Tatiana Yalovchak about climbing Everest and her plans to travel
Tatiana is a record holder. Motivational speaker. Author of the book «Climb your Everest»
Climbed Everest and the seven highest peaks. Crossed The Bosphorus.
The most memorable moment you’ve had since climbing Everest?
To be honest, the most memorable is the fact that I’ve made the ascent as number two (N. B. Tatiana became the second Ukrainian who has conquered Everest). Then it was a great psychological trauma for me, and I’ve worked with a specialist to recover and to accept the defeat. Paradox, on the one hand, I conquered Mount Everest, on the other I lost to myself being second by a 24-hour margin on my initiative to avoid a race!
Now I’m invited as a motivational speaker for big companies. I had seminars for 7,500 people at the same time. And I always talk about how important it is to accept and to realize defeat. Don’t be ashamed to be in second place!
What was it like to stand at the highest peak in the world?
If anyone ever tells you it’s easy – don’t believe it! It takes a lot of energy and health to get to the top. Mountains are good for health when they are 3,000-5,000 meters above sea level. Every top higher than that is already serious damage to health, especially for those who normally live at 0 height above sea level.
At the top, I’ve prayed, I’ve begged the Lord to be strong enough to climb down this mountain. All dangerous and lethal incidents happen on the way down. Hoping for someone to help you at that level is the ultimate cynicism. In the mountains, everyone is responsible for themselves and their own lives and no one will lend you oxygen, a glove, or a crampon for boots.
When I came back home, I had a terrible forgetfulness for a while. I could say: “Please give me this device to eat soup” (laughs). That was an effect of the lack of oxygen, the brain cells also suffered and required time to restore.
What advice would you give to someone afraid to start climbing?
Just start. Today. If you want to do it. There is no ‘later”, never wait.
I’ve tried climbing for the first time when I was 29.
I remember when I first came to the sports equipment store to pick out things, all the professional terms sounded like a foreign language to me.
Now I can’t imagine my life without mountains. You can meet fantastic people there and rethink your life. It’s important to go with adult guides, who have experience. Without them, mountains can be very difficult and dangerous.
And more importantly, fight your fears! If you’re afraid of heights, for example. Now I’m writing a book on how to overcome fears. I only swam the Bosphorus because I drowned twice as a kid and after I was afraid of water my whole life.
Which peak would you like to climb?
I have a new aim, but I’ll keep it secret. I don’t want to say it beforehand. The whole Everest thing was too public from the beginning and ended up putting me in second place.
You travel a lot. Which countries did you like the most?
I like different types of recreation from tents to 5* hotels. After sports tours, I have to recover. So I like just to lie on the beach and do nothing or dig the ground and plant flowers around my country house. Nature recharges me.
I like the spirit of Dominica, Cuba, and Jamaica. I like their local culture, the welcoming people, their temperament, dances on hot sand, curly hair, smiles.
I also like the islands – Seychelles, Mauritius, but that’s a different kind of holiday.
Where do you dream to travel?
I’m going to the Maldives soon – and this is another dream that I’m going to make! I would love to go back to Africa, and there’s something primal, wild about it. I enjoyed living among the tribes in Papua New Guinea and the Amazon.
I’d like to live in a nature reserve that specializes in animals. Nurturing and feeding animal babies. It’s a very interesting experience, and I’ll be there when I’m more mature.
What are the three main things in your backpack?
Hygienic lipstick, notebook, and water.
What kind of backpack do you prefer?
A travel backpack needs to have a separate compartment for water, a belt on the waist that supports the lower back (preferably with a mini-pocket as well), and two large compartments inside. I don’t like a lot of pockets.