Mission Himalaya: “It will be a huge challenge for me, but one I know I need to do”

Becky Eckersley is one of twelve individuals embarking on Mission Himalaya with The Royal British Legion in October 2018. We spoke to her about her preparations for the trip and how she is recording her experience through a blog.

Becky, 39, served in the Army Royal Logistics Corps and is preparing to leave the Army in January 2019 after 20 years service. In 2017 she suffered from a mental breakdown and spent time in Peterborough mental health hospital.

As part of her recovery she attended a course at the Legion’s Battle Back Centre, a leading centre for assisting in the recovery and improving the physical and mental wellbeing of both serving WIS and veterans.

“Although the Battle Back Centre course was compulsory I found it really valuable,” says Becky.

“I came away with an open mind about how to deal with things, and it was a great way to meet other people who were in similar situations.

“Although it’s hard leaving the Army after all this time, unfortunately it just isn’t conducive to my mental health recovery.”

Taking on the Himalayas

Becky signed up for Mission Himalaya after seeing a post on the Battle Back Centre Facebook page.

“I’m not usually one for putting my name down or signing up to things, but I’m so glad on this occasion I did,” she explains.

“Since my break down last year I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, and a big part of that is trying to get out and meet new people.”

A team of 12 serving military wounded, injured and sick (WIS) personnel and veterans have been selected for the life-changing expedition that will also mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Training began in February 2018, with the team travelling up to Scotland.

“Getting to the first training weekend was a big challenge in itself,” says Becky

“Just walking into a room full of strangers was difficult, but luckily everyone on the team is so easy to talk to, and we can really open up to each other. In the past I haven’t been good at talking, which was a big part of what led to my breakdown.

“Some of the training out on the mountain has been difficult, both physically and mentally, and way out of my comfort zone.

“On the first weekend away I found myself watching everyone else and thinking they all looked so confident in comparison to how I was feeling, but I gave it a go and I felt great by the end of the day.“

Recording the experience

With the team making their final preparations before departing, Becky has started a blog that she will be posting to throughout the journey.

“I am nervous about the expedition but I have complete trust in those leading us,” says Becky.

“This whole process has been about the journey for me, and I’ve come so far already so to make it on the team is just amazing.

“Some of the other team members I know will be friends for life and I can’t wait to get to Nepal and soak it all up. It will be a huge challenge for me, but one I know I need to do.”

Becky’s Blog

“For a person who is quite private…..this is out of my comfort zone, to blog about my own personal emotions/feelings and the teams emotion/experience, along the journey of this awesome Expedition we are privileged to be on, it is a challenge I intend to embrace wholeheartedly.”