Taking a walk. Walking. Out in nature, or in a city center. That’s what’s liberating. Never in my life have I bought a ticket to see any destination via bus. I would rather walk than sit.
You can’t see the faces of the locals while driving. You’re more aware of your surroundings while walking. Simply because fresh air helps with free exploration and discovering local secrets of wonderful places. Even in Australia, despite it being huge.
Before I left Sunshine Coast and headed from Eastern Queensland into a new world of adventures; to Western Australia, I had to, as a proper Slovenian, climb some of the highest peaks in the area. As I watch the hills from afar, the ones Australians call mountains, I can’t help but miss some of the hills back home. It’s my meditation. I puff like an old steam engine for the first few meters, but then my engine revs up and I fly to the top. I know gorgeous views await me there. Far away from where the people are. Where they’re hiding in their comfort zones.
The paths aren’t marked, there are no blazes, just animal tracks.
We Slovenians are a sporty nation. Very much so. I proudly explain this to the rare Australians that I meet on the so-called bushwalking trails. For a long time, I didn’t understand what ‘bushwalking’ was supposed to mean. You’re probably not walking in the bushes and poking into their most secluded corners, which hide snakes and spiders. Now I understand. Vegetation means not going to the rainforest, similar to ours, once the Mediterranean bushes. The paths aren’t marked, there are no blazes, just animal tracks. You don’t always have to follow those, as they often lead to water, or their homes.
I climbed each mountain with another Australian friend. Each one of them had time on a different weekend. Mount Beerwah is the highest peak of Glass House Mountains. They’re not the same mountains we’re used to back home. The peak only reaches up 556 meters into the sky, climbable in three hours, according to the internet. I was supposed to go there with a friend of mine, who is a successful photographer. Real-estate photographer. He was excited to do some panoramic shots of this beautiful, volcanic-conned land. I chided him at first, when he parked his car and pulled on his boots without appropriate soles. He took a large backpack with him. With a heavy drone. And complete photography equipment. No, this isn’t going to work.
I offered to help him carry half his things. He was too manly for that and rejected me. After huffing and puffing for thirty minutes and reaching the bottom of the wall climb, which you have to brave in order to reach the first trails, he stopped. He was tired under the weight of his backpack, without water, and the scorching sun hanging above us. Thankfully, it was wintertime, so the temperatures were a bit more forgiving. Every part of his body screamed he couldn’t go on. “If you’re not completely sure in your ability to reach the top, we can turn back. The mountain will wait, and you probably have other adventures lined up, more fitting to your goals.” Reaching the highest peak was my goal. In typical Slovenian fashion: reaching the highest one, what else?
``The next morning, I ventured to the top alone.``
``Decisions should be such that drive us towards reaching them.``
The next morning, I ventured to the top alone. At first, I followed a family of four, who didn’t know their way at all (just let me point out again that the paths aren’t marked). After 30 minutes, a man runs past us. He greets us kindly – yes, the traditional greetings in a village or outdoors are the same as in Slovenia – and runs along. Steeply upwards. I think about the run up Grintovec. I think it was a bit steeper. He stops at the next turn and I’m the one who talks to him.
We proceeded to the top together. I needed about two hours. It would have been faster if I hadn’t followed the family’s slow tempo at the beginning. We didn’t run, but we were still in a bit of a rush. He was chasing the minutes. It was his third climb that day; two more awaited him. He set a goal of reaching 100.000 meters in height this year. Which is a bit more difficult in Australia than in Slovenia. But he once again reminded me how persistent and determined people can be. I won’t talk about Slovenians, but mainly about those I know who are determined, stubborn and persistent. These are ordinary people with an athletic soul. And an athletic will that endures.
This is how our daily decisions should be. Hard, strong, determined and clear. Those that are attainable. Real. Otherwise they can bring us bigger disappointments than just failure. Decisions should be such that drive us towards reaching them. That encourages us to fulfill them and find new ones along the way. Like my decision to be happy and to do what makes me happy in life.