"When you're feeling distressed, that doesn't mean find a way to run away from your feelings. You need to feel what you're feeling and know it's OK."
One of the many things I've always been very open to trying but never had the opportunity to experience, is hiking and camping!
Well what better place to do so then in Ecuador, right?
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to visit Cajas National Park. While there, I was exposed to many beautiful and indescribable elements of nature that couldn't have shaped my experience any better than it did.
Okay, so I don't know if I've already shared this but the family that I'm living with in Ecuador lives on a hill.
Not just any hill, but a steep hill.
Not just one steep hill, but TWO steep hills.
I walk to and from school everyday twice a day because lunch is a very important meal here.
So now that I set the scene for how I already endure steep hills outside of hiking, here goes my hiking adventure in a nutshell.
Hike Talk: When we started our trail I literally wanted to die. It's bad enough I looked at these mountains while on the bus ride here and wondered how people actually lived on these mountains with entire farms to tend to. But then to actually be put in their shoes on several of these mountains was just utterly insane. I really have so much respect for them.
Hiking definitely reminded me of how spoiled I am. It taught me how fortunate I am to have the options and how easily accessible everything is for me in the states. I fell about 5 times no matter how careful I tried to be and I laughed it off every time. Besides the fact that I am just a very clumsy person, I believe that as many times and in as many terrible positions that I fell; as long as I could get UP and make it to the finish line I was awesome! Being first does not equal to receiving the best. I was reassured that you hike at your own pace and you comprehend on your own level. Not one person on this earth is alike, never compare your current state to anyone else's because there will always be discrepancies. Take your time and enjoy each moment as you are there.
"Everything will be okay in the end.
If it's not okay, it's not the end."
I place this quote here to remind someone that it's not the end, in fact, contrary to what you might think, it's only the beginning.
I had a moment when was feeling a little down while I was in Cajas. Of course it was a great hiking trip and I made it to the finish line but then my thoughts started to get the best of me.
Those who know me, know that in this part of my life I'm really going through something and finding myself is part of my simultaneous healing remedy. I'm healing from a lot (my book will have all of that juicy detail) and I'm trying to cope with the many questions and thought that come in my mind excessively on a daily basis.
It is literally one of the hardest things to do.
I started to think about people and situations that had absolutely no business following me to this beautiful place of serenity. I was very mad about it because it seemed no matter what I do, where I am, or where I go certain things from my past always find a way to creep into my happy place. I thought I was doing an injustice to myself by laying in my tent journaling about what I was feeling at that moment and not engaging nor acknowledging my surroundings.
Then it hit me.
Although, I didn't want to feel these sad, confused, numb, angry, and isolated things that I was, it was O. K. for me feel.
It means I'm human.
It means I'm genuine
It means the process is doing its job.
Everything that I sense, think, imagine, and even pray about everyday no matter how redundant I may think it is, it is supposed to happen exactly like that. I'm in a better head space than I was this time last year, and at the end of this program I will be in an even better space.
It's a process and I have to give myself credit for how far I've come up until this point. It's very important.
This brings me to:
Camp Talk: Camping, oh camping. I must say that this aspect most definitely tried my patience. This was the most uncomfortable and miserable that I have probably been in my entire life. It rained all night and it was cold. There was 4 of us in a tent which wasn't bad because the body heat definitely came in handy but the ground was sooooo hard. However, my biggest lesson, without a doubt derived from this experience right here. There was another moment after I was tossing, turning, and curling up my toes because I was freezing, that I became really humble.
I began to think of the vicious winters that we have had and how homeless people cope with living on the streets daily. I thought about how they have no choice but to look forward to laying there head down at night on the concrete wondering where or if they will have another meal. They have to look over their shoulder constantly to keep people, bugs, animals and other elements of nature from bothering them. Right then and there I just started to thank GOD that I was even alive and well. He humbled me so much in one night, it was actually amazing.
Here I was laying on GOD beautiful creation and all I could think about was getting in hot water and wifi the next morning. Not even realizing that people live like this and worse every single day. I was just praying to make it through the night while others were probably praying they make it through the year with enough natural resources to open their eyes every morning.
"When I'm down on my luck I focus on the fact that life is made up of beautiful moments and the bad ones are only interruptions between them."
I'm telling you all this now, living in another country is literally another world. I hope every last one of you reading this gets to experience it and can gather your own takeaways.
It's rough and it's challenging but it's a true test of character and guess what?
I'm passing with flying colors:)
Enjoy the new pictures, love you guys!
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