about his family upbringings and I have had the great opportunity to meet this amazing woman, Pippa, who I think changes many peoples' lives through a positive willingness to continually interact, learn and teach despite the daily challenges MS throws at her.
Thank you to the Blake family and Kristina for allowing me the opportunity to make one's dream become a reality.