The mountains have called out to me many times. But never so strongly as when I walked the Tour du Mont Blanc.
It was 2015. My boyfriend had just dumped me and ran off with another women after six years together. I was adrift. I was living in a foreign land. Close friends were few and far between. I was alone. I was hurting. I’d hit rock bottom. I needed to reassert myself as an individual, as a woman who was brave, strong and free. Travel had always been my release. Bizarrely I feel most at home when I’m wandering.
Without any prior long-distance trekking experience, without ever doing anything that physically challenging on my own, I packed my backpack and headed for the Alps.
And I’ve never looked back. I didn’t know it at the time, but that trip – a mere two weeks – sent me down a path to a new life. And I found, or re-found, that brave, strong and free me. That path has taken my up higher and more challenging mountains. It’s given me new hobbies and new friends. It’s enabled me to feel whole again. And I believe that if I can do it, anyone can.
It’s not easy. It’s not without risks. And yes it is scary, daunting and nerve-wracking. But now I’m on the other side and I continue to climb, I can’t recommend it enough.
There are many quotes I love that sum up my journey. But my favourite (aside from the John Muir quote above; isn’t he just so damn quotable?) is this one from Nelson Mandela: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man (or woman) is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
With this blog I hope to inspire others, particularly women, to get out there and explore nature on your own. You don’t need anyone else, i.e. a man, to show you how it’s done. You can do it. Believe in yourself. You may need to start small. You should always begin simply and within your means. But with time and experience you’ll find you’re much more capable than you ever imagined.