The wind was blowing through my hair and the gravel was crunching loudly under my feet. Around me a select few who had chosen to venture to the top stood in awe of the 360-degree views that surrounded us. My sweat-streaked face welcomed the cool breeze that touched it, as I stood, speechless, at the top of Mount Roy.  Triumphant laughs and hugs were exchanged as we took turns taking photos of one another.

I wanted a life filled with memories like these, the idea of working 9 to 5 in a job that I hated terrified me and I was determined that I would not let that happen.

As I looked around, realizing that there was no visible point higher than us, I felt on top of the world. I felt invincible. A type of invisibility that comes with being 17 and achieving a goal you weren’t sure was possible. Looking down I could see our tents on the hill below us, our friends, only just recognizable, sitting around enjoying the sun in between packing up our gear. I loved these people and I loved this place. I had only been living in Wanaka for a few months but it had become my home, and these people, my family.

 

I had moved to Wanaka in 2008 to finish my final year of high school as I had been accepted into the hostel program at an outdoor pursuits school. I had played netball and had a short stint with rowing before, but you would not have picked me as the outdoor pursuits type if you met me. Looking back that only makes the things I achieved that much better.

Taking a Leap of Faith

When I decided I wanted to leave home and move away from everyone I knew and loved, I didn’t think twice. I was being given an amazing opportunity and I seized it with both hands and never looked back. When I look back now at my 17-year-old self I am so proud of the courage that I had, yet so envious of the blind faith I held that things would work out. I didn’t for a second think that leaving home was a bad idea, or that, for one reason or another, it wouldn’t work out.

Standing at the top of that mountain, looking out over the town I had come to love, I knew I didn’t want to live a normal life. I knew that I wanted to do great things and feel this inspired every day. I made myself a promise, at the top of Mount Roy, that I would always push myself to do more, to explore deeper, to challenge myself and strive for this feeling of joy and inspiration in everything I did. I wanted a life filled with memories like these, the idea of working 9 to 5 in a job that I hated terrified me and I was determined that I would not let that happen.

Had you pointed to Mount Roy at the start of the year and told me that I would be climbing it I would have laughed and said you were joking, but I’ve always been one to give things a go; I think its part of the kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. So I did. I climbed a mountain, and reaching the top was the best reward I have ever got. If I could do that, I knew I could do anything, and the seed of self-belief that I had inside me started to grow.

It was then that I knew my life would never be the same again.  Now when I doubt myself or catch myself thinking that my goals aren’t possible, I remember the feeling of the wind through my hair and the salty sweat covering my face, I remember the feeling of hope and the belief that anything is possible, and I am once again reminded that life is an adventure, and dreams do come true.

About the author: Renata is a travel addict determined to live a life of continuous exploration and discovery. She has recently started her own blog Intrepid Travels with Elephants to share her up-coming adventures and provide inspiration for others wanting to get out there and achieve their goals. You can follow her on Twitter at Roaming Renata

Inspirational Series 

This is an ongoing series of inspiring stories from intrepid travellers around the world. If you have an experience in travel that changed your life, made you look at the world differently or an amazing moment that you want to share, please contact us for more details and we will email you right back.. You can also read more about submitting an article to this series at Calling All Writers, Share your Inspirational Travel Story

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12 Comments

  1. Charu

    Definitely inspired! I too, hated the whole 9-5 gig. It seemed so contrived and travel was what I really wanted to do. Beautiful shot and essay.

    1. debndave Post author

      I agree, it is quite inspiring to know what you want at such a young age. I am definitely impressed with Renata.

    2. Renata

      Thanks for your comment Charu, life is too short to spend it doing things you don’t love. I hope you have been able to break free from the 9-5 and follow your travel dreams :)

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