I Climbed a Mountain (And Survived)

I really surprised myself last week, I climbed one huge mountain and got over a pretty big internal mountain. A group of my co-workers had planned a hike up the local mountain, Table Top, an extinct volcano that’s pretty decent in size. It was an adventure I have had on my ‘To Do’ list for quite some time but had never done anything about actually doing it. When I heard everyone from work discussing it I thought now’s my time, this is the perfect opportunity to go with a group of people I’m friends with and a few who know the way up.

As soon as I made a verbal commitment to one of the girls the doubts, excuses and mental mean girl chatter started. I had so many reasons why I shouldn’t do the climb:

  • I’m pretty unfit
  • I’d look like a fool
  • Everyone would have to wait for me
  • I didn’t know what to wear (Yup a pretty poor reason but that’s what I was thinking)
  • That I had had a late shift at work and it was an early start
  • That I might feel sore or hurt myself
  • That I thought I had a stomach bug or something (I didn’t)
  • That I was already tired
  • Did I really want to do it?

Going to bed the night before I actually felt pretty nervous, that combined with a late shift at work I was really wide awake and did not get a good nights sleep. My alarm went off early the next morning and the excuses started, it was cold, I was tired etc. I kept thinking it would be so easy to message everyone right there and then and say “hey guys, going to give it a miss, thanks anyway”, it would have been so easy. I also knew that all this resistance, self doubt and excuses were even more reason why I had to do this hike. Bailing  would confirm the negative thoughts such as I was too unfit and unhealthy to do, it instead of loving my body to the fullest and pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone and surprise myself.

I got up and I got dressed (yes I did try on a few shirts too), I still felt like I looked like a fool but just went with it. I nearly had a melt down because I couldn’t take the backpack I thought I wanted to take, which in my mind another reason I shouldn’t do it (I was a bit premenstrual). But I kept taking little steps, I put my shoes on, got in the car, drove to the meeting point.

Standing at the bottom of the mountain I almost turned around with my hands in the air saying “Nope, that’s it, thanks but I’ll wait in the car!” In that moment I was having some flashbacks of me at 12 years of age on a school camp. In year 7  I went on a school camp to Carnarvon Gorge, which really is a beautiful place but to be honest I don’t have great memories of the trip. The worst memory for me was having to do this hike up a huge mountain to a look out and feeling so sick, sore, unfit and embarrassed about my body and level of fitness that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I can be a bit stubborn too and don’t like feeling like I’m being made to do something I don’t want to do, which is exactly how I felt on that walk. I had to remind myself this was different, the people I was with were my work mates, they’ve seen me in all sorts of emotional states before, I was 12 years older too, I’m feeling a little more confident in myself, it was also my decision to do this I wasn’t being forced by a teacher and I knew that I’m a bit more capable than I give myself credit for, so I did it. (Sorry to the guys I was with for having to listen to me kinda complain so much at the start).

The hike wasn’t really what I expected, there was very little walking track and lots and lots and lots of rocks. I felt like a very uncoordinated mountain goat at times. I huffed and puffed and slowly made my way to the top with my face getting redder by the minute but I did it and I survived. Not only had I climbed one hell of a mountain but I’d overcome one big internal one and surprised myself at the same time. I’ve got to say I’m actually pretty proud of myself for doing the hike and I actually want to do it again. I was a little sore after but not in my legs like you’d think it was my arms that were the sorest, I possibly climbed the mountain like a gorilla, I don’t know.

I wanted to write this story mostly for me. Climbing Table Top for me was quite an achievement physically and mentally that I want to remember. I know there will be so many more times in my life when I will be facing something, (an adventure, change, project etc) where resistance will rare it’s head but I want to remember that one time I climbed a mountain and survived.

Holidays and Little Adventures

 

A little over a month ago now I took two weeks holiday from my day job. Unlike other years when I’ve taken my annual holiday I have travelled overseas this time I spent 2 weeks with my family in Noosa. I was very lucky to be able to stay at my Grandma’s unit on the river. I hadn’t planned much for my time away I just wanted to allow each day to unfold and the little adventures to present themselves. What did end up unfolding was 2 beautiful weeks where 2 weeks felt more like a month and each day was filled with gorgeous little adventures. I’ve said it before but adventures don’t have to be huge overseas travels they can be little things that break the daily pattern. Even though this holiday was now a little while ago I wanted to write a recount like I have for my overseas adventures. I thought I’d share a little idea for an adventure you can do yourself so you can bring a little more adventure to your days and so you can see it doesn’t have to be something huge like hiking in the Rocky Mountains (though that would be cool).

Week 1

SUNDAY: I drove through some beautiful country scenery from my home town to Noosa and listened to The Melissa Ambrosini Show Podcast.

Idea: Take a country drive and listen to a podcast, learn something, see some sights

MONDAY: I ate breakfast while admiring the gorgeous sunflowers I had been given then walked to the little bookshop up the road to use my gift voucher. I then read my new book on the river for a while. In the afternoon I went for a swim with my sisters.

Idea: Venture to a book shop, read in nature

TUESDAY: On a spontaneous whim my sister and I decided to go stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the river. Before we got going I was a little apprehensive, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I had heard from that it was hard work. It turned out to be one of the best hours just paddling along the river chatting to my sister and soaking up the sights. It didn’t take me too long to find my balance and I only fell in the water once. It’s something I really want to do again. My sisters and I had some yummy pizza on the beach for lunch and I went for a walk with my parents in the afternoon.

Idea: Try something new/paddle boarding

WEDNESDAY: The day was all about me and my body and pampering. I started the morning off by going to the podiatrist to get my feet sorted,  when I’m standing on my feet for 40hrs a week for work it was time I paid a little bit of attention to them. I then got my haircut, I have been waiting until I’m visiting my family to get my haircut because we’ve found a really lovely hairdresser.

Idea: Treat yourself to a pamper session, get a haircut

THURSDAY: I want to give a little shout out to a pair of shoes I bought on this day, my very first pair of Birkenstocks, while they did give me blisters for the first few days I’m so happy to own a pair of shoes I feel like I could walk and adventure all day in. On this particular day I took my two sisters to the beach to eat burgers under my rainbow umbrella (if you don’t know I own a very very cool rainbow umbrella, you can read about it here). We ate, chatted and people watched then headed home for a movie afternoon.

Idea: Have lunch somewhere different, get outside

FRIDAY: One of my closest friends made the trip up to the Sunshine Coast for a catch up. We had breakfast out then caught the little fairy to Hasting Street where we wandered in an out of shops then had lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach. We had a swim in the afternoon then went on a spontaneous outing to a Tappas bar. It was my mum who encouraged the outing, not usually my scene but I actually really enjoyed it. I had a drink with two of my favourite people as the sunset over the river then tried some tasty tapas while listening to the live music.

Idea: Explore your local area, pretend to be a tourist, step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the night life. (even if you go home by 7.30)

SATURDAY: My friend and I were up early to head to the Edmundi Markets. We took our time wandering around the stalls buying some little trinkets each. I got aranchini balls for lunch, my favourite market food. We also spent a lot of time in the bookshop looking through all the books, I walked out with only 1 book, quite an achievement for me. I said goodbye to my friend then spent the afternoon with my family in the pool hanging out.

Idea: Find a local market, browse/book shop

SUNDAY: I started the day off by going to the local farmers markets with my Mum, Dad and Grandma. Farmers markets always have a great atmosphere. For breakfast I choose a tropical smoothie bowl from one of the stalls and it was so tasty. We had lunch on the river until a shower of rain chased us inside and for a swim actually, there’s something about swimming in the rain. In the late afternoon we set off with camping chairs and an esky loaded with snacks to a little music festival on the river. There were so many people out and about enjoying the music and last few official days of summer.

Idea: Take things easy, find a farmers market and local festival

Week 2

MONDAY: In the morning I went to the movies with my sisters, we saw a movie from a film festival, it was a little slow and quite long but I still enjoyed it. I did a lot of reading this particular day, I had found a book that was so good I couldn’t put it down and the best part was I didn’t have to as I didn’t have anything else on. (Book: The fifth letter). I spent the evening hanging out with my siblings.

Idea: See a movie, find a book you can’t put down and make time to read it.

TUESDAY: It was my dad’s birthday this day. For my birthday a few weeks before I had been given a voucher to explore the Noosa Everglades and my dad decided he wanted to join me. At midday we set off in a boat suited for exploring the everglades with the rest of the family farewelling us. It was so peaceful cruising along the river and taking in the scenery and sights, being on the water gives you a whole new perspective of the local area. When we entered the everglades we got glimpses of near perfect mirror reflections of the scenery in the water. It was great to hear about the flora, fauna and local area and history and share the whole experience with my dad. We stopped for some afternoon tea before making our way back to Noosa then had a birthday dinner that night.

Idea: Book a little tour or experience and share it with someone. Learn about your local area, take photos, admire your surrounds.

WEDNESDAY: Today was the first of March and I began the new month by setting off on a road trip. I drove down to Byron Bay, which in itself was a little accomplishment for me, driving new roads. I checked into my little cabin for the next two nights, ventured into town to get some dinner and groceries and then watched a movie.

Idea: Travel somewhere new, tackle new roads, enjoy a good movie.

THURSDAY: I found the most gorgeous cafe to have breakfast at called Combi. The place had a lovely chilled vibe and I had a delicious acai bowl and fresh juice. I headed out of Byron Bay to the Crystal Castle, the drive was lovely through rolling green hills. It was a beautiful sunny day and I wandered around the gardens, did a little rainforest walk and joined in on some activities. I took my time with everything I did and did the things I wanted to do.  Heading back to Byron Bay I took another scenic drive then headed to the beach front where I ate ice cream and read under a tree for a few hours.

Idea: Go sight seeing on your own, make it a day just for you and what you want to do and explore.

FRIDAY: I was up really early Friday morning so I could head to the Byron Bay lighthouse to see the sun rise. There were so many people flocking to the lighthouse to see in a new day. It was a beautiful sunrise and I couldn’t believe it was the first sunrise I had seen for 2017. I had breakfast at Combi again, I loved it that much the first time then started my trip back towards the Sunshine Coast. Along the way I made a stop at Fingal Head where there was a tiny little lighthouse and a small version of Ireland’s Giants Causeway.

Idea: See a sunrise, soak up the beauty of a new day beginning. 

SATURDAY: The day started with a lovely walk along the river and some breakfast in a little cafe with my mum. I spent the rest of the day with my family hanging out. My sister and I made some delicious banana bread which we were quite proud of and ate for dinner.

Idea: Do some baking, there’s just something about homemade baking. 

SUNDAY: Being Sunday it was Farmers Markets day again, this time I got a fresh juice and warm chocolate croissant. After the markets my parents, two sisters and myself headed out for a Sunday Drive. We ended up at the Yandina Ginger Factory. We weren’t there for too long but we had lunch, wandered around and bought some gingerbread men. It was a really fun couple of hours being together and going on a little adventure.

 Idea: Spend time with your family. 

MONDAY: My last official day of holidays. I started the day with a walk along the river then met up with my sisters. We headed to main beach with my rainbow umbrella and a fresh juice each where we sat and read and chatted for a couple of hours. In the afternoon my brother took myself, my mum and one of my sisters on a scenic drive through Noosa to areas I hadn’t been to before. We ended up at the mouth of the Noosa river where we watched some boat action on the water and stood around chatting and laughing. My last night of holidays finished with a family dinner and a couple of games of cards.

Idea: Find joy in the ordinary, create your own adventure. 


Well there you have it, a little snapshot of each day of my holidays and the little adventures that made up the days. I really appreciated spending so much time with my family and exploring a part of my own home country. Who knows what little or big adventures my next lot of holidays will bring. What about you, are there any ideas I’ve shared that you’d like to try for yourself? How will you bring a little more adventure to your weeks? I’ve made a little list with all the ideas I’ve shared so you can download.

Lots of Love

Caitlin xx


Little Adventures

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That really is one of my favourite quotes. Life is one big adventure comprising of all the little adventures and chapters in between. Adventure can be an actual adventure such as travelling overseas or to another country or it’s the little things like moving out for the first time, a new job, exploring a new coffee shop, opening yourself up to new experience, people and places.

I’ve been on a few big overseas adventures and somewhere in the middle of my last adventure I realised some of the things that keep drawing me to travel, one being breaking the repetition of the everyday. I also love to lose myself in new things and experiences, to meet new people and also to get to know myself better. I travel and adventure to explore life and what it has to offer, to step out of my comfort zone where things are new and different, while I was on this trip all of this was true. But then the trip ended and I came back to ‘reality’, everything was familiar and comfortable again and I let the day to day patterns take over

I’m familiar with this change between adventures and day to day life which is why during my last trip I also began to realise that maybe adventures don’t have to be limited to overseas travel. Maybe I can bring adventure to every week or day. So during that trip I began writing a list, a list of big and little adventures and activities, a list of mini adventures to make it feel like I’m travelling without actually going overseas. When I came home I forgot all about that list until the other day when my feet were itching so badly to travel again, to explore somewhere new. Realistically at the moment overseas isn’t quite possible which is ok because in a large way it’s the feelings of travel and adventure I’m chasing.

Which brings me back to that list I wrote. Why do we wait for adventure? Why do we think of adventure as a month long trip overseas? Why can’t we explore new places in our own home town? Why don’t we find ways at home to open our senses and step out of our comfort zones? Don’t get me wrong making a big overseas trip is pretty epic but there are so many other ways we can include a bit of adventure in our everyday.

From today I’m vowing to include a little or big adventure into each week and I’ll keep myself accountable over on Instagram. For me that might be as simple as spending a few hours exploring a part of my city I haven’t before. Maybe trying a new café or restaurant. Go indoor rock climbing with a friend (who’s up to join me?), go to a museum, spend an hour taking pretty photos. Go on a day trip or maybe spend a night somewhere, chat to strangers, be a tourist in my own backyard. Do some of the things I would do if I were travelling. I want to do these things to make the weeks count, break the everyday pattern and to enjoy all there is to experience and maybe calm the travel bug for now. It is so possible to have mini adventures and they don’t have to involve a lot of time or money just a little imagination and a sense of adventure.

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The book (and movie) ‘Me Before You’ comes to mind, and if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet you really need to! I dog eared so many pages because of their beautiful quotes. One of my favourites though is
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
I know it’s a super cliché one but I think it’s pretty perfect. I really want to make an effort to bring adventure into my life in big or small ways and that starts now after all Life is One Big Adventure.

Dear First Time (Solo) Traveler

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Hey You, First time Traveler,

Firstly GO YOU!

Go you for deciding to discover new places and for wanting to turn this life of yours into one big adventure. I understand Wanderlust and the urge to travel, I’ve been there. Though I haven’t been to 30 countries or seen the seven wonders I have been on some adventures of my own. My adventures to date have been solo trips and they have been incredible.Today I’ve got a few little tips and tidbits for the first time solo adventurer.

On Planning:
“All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over, SO GO!” ~ Tony Wheeler (Lonely Planet Founder). It’s a simple truth, where do you want to go? Book the flight and you’ll make the rest work, just do it. Dream big and plan a little. For me what works is dreaming big, flicking through the pages of travel guides, hundreds of pins on pinterest and many many travel websites. But here’s the thing, dream big, create a little plan but don’t plan every minute of every day, you’ll open yourself up to new opportunities, you’ll gather advice from fellow travelers on the road, your mood will change, the weather might change, have some freedom in your plan.

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On Packing:
Write a whole lot of lists. Do test packs and cull half of the things in the bag, you really won’t need six pairs of shoes. Keep refining. Then I usually leave the actual packing for the night before, it’s how I roll, but maybe you like to be well prepared. Most places you travel to you’ll be able to buy anything you think you have forgotten or discover you need. Pack for comfort (especially in terms of shoes) and for all weather but leave some room for the little things you buy.

On Courage:
High five for deciding to travel solo. You will probably get told a lot that you are brave and courageous for traveling solo however you may be thinking ‘How am I brave for traveling solo?’ Chances are what you’re about to do hasn’t fully sunk in and you’ve got other things on your mind. It’s even more likely that you have moments where you are quietly freaking out but deep down you know that you are so ready for this and that it’s something you’ve wanted for a very long time. So back to being brave, how are you brave if travel is something you want and going solo is something you’ve made happen? This is something I can really relate to. If you stop and think about it you’ve got to give yourself some credit you are pretty brave and courageous for stepping into the unknown, going with the flow of life, saying goodbye to routine, making your dreams come true and relying on yourself more. To me that’s pretty courageous.
The original definition of courage… (from the Latin word cur, meaning heart) was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. ~ Brene Brown
While solo travel may be different to the courage it take for someone to hike the alps, it still takes courage to listen to your heart and set foot into the big wide world.

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On Travel:
First up, travel on your own terms, don’t worry about others opinions or what you think they think you should be doing, and while guidebooks are great don’t live by them. Doing something that you really aren’t interested in just because it’s the touristy thing to do is going to suck. Find what interests you, do what feels right for you and don’t feel like you have to justify everything you do. You can’t help but live in the moment most times when you travel but I want to remind you to be present. Release control over every little thing, lose track of time, just sit and be and maybe put down the camera and map for a bit, soak up the atmosphere and loose yourself.

On Emotions:
When you travel emotions don’t go away just because you’re on holiday. In a single day you may feel a whole rainbow of emotions, let them rise, feel them, then let them go. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling a bit tired or cranky, listen in, do you need to rest for a while or do you need to change your thoughts? What can you be grateful for instead? What are five beautiful things around you? You may even feel a little homesick and alone. If I ever feel like this I remind myself that yes I may be physically alone I am not lonely. I’m my own best friend and there is always someone you can reach out to, Skype home, or simple strike up a conversation with the person in your hostel room or next to you on the bus.

On Money:
Keep balance with your money. Don’t be super rigid with your money, be aware and keep track of your expenses but don’t restrict yourself. Enjoy a nice meal or two or three and then cook something in the hostel kitchen. Enjoy a free walking tour but then pay a bit more for the whale watching tour. Find balance and what works for you and your budget.

On Doing Things:
Loose the expectations of how you think your trip should look and be and make it your own. Allow yourself time to rest, you are on a holiday after all. Step out of your comfort zone. Wander, explore, put down the map, sit, watch, be present. Listen to your heart, if it calls for people watching in a café or browsing a bookshop for an hour do it. If it says book that Zip Lining tour or down an Irish Coffee at 10 in the morning do that too. Let the impulses guide you. Don’t regret anything and trust your own decisions and instincts.

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On Making the most of your adventure:
Chat with people. Send postcards. Take lots of photos (but put the camera down too). Keep a journal, re reading it years later will take you straight back to the moment. Share your stories. Keep in touch with home. Meet the locals and chat with them. Ask questions. Challenge yourself.

To finish up all I can say is book the ticket and just go! Explore and learn on the road. Discover yourself and find out just how capable you are. Make this life of yours One Big Adventure.

Love

Caitlin

PS. You can check out the stories of my adventures at Life is One Big Adventure