My breaths became faster and heavier, until I started hyperventilating. I couldn’t breathe and was gasping for air. I had to stop for a moment. Joran made a gesture to the rest of the group to walk on: “We will catch up.”
I don’t know what I was thinking climbing this stupid freakin’ mountain. I was never going to be able to make it.
My gasps for breath turned into tears. “They only needed 2 hours to break me,” I sobbed to Joran, which caused us both to start laughing.
That was a reference to something I causally said to him a few days before: “You know those TV shows where they send troubled youth up into the mountains and make them walk and camp for days until they break and transform their lives? Normally that’s a punishment for bad behaviour, but in our case we will climb mount Rinjani voluntarily, even pay money for it. They are gonna break us Joran. We are going down.”
It’s funny how much more you can endure when you think you absolutely can’t go further anymore. If there’s one thing I learned from doing a three-day trek in Lombok, Indonesia, it’s that. Climbing mount Rinjani was the physically most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life, including running half a marathon. Now, a few weeks later, the sense in my right leg still hasn’t fully returned. My nerves are slightly damaged and are recovering from walking up to 10 hours a day, sometimes climbing 1000 meters in altitude in only 3 hours time.
“Do you think you can still make it to the next stop?” “Yes.” “Then you walk until the next stop and rest there. When you’re there, you ask yourself the same question: could I at least make it another 2 of 3 hours?”
Joran has some real proper ideas every now and then.
In fact, that idea in combination with his loving support is probably the only reason I made it, not only to the first stop, but the full three days.
This is the part where I start going all metaphorical on you about mountains and hardships. I’m sorry, it has to be done.
Don’t look at the big, daunting task miles ahead of you that makes you freeze like a deer facing the approaching headlights of a car. Instead, look only a tiny step ahead of you, to the one goal you think you might be able to tackle. Only after tackling that first step, you need to start worrying about the next.
Baby steps, baby steps.
It was my mantra during the hike all the way to the top, and all the way back.
It was difficult. It was rough. I cried. I was dirty. My legs were shaking and I pretty much slept on a bunch of rocks. In the nights where I didn’t get up at 2AM to start walking at 2.30AM that is. But when you make it to that top, it’s surreal.
It’s the most beautiful view in the world, and you own it. You made it through. You battled through the hardships and didn’t give up. The sea of clouds that light up in the first rays of morning sun are what you get, what you deserve, as a result of your hard work.
But remember, you only get to the top of the world by taking baby steps.