14 Peaks and Space

What do these two things have in common ? Adventure, risk, husbands going on long, ‘crazy’ trips and wives taking my breath away.

I have a million questions for Suchi (@suchipurja). She is the wife of Nepalese Mountaineer Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja @nimsdai who climbed the 14 8000m summits in 6 months and 6 days. The previous record was 7 years. How did she do it? How did she experience his expedition, knowing the dangers he was facing?

I extracted a few quotes from the Netflix documentary #14peaksnothingisimpossible, which depicts the adventure.

« I believed in him »

« My friends ask «how do you do all of this?» My answer is always «If I am constantly worrying about him, then it’s not going to do any good to me. I would break down. You have to be strong. I’ve never wanted to deviate him from his dream or his goals. He knew what he wanted to do in life.»

These quotes give us an insight into her unconditional support for her husband in his dreams and passions. She doesn’t try to convince him to stop, despite his family initially thinking him selfish. But more than just supporting him, she believes in him. She trusts his abilities to achieve his goals. I still have a million questions for her, and hopefully one day I will get to ask her. I am glad she is featured in the documentary, as she is no doubt a vital part of the success of this incredible story.

My husband walked in last week with an open book and an earmarked page. «Rhoda, he says, «you need to take a look at this». The book was Tim Peake’s Limitless.. He has an incredibly inspiring life story, growing up in England and working his way up in the Army Air force, specializing as a helicopter pilot and instructor. Later on in his career, he was selected as one of the 6 to be trained by ESA, after which he spent six months in space.

I couldn’t find any interviews online with his wife Rebecca but the following quotes from that page give us valuable tips on managing a high-risk, long trip away from home.

“We were determined that this was going to be a really positive experience for us as a family, despite the obvious risks and challenges.”

On explaining to the kids:

“Six months is pretty meaningless to a four year old and 186 sleeps would feel like a lifetime for a child, so I explained how it would be summertime when they saw me and we would be spending lots of time together then.”

On preparing as a couple :

“Rebecca and I had prepared ourselves well for this. It was no rash decision of the heart. We were a good team and we were in this together, as we had been for every major decision in our lives. Rebecca had the time well planned out and the boys were used to me being away for extended periods.”

I want to ask them how they prepared, what they did specifically.

On being selfish, or not:

“People wonder how you can do it – how you can step away from your own young children and put yourself in the way of danger. It’s hard – in fact it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

…but i would still stay on the bus and climb into the rocket. I have seen astronauts described as selfish because they can do this. And maybe all exploration is selfish, at some level. But what if people didn’t push boundaries and explore ? And if that curiosity and drive and that urge to prove the limits are inside you, should you go out in the world and be who you are , or should you try and hide it ? Maybe what you are doing at such moments is about something greater than yourself, in any case.”

What questions would you ask these couples?


Rhoda Bangerter

Rhoda Bangerter is a coach who has lived abroad with a travelling husband for over 16 years. She helps home based mums and dads live an intentional life and build family togetherness even when their partner is away a lot for work.

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