Wadi Shawka

Important life lessons I learnt by climbing mountains


Very little compares to the journey on a mountain.

The fluttering leaves from whistling winds, the fresh droplets on rocks from morning mist and the orange sky from a blissful sunrise make up for the soreness in every inch of my body from yesterday’s hike. It is one step after the other and one breath onto the next as I walk, forced to be mindful of our nature’s surroundings. My tiny feet tremble with the backpack’s weight, my unwashed clothes drench with a new day’s sweat, and yet I look forward, for ‘backward’ isn’t an option for the darer, unless faced with fatality.

Hiking the Mohare Dande Trail, Nepal, 2018

But it almost appears healing to disconnect, or at least, the world says so. But I do not think so – this isn’t a disconnection from the world – in fact, one gets evermore connected with themselves and others through thoughts when in nature. As they say, the reflective state of the mind comes alive, and you get to ‘be’, with all your consciousness. The sensory experiences heighten with your weary body and over-exercised will – a constant manifestation of the unexpected. At this point, all your thorough preparation falls short and yet you chuckle with a surrender, for nature nudges you with its mightiness – point proven indeed!


So mountains for most climbers aren’t just means to tell stories of tattered boots, pumped biceps and immortal scars. Those pointy peaks aren’t used by us only to boast about our thrill-seeking attitude and intricately decorated Instagram. We don’t just brave hours of scorching heat and bitter cold to let ourselves brim with wonder. There is more to it; we find ourselves by losing ourselves a little. We remember who we are and our purpose in life. We learn about how capable we truly are and how a mountain top might just be the beginning of another, personal one. We feel the ache, the bliss, the yearning, the peacefulness, and yet the importance of detachment from each in order to move forward. We come to care and love the nature and ourselves.


Hence I wonder, how could someone ignore something so beautiful? In fact, how could someone even stay the same after climbing one? And once you do climb, it is seldom your last climb – or so I have heard (and I can attest). Yet a lot of us are called ‘crazy’. Are we crazy to gain clarity in the pure and sacred nature, or are you crazy to spend yet another day enclosed in your cubical or tangled in the congestion of a city, judging those seeking freedom? You decide.

 As the script of the documentary ‘Mountain’, rightly read:

“Mountains were places of peril, not beauty.
An upper world to be shunned, not sought out.
How then have mountains now come to hold a spellbound,
Drawing us into their dominion, often at the cost of our lives?
Because the mountains we climb are not made only of rock and ice
But also dreams… And desire.
The mountains we climb,
Are mountains of the mind.”

That for me, is a journey on a mountain.

Read more about my hiking adventures:
Havasu Falls, The Hidden Treasure of Planet
A Week On The Appalachian Trail
Why am I hiking The Appalachian Trail?
Kayaking in Hatta Water Dam
What To Prepare For A Camping Trip?


One response to “Important life lessons I learnt by climbing mountains”

  1. Victoria Avatar

    You’re such a beautiful writer! I remember my first hike. Although it wasn’t anything monumental, it did give me the opportunity to connect with nature and with myself and to enjoy everything around me. I think it is important for everyone to experience this just once! Awesome post!


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