[ Wander to wonder ]

“I have a spare bus ticket. Up for a trip to the mountain?” a friend asked.

It was rather unusual that I was invited for an event or an adventure or whatnot since I was almost always the miserable wallflower. Deep down I was glad that someone knew I existed and cared enough to offer company.

“Yeah, sure. I mean, if there is nobody else who wants it,” I answered casually without sounding too desperate. In fact, I got so excited before even fully knowing what the trip was all about. We were talking about mountain here, my friend. Being outdoor was never my forte but I dared myself to give it a shot this one time. It was a bus trip and it couldn’t be that strenuous to explore the area, or so I thought. Besides, I would have the opportunity to take nice photographs of the surrounding. Kill two birds with one stoneI muttered to myself.

Never did I anticipate that I missed the throw and hit none. It was Ben Lomond, a mountain suited for someone fit for hiking and there I was wondering what hell on earth I signed up for. It has been proven that our agreement to Terms & Conditions is the biggest lie on the web, perhaps due to its excessive wordiness and our mentality that none of those points would harm in any way if we just do what we usually do. However, reading the small print could save us from big trouble. The problem is I didn’t even read the big print, duh!

Being outdoor is never my  forte, if I haven’t emphasized it enough already, but I didn’t realize it until I attempted it. Indeed, you’ll never know the depth of the water until you immerse yourself in it. I was just being trying to be adventurous and hoped it was worth it. There and then, I wondered.

The weather was kind. The sun was shining bright. The massive clouds were white and fluffy, overshadowing the plains. The sky was blue and clear. Why wouldn’t I be content?

The surrounding was amazing. The view was breathtaking. The path was dry. The rocks were smooth and steady. The trees, the grass, and the hills were a beautiful combination of autumn colors. The lakes were sparkling, reflecting the sunlight directly into my eyes. The breeze was blowing my hair gently. What was not to love?

I realized after a few hours that the gentle slope had turned to a steeper one, demanding more from my barely-remaining stamina. The more I climbed up, the harder my breathing became. It was more like a marathon than a sprint and I knew it was beyond my capacity to excel in that. I didn’t want to be regarded as someone who gave up easily but the more I pushed myself, the faster my heartbeat and body pulses got. It came to the point that the tips of my fingers and toes went numb from the cold, begging more for my persistence.

I willed myself to surpass what I always thought I could do but it made my head spin, probably as a result of either the lack of blood sugar or lack of determination. I wondered why I decided to go on this expedition to reach the peak in the first place, whether it was the right choice at all. Every nerve of my being started protesting for me to stop and then roll back down to the very base. My body didn’t feel like my own, it didn’t perform as my mind told it so. My legs wanted to give way. My tears and perspiration united as one pool of water drops which were too quickly wiped away by the wind for people to notice.

I started thinking of my family to distract myself that I came away thus far from home to achieve the unachievable. I started to question my life and dived into a deep and reflective mood. I begun to understand myself a little better. It was more practical to relent to the temptation of picking the easy way out, but thankfully my perspective was somewhat distorted by what I saw. The two young boys who overtook me seemed to enjoy the journey and not grumbled like I did. A few meters in front of me, there was an elderly couple who kept going enthusiastically with their walking sticks at hand. Further up, there was a man in his 30’s lifting up a bike with both hands while walking uphill. How could I call it a day without giving my all when these people persevered on despite their limitations?

Suddenly I remembered the friend who invited me. He was nowhere in sight. I bet he reached the top in half the time I would take to do the same. He grew up near the mountain, after all. No, Tania, that was just a mere excuse to make yourself feel better. I would do my best was all I expected myself to accomplish. However, one by one, people were passing me. This was quite obvious from the fact that only the back view of these people was captured in my camera, wasn’t it? I was embarrassed but who was I to think they were judging me? I could have been over-thinking it, as always.

Unlike any other successful stories which usually end up with the “heroes” victoriously conquered the obstacles, I didn’t. Or, well, I did the small ones. This is supposed to be a blog for people to seek inspiration, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and there I dug out the gold from the mine for you. Oh, was it even a gold! Always try to perceive the brighter side of life during the dark moments even when you don’t have a torchlight. I didn’t reach the top but I was satisfied, and I don’t have a torchlight with me.

I wandered and thus I wondered.

Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I got conquered. Oh, God, no!



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