I have been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about time. 
In the grand tapestry of life, time is the thread that weaves our existence together. It flows relentlessly, never pausing or waiting for anyone. Time is our most valuable asset, and it's up to us to make the most of every moment we are given.  

There is 86,400 seconds each day and we can choice to use these wisely or to let them pass us by. I had chosen to focus on things out of my control, tired doctors showing very little interest in my health, not thinking out of the box to give me more time.  

I knew I needed to step back from how fast life seemed to be travelling and I was surrounded by so many conversations around future events I felt I was missing the moment I was in. Ever since my first diagnoses I have had a bucket list running alongside my sporting life. I guess when you spend most of your life sitting in oncology wards, it can drive you to not put things off until you retire. 

This brings me back to time and our relationship with every second we have within a day. Each tick of the clock reminds us that time slips away, and every second lost is an opportunity missed. But rather than dwell on its passing, let us recognize the beauty in its transience. Time's fleeting nature compels us to appreciate the present, to savour every experience, and to embrace the ever-changing nature of life.  

With this in mind a few weeks ago I jumped on a plane to Pakistan and found myself in a small mountain airport in Skardu. Skardu is a city located in the Pakistani-administered Gilgit−Baltistan in the disputed Kashmir region. Surrounded by some of the worlds biggest mountain peaks this is the gateway to K2.  

Flying into Skardu was like no other flight I had ever been on, flying on PIA where it is reported 33% of pilots don’t have the correct credentials was something I didn’t know about at the time. My focus was firmly fixed on the mountains as the pilot guided us between the massive peaks to land in the most breath taken runway I have ever stood on. 

Stepping out of the airport to be met by Pakistani military was slightly nerving but the people were so welcoming and gentle I didn’t think much of what seemed like a high military presence. This felt like an adventure and was definitely not a package holiday.  

The goal was to head into the Deosai National Park and to see Nanga Parbat. at 8,126 metres is the ninth-highest mountain on Earth,  knowing as Killer Mountain for its high number of climber fatalities, I was not here to climb it, I just wanted to see it. 

The Deosai National Park is located in the western Himalayas. It sits at an elevation of 4,114 metres above sea level, making it the second highest plateau in the world and a challenging place when paralysed. 

The park is only accessible in summer and the thought of why I am here definitely crossed my mind on the road up to the camp. As the driver hugged the corners with rocks falling off the edge, I was trying to keep my eyes on the road rather than the sheer drop. After a 4-hour drive, we had had reached the camp and it was time for dinner. This was my first big mistake. Food hygiene is not a top priority here and without much thought I jumped right into dinner.  

The food tasted incredible, and as the sun set over the mountains it was truly beautiful, I felt as if time had stopped. However, I was about to learn why this place is only accessible in summer. The temperature dropped faster than Usain can run the 100 meters. It was freezing and I found myself in bed with more layers on than I would wear to go skiing.  

It was a rough night, altitude sickness setting in and woken up to two rescue helicopters at 5am was a surreal experience.  

It was another 3-hour drive to reach a point where Nanga Parbat would be visible. There was no way I was turning back, I wanted to see this mountain. As the jeep turned the final corner, there was a huge cloud covering the mountain peak. By now the altitude was hitting me hard, as was last night’s dinner, and what was about to follow was possibly one of the most moving moments of my life.  

Thankfully I reached a cabin, but not in time to stay clean, “I was covered in last night’s dinner” As I stood in this cabin trying to work out how to get cleaned, I looked to my right and there it was. Nanga Parbat, the clouds had cleared and through a small hole in the cabin I got to see the mountain whilst covered in my own mess.  

It was worth every second to see it and then my attention turned to getting back down to a hotel and some meds to calm my stomach before flying back to the Islamabad. 

As I sit back in London reflecting, there was so much about Pakistan that I loved, it was a hard trip getting food poising but the memories it has given me will last a lifetime, and no matter what comes next, I can say for my time there I lived every one of those 86,400 seconds we get each day.