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This time next year we’ll be millionaires!

This time next year we'll be millionaires

Not likely, unless I finally win the EuroMillions, but as someone who has watched a lot of Only Fools and Horses that just felt like the obvious end to the start of that sentence. In actual fact this time next year I will be in Peru ready to tackle the great Inca Trail Trek! (For more information about my great challenge see my I know what I’m doing blog post)

It’s quite scary really, I signed up to the challenge six short months ago and I do not know where that time has gone! When I signed up I was scared of what I was getting myself in to, I didn’t do a great deal of exercise (mainly walking and pole dance class), I didn’t really know anything about the Inca Trail (I now know a little bit about it) and I was terrified of committing myself to raising a minimum of £3800 – a huge sum of money, substantially more than any figure I have raised for charity previously.

Six short months down the line and I’ve already raised well over half of that amount, and a whole year of fundraising to go! My fitness levels are at the best they have ever been, and although I haven’t started training for long walks I’m pretty confident that my fitness and stamina will be a great help when I finally get around to long walks and hikes….which I WILL get around to soon, I promise!

I’ve suddenly realised that I haven’t actually updated you all on my fundraising activities. At my last update I mentioned that I’d reached the halfway point, and that raffle ticket sales were going well as I’d raised £500 at that point. After the last ticket was sold I’d actually made £706 from the raffle, a fantastic result and a hell of a lot more than the £250 I had hoped for!

Just a small selection of the books I'll be clearing out of my house

Just a small selection of the books I’ll be clearing out of my house

My next fundraising activity is going to be a book sale at work next month. I have a load of books lying around the house that I don’t need, and could certainly do with freeing up the space they are currently occupying…. I could always do with freeing up space in my house! I also have some fantastic colleagues who have generously offered to donate loads of books they no longer want or need so we’re freeing up space all over the place at the minute…. until we spend our pennies at the book sale and bring fresh reading material home that is!

I’ve hit a milestone! And I can now pee standing up!

It’s been a while since my last fundraising update, and I’m extremely pleased/proud as punch/over the moon to announce that my current total stands at just over half-way to the minimum required funds (£3800) to take part in the trek!

Over half way to the £3800 minimum!

Over half way to the £3800 minimum!

Raffle ticket sales are going really well, nearly £500 and still another week to go. This being my first raffle I wasn’t too sure what to expect and set myself a target of £250; I am so pleased that it looks like I’ll double that figure.

My 30th birthday came earlier this week, which I totally used to my advantage; encouraging Facebook friends to sponsor me the minimum amount allowed on JustGiving, which brought in quite a few sponsors and support. I mean, if you can’t use your birthday as an excuse to ask for sponsorship, what can you use?

Speaking of my birthday, some of my lovely work colleagues gave me plenty of chocolate and some useful gifts for the big trek next year, hand sanitiser and…. a She-Wee! For those who don’t know what a She-Wee is, it’s a little device that allows us females to have a tinkle outdoors without needing to squat behind a bush!

Just what every girl wants for her 30th birthday!

Just what every girl wants for her 30th birthday!

Back in 2010 when I tackled the Ben Nevis Challenge, my friend and partner in crime educated me on the features of these contraptions as we discussed our concerns about spending all day climbing the UK’s tallest mountain and our bathroom needs. I never actually got around to buying one for Ben Nevis, and having only spent the one day on the trail it wasn’t a necessity, but I can certainly see the benefits of taking this on the Inca trail. How does it work? Errr, I’m not too sure yet, I’m a little scared of it and have plenty of time to figure it out, (by practicing in the shower according to the instructions!)

Let them eat cake!

“Where’s she been hiding?” You may well be wondering this as I did my blog post earlier than usual last week. I had intended to write an additional post mid-week, and had even half drafted it last week with a reflection on my participation in Zero to Hero challenge, and I just haven’t had chance to go back to it! I’m keeping this post shorter than what seems to be my usual standard, because after one very busy and hectic week I’m ready to chill out for a whole hour (if I’m lucky) before I go to bed.

So, no doubt you’re wondering what has kept me so busy? Well, this week I’ve been a good little fundraiser and made some excellent progress towards my challenge. This time last week I had raised a total of £626.01 towards my financial target of £3800. In the past week I have more than doubled that sum (just!), raising £627.41 in one week, bringing the grand total to £1253.42! What a fantastic week, and any doubts or concerns that were floating around my head last week (after I realised that I hadn’t really done much during December and January) have been blown away and my confidence is back!

So, how did I manage to raise this figure in less than a week when it had taken three months to previously achieve that figure? Well the majority of those funds came from a bake sale and tombola at work which I had been planning and preparing for a few weeks. Thanks to the generosity, kindness, support and awesome baking skills of my friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, who provided a fantastic selection of cakes, I was able to organise (and I quote one of customers who commented on my Facebook) “the best bake sale yet”. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to take photographs of everything set up, however one of my colleagues did take a few photos for me, some of which I’ve included here for your enjoyment…

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I am very pleased to say that this and the tombola (the money all went in to one pot so I’m not sure how much came from the tombola but my guess is about £30-£40) I raised just over £400. I even have cakes left over and I’m still trying my luck to squeeze out a few more donations where possible!

Yesterday I spent the day in a local supermarket again (the same as last time) and collected £147.14 – that’s 60p less than last time (isn’t that strange?), which is a little disappointing as I was there for a lot longer yesterday.  It could well be that Monday’s are more profitable when coin collecting in supermarkets, I suppose the only way to know for sure will be more coin collection days!

In addition to the bake sale and coin collecting I also received sponsorship money from a number of people, all of which has added up to my most successful week yet!

I have a few other fundraising activities in the pipeline which will hopefully pull off in the next few months. I’m also planning on holding a raffle over Easter (I didn’t hold a raffle alongside the cake sale as I was still waiting to hear back about a few prizes, and I’m glad I did as those prizes have now been offered to me!) so I’m going to be working on approaching local businesses for even more prizes to donate. If you’re reading this and you feel you have a product or service which you can offer as a prize please get in touch 🙂

Signing off now for that chill out hour I was talking about…. I didn’t really keep this post that short did I? Ooops

No pain, no gain

That’s how the saying goes, and if it’s true then I should be gaining a lot!

I’ve been pretty active on the exercise front this past week, more active than I’ve ever been in my life I daresay.  I’ve taken on two Zumba classes, one pole dance class followed by a KBX class (Kettle Bell Extreme) and a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class, plus walked 15 miles over 5 days. I would have squeezed one more Zumba class in, but it was early morning and I had a hangover to contend with.

In terms of fundraising, I’m afraid I have let an entire week slip by without actively fundraising! Clearly I cannot allow this to become a habit and I need to give myself a kick up the backside and start making plans on how I am going to achieve my target. I suppose the best way to do that is to set myself mini-tasks and share through my blog, so if I am lazy and don’t do anything you can all give me a kick up the backside!

This coming week I pledge to:

  1. Speak to local supermarkets about arranging another coin collection day
  2. Make enquiries in to holding a bake sale at work
  3. Ask friends and family to donate any unwanted Christmas gifts that would be suitable as prizes for a raffle

On a more positive note I did receive some helpful fundraising tips from a fellow blogger, and a kind donation which was most welcome. Mr BDP has set himself an amazing personal challenge, to give 1 billion dollars to various charities in his lifetime. He is not a billionaire, or a millionaire so the money isn’t just coming from his pocket – Mr BDP is just trying to make the world a better place by doing what he can. I think this is such an amazing personal challenge and will be following him on his quest – why don’t you follow along to?

 

I know what I'm doing.

I now know what I am doing. Well, I know the itinerary for my trek and what I will be doing. I don’t necessarily know what I am doing about anything else, but at least that’s a start.

My information pack arrived yesterday, so I can now confidently talk about my big challenge and where it will take me. My memory for details isn’t too great so I’d forgotten pretty much everything that I’d been told, and after telling my dad that I was quite sure I wasn’t going to Lima, where do you suppose is the first place I go? Yep, first destination in the southern hemisphere is in fact Lima – didn’t do so well there did I?

Well, now I have my pack I will hopefully remember, and if I can’t, well I’ll just have to refer people to this post!

Here is my little kitten Nala helping me out with the information pack, she seems to be very interested in my trip, either that or she is interested in shredding up all that colourful paper!

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Day 1 (Fri 22 May) – Fly to Lima (doesn’t really need any further explanation!)

Day 2 (Sat 23 May) – Fly from Lima to Cusco. I don’t really know much about Cusco other than it is 3400m above sea level and helps prepare you for the high altitudes on the trail, so I’d best do a bit of research before I go! To help us acclimatise to the altitude we will take a gentle guided walk around Cusco to see the sights.

Day 3 (Sun 24 May) – We’ll be stretched a little further today, taking a longer walk up to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman (I have seen this spelt in at least 8 different ways, so not knowing which is the official spelling I’m just going to use this one) (3700m). My knowledge of Peru is very very limited (in fact I didn’t even know the Inca Trail was in Peru until two weeks ago!) so I’ve had a quick search on the Sacsayhuaman ruins and there seem to be quite a few theories out there that these ruins may have in fact been built by aliens – this is going to be an interesting trip!!

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Day 4 (Tue 25 May) – the day when the hard work really gets under way! We will be up early to leave Cusco and travel 82km to the start of the trail. Apparently the trail will begin gently allowing us to warm up nicely. Two hours in to the trek we will reach the first archaeological centre of Pallacta. After lunch we will continue ascending to a semi tropical valley, for two hours, until arriving at our camp, Huayllabamba (3000m) where we will spend the night in a tent….. I don’t like camping in tents,,,,. hmmmmm…… didn’t think this one through….. bugger! At the end of the first day on the actual trail we will have trekked for 5-6 hours and covered 12km/7.5 miles, at a maximum altitude of 3000m

Day 5 (Wed 26 May – my 5th wedding anniversary!!) – Today (and every day on the trail) we will be woken up with the hot drink of our choice – tea, coffee, hot chocolate or coca tea (made from the same plant which cocaine comes from and is apparently good for altitude sickness!!), this will be a nice treat – I’m always up first in our house so I very rarely get a cuppa in bed. After a three course breakfast we’ll start hiking early, ascending to Warmiwañusca. Also known as Dead Woman’s Pass (because it looks like a dead woman, not because women die there thankfully!) it is known as the world’s highest cloud forest. After the toughest part of the journey, and an ascent of nearly 5 hours, we will arrive at the highest point (4200m), where if luck is on our side we will see the flight of the condors. We then start to descend as we head towards our second camp at Pacaymayo (3500m). By the end of day two on the trail we will have trekked for 6-7 hours, covering 11km/6.8 miles at a maximum altitude of 4200m – what a lovely way to spend my wedding anniversary, 6000 miles away from the other half!!

Day 6 (Thur 27th May) – This will be the longest, but apparently the most interesting day as we pass through numerous archaeological sites and lish cloud forest. We will have a short tour of Runkuracay, a building thought to have been an astrological site, and continue our ascent towards the Abra de Runkuracay (3970m)

On the far side of the pass the trail changes to a narrow stone roadway containing the exact stones that were in place when the Incas walked the trail. We will then visit a second Inca site Sayacmarca “Town in a Steep Place” (3642m). After lunch we will pass through Incan structures including Phuyupatamarca Cloud-level Town” (3700m) and learn about the ritual functions that took place here, and see the baths the Incas bathed in before they reached Machu Picchu. Soon after we will reach Wiñay Wayna “Forever Young” where we will make camp. At the end of the day we will have covered 16km/10 miles, trekked 7-8 hours and reached a maximum altitude of 3970m.

Day 7 (Fri 28 May) – The last day of the trek will see us rise very early (I’d quite like an idea of how early very early is!) and trek for an hour and a half until we reach a narrow flight of stone steps leading to Intipunko “The Sun Gate” where we will see our first view of Machu Picchu (2400m).

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We will then descend in to this ancient site where a guide will provide us with a thorough tour. Later we will take the bus to Aguas Calientes for dinner and to take the train back to Cusco.

Day 8 (Sat 29 May) – We have the day to spend however we choose in Cusco. I have a feeling I’ll be so tired and stiff I won’t want to do much!

Day 9 (Sun 30 May) – Fly back to Lima and spend the afternoon exploring the city before flying back home.

Day 10 (Mon 31 May) – Arrive back home, and have a nice long hot bath 

Phew, that was lengthier than I thought! Thanks for sticking around and reading it all the way through :o)