When I was 28, a friend told me about her solo trip across Africa. Seeing me blanch, she remarked, “Being alone in a strange place scares you? Maybe you need to spend 3 days alone in the desert.”
That was the exact opposite of something I’d wanted to do. Imagining the sun setting over a rocky desert sandscape, the evening winds, the cry of desert-foxes in the distance, and only me, all alone – that terrified me.
And less than a year later, that’s exactly where I found myself.
Once I was there, my backpack loaded with apricots and halva and countless water bottles, I was no longer afraid.
On day two, I climbed a mountain.
I didn’t know it was a mountain until I climbed down. The ascent had been arduous, hot, interminable, but I didn’t know what I was climbing until the other side revealed it to me in its desert splendor.
I did, and I clicked, and guess what I saw?
Blog posts. Lots and lots and lots. Way more than I could have imagined.
Some low points: the death of my uncle. High points: a Style Up that close to a thousand people read in a single day. And plenty of normal, day-to-day stuff: when to roll up blazer sleeves.
Without realizing it, I had climbed a mountain, word by word, month by month.
Tomorrow, Gabi and I depart for a weekend together. Towards the end of the weekend, I’m turning 41. And looking back over the three years we’ve been together, and the years I lived before knowing her, it’s a mountain of sorts. I’m proud of how far we’ve come together. And I’m proud of how high I’ve climbed, solo.
And sometimes, it takes looking back to see how high you’ve climbed.