Why I left my wife and children to go to Mount Everest

I’ve spent years writing about what it was like to be a married woman in the West, and now, thanks to a mountain lodge telly show, I’ve finally got a better idea of what it’s like to leave my wife, my children and my beloved mountain lodge in a way that feels safe, like there’s no way I’ll ever be able to come back.

In a twist that will make your jaw drop, it was actually my wife’s sister who did the driving and organising of my return trip to the peak.

When I told her that she would be joining me on the hike, she said, “I don’t have the time, but I’m not going with you anyway”.

So we started a plan.

Her sister had a day off work, so I packed my stuff and drove to the lodge, and from there, she and I drove to an isolated part of the mountain and sat on a rock that was part of a complex network of trails.

There were plenty of other people, but not me, and the silence was just perfect.

I felt a sense of freedom, of safety, as the world passed by.

When I reached the top, I was completely shocked to find myself in a completely different world.

There was no mistaking it.

In the darkness of the morning, I saw a woman with an eight-year-old girl on her back, and another woman with her two sons.

She had on a white shirt, jeans and a pair of socks.

She seemed to be the only person at the top of the ridge.

As I looked down, I realised the woman was wearing her wedding ring, the little girl was holding her daughter, and I could see her son’s little finger poking out of his trousers.

There had been a little girl here too.

I felt utterly overwhelmed, but it felt so peaceful.

It felt like the perfect place to go for a little nap.

The women were beautiful and all had perfect skin.

The boys looked happy and had good smiles.

They looked to be enjoying themselves, but there was no sign of a big event.

There wasn’t even a wedding ring in sight.

When we reached the bottom of the peak, the women had gone.

The little girl went to sleep.

The husband had a huge smile on his face, the boy was smiling and the woman had her eyes closed.

It was an absolutely peaceful, beautiful moment.

The next morning, my wife came to me.

“The women at the bottom were so lovely,” she said.

“They were so kind, and so good.

They were the best of all the women I’ve ever met.”

When we came out of the lodge in the morning and got ready to go back, I looked at my wife.

“Are you going to join us?”

I asked her.

“Yes, I’m coming.

I’ll stay here and I’ll be with you.”

She smiled and said, in a whisper, “Don’t think about it, just go with me.”

I couldn’t have been happier.

I knew what I wanted to do, and it felt good.

I walked with my wife to the summit and we climbed the ridge, taking a couple of pictures.

The woman who was holding the baby girl had been gone, and we had climbed through the mountains in a very relaxed way, with no need to worry about anyone coming and going.

As we climbed, she spoke to me, saying, “When we get to the top you’ll know what you’re missing.

You’ll have all the people who’ve loved you for years.”

As we were leaving, I asked my wife what she had thought of the experience.

She told me it was amazing, and that she had never been more happy than she was then.

I can’t wait to return.