Karina 2701 2 Samo Vidic/Red Bull Photofiles

In the second part of our interview with Karina Hollekim, we find out how the she dealt with the consequences of her 2006 BASE jumping accident and used her experiences to help others, and a little more about the ordinary life she has always craved.

How did you deal with the depression?
My trainer gave me boxing gloves to transform my despair into anger and work it off against the punchbag. My dad also gave me an important piece of advice in that period – he said I shouldn’t think of what I can’t do any more, but what I can do. For example, it took me six months until I could put my socks on by myself. It was a tremendous victory for me when I was able to do that. I also got so much support and love from friends around the world, I just couldn’t give up, because I didn’t want to let them down.

Do you still feel uncomfortable being all by yourself?
Yes, I do. And I’m still afraid of the dark. Those things don’t go away just because you survived a near-fatal accident. [Smiles]

Have you got any interest in meditation?
No, my mind is, let’s say, too lively for that. I always have to do stuff. When I’m at home and I have nothing to do, I keep my mind busy by listening to loud music with lyrics I like, like Jack Johnson or Foo Fighters, to interfere with my thoughts like a layer between me and them.

'To say that all of us take health and life for granted is not a fair assumption'

Do you get an adrenalin rush speaking in front of a big audience? [Karina is a motivational speaker]
My very first speech was in front of 1,500 people. Before I went out, I was scared shitless. But as soon as I got into telling my story, I relaxed completely and felt the concentration of the crowd on me. Everybody knew that this wasn’t a performance, it was about real life. At the end, I got a standing ovation – the feedback was enormous and very fulfilling. Since then, I ‘ve told my life story to many audiences. and I realised that, by talking about it, I can distance myself from it.

How has your view on human nature changed in the time of your convalescence?
I am a different person now from the one I used to be, before the accident. To say that all of us take health and life for granted is not a fair assumption – each of us has to experience their own challenges and shifts of perspective. What I can say about my own life now is that I’m happier in a different way than before the crash – more at peace with, and less expectant of, myself. I’ve learned to handle setbacks better. I can enjoy the beautiful moments of life one by one. It’s less overwhelming and more of a bonus in a way.

What’s the Hollekim recipe for holistic relaxation?
Candles are essential, especially in Norway where the winter is long and dark. What I find extremely calming is when the rain is running down the big skylights of my apartment in languid streaks. It’s almost like being outside camping. I also cherish having one or two glasses of red wine with my friends – I like to party like any other girl.

What’s your favourite cooking recipe?
I love to make quick and tasty food like salmon with ginger-honey-pesto and wok-fried veggies.

'What I find extremely calming is when the rain is running down the big skylights of my apartment'

Which person could you watch 24/7 because they are just mesmerising to observe?
Even though there are days when I don’t want to see anybody, I would say, my boyfriend.

Who’s your favourite cartoon character?
Hobbes, the tiger. He makes such a good team with the little boy Calvin. They’re so childlike and playful.

If you’d come back as a bird or another winged animal, which one would it be?
A chough [a small black Alpine crow with a distinctive yellow beak]. I love how they hang still in the wind over a ridge or soar along cliffs. I’m often led to believe that they are dead friends who come back to play with the elements all day long and to see us again. They look so carefree and happy.

Keep up with Karina in her blog at karinahollekim.com


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