“Quick, give me your backpacks! I’m pretending I’m in training to climb Everest.” This strange request is a regular fixture of our weekday mornings and results in my hauling leaden school packs, sports totes, swimming kits, science experiments, papier mache representations of the Isle of Wight and book bags up the hill.

“Take all the bags you want, Mum, you’ll never make it to the actual mountain,” says my older son, relieved of his burden and with plenty of renewed energy to sass me. They don’t understand that Everest is more than an epic climb and fitness incentive to me. It’s a whopping big metaphor for how it has been, adjusting to life a new country. Some days I feel I can tackle anything. On other days I hide in the laundry like a fearful dog on Guy Fawkes Night.

Since arriving in London some months ago, I have got into this big, shiny new habit of walking everywhere. I’m like a compulsive gambler but in stripy nerd socks and waterproof shoes. Every weekday without fail I have corralled my boys up the big hill to their new school. Come rain, sideways sleet or occasional shine, on we march, in a pronounced departure from our Sydney existence where driving, driving and more driving was de rigueur.

Ironically, the weather in Sydney is much more suited to constant trekking, but that’s life! It appears you need to move halfway round the world to a freezing, damp Heath in order to wake up and break a cycle, which in my case was serving as family Uber driver.

Mum, what’s the opposite of cheese?” asks my youngest son as we clamber up the steep part of our travail. “Not now, we’re approaching the summit,” I mutter, panting for breath under the weight of all their crap as their school comes into view.

To be honest with you (as I’ve noticed Londoners are wont to say) the traffic here is as strong an incentive for walking as is increasing your fitness or saving the planet. Even if the stroll from A to B is estimated to take me fifty minutes, and it’s a rainy 4 degrees to boot, I will always choose to walk as a) it is invariably quicker by foot than motor and b) did I mention I’m deluded that I’m in training to climb Everest. (I will save my rant on London traffic for another post.)

Maybe for my next BIG birthday I will actually attempt the epic mountain. Maybe I’ll trade champagne and dancing under a marquee in an Alexander McQueen gown for mountain boots, yaks and an ice pick. The whole family could get involved! Okay, it’s possible we should become more familiar with camping in sub-zero temperatures, belaying and conquering a fear of heights. But for me right now, Everest is close to my heart as my family continues with our upward trajectory.

“Here we are, take your bags back so the teachers can’t see I’ve carried them all the way to school,” I say as we arrive, loading the boys up with their gear. “This Sherpa is off duty.”

So as this daily ascent continues to be part of our family routine and I jog on, neatly sidestepping ibexes and picking myself up from the odd momentary stumble, I resolve I will continue to walk. On and on I’ll go, past those cinnamon buns winking at me from the Tesco pastry shelf, past the old man with long grey hair who calls out ‘good morning’ every afternoon and on further still, until I reach the top. It’s then I will take in the vista below and give myself a pat on the back.