I decided that the only way to truly understand what Alexandra David-Néel went through during the long walks she made throughout her 14 year journey, and the only way to do her journey the justice it deserves, is to take with me only what she had in the early 1900s.
This means I will be taking NO modern day equipment....no Rab jacket, no Buff, no high-tech hiking boots...no lip balm......
On her final journey to Lhasa, Alexandra carried everything she had on her back, which is what I'll be doing. Here is, what looks like to me, a very interesting list of everything I will have with me:
YAK WOOL COAT:
(Thanks to @davsear for this incredible photo from Mongolia!)
YAK FUR TENT:
I honestly have no idea what this looks like yet, but in the books, it seems to be described as literally a whole yak fur, which you simply erect with a large stick in the middle. Most of time, Alexandra doesn't even seem to bother putting it up, she just wraps herself in it and lies face down in the snowy ground...errrrrmmm I guess I'll update you on this one later!
HOT WATER BOTTLE:
You all know what one of these looks like. I'm very pleased about this one, it's going to be cold!
YAK FUR BOOTS:
I'll be picking these up in Delhi when I arrive in India. The lovely Valerie Parkinson has set out on a mission to find these for me in Leh, India.
I've been talking about these quite a bit on my Instagram!
A WOODEN BOWL:
Very much like this one...
COTTON SHIRTS AND UNDERGARMENTS:
In her books, Alexandra describes her under-layers as cotton shirts (that's pretty straight forward) and cotton undergarments. Cotton undergarments...I think I'll interpret that as cotton underwear and maybe some cotton thermals??
YAK WOOL HAT:
The pure yak wool has been ordered, and my very own mother will be knitting this one for me! We are modelling it on Alexandra's very own hat, which she actually found on the floor in a wood, and I've handily pasted my own face on this image of her so you can see what it will look like on yours truly:
And that's about it!
I will of course have some modern day emergency equipment to hand, which I've been told I have to take. There will be medical packs, warm clothes in case of hypothermia, emergency food rations and a satellite phone... just to be safe!