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.
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
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