It was raining that afternoon. I never understood why people trek for hours on end just to reach the summit. Is it just to escape the mundane everyday routine, away from all the noise of responsibilities and work? Maybe I’m right, or maybe there’s something more to it.
This hour long hike to Mount Naupa confirmed something I already knew – how physically unfit I was. Despite being aware of this fact, I went on anyway. Maybe this had something to do with my New Year’s Resolution of saying “yes” more often. But for the most part, I did it for the stunning sunset views, Milky Way and sunrise. I got none of the above.
But it’s funny how life works out. I was looking to relive an experience I already had many times in the past. To be fair, the sky is so beautiful I could watch it a thousand times over and not get tired of it.
This time the universe did not give me what I was looking for, and instead handed me something different and much more memorable.
It gave me peace and quiet and the sound of crickets chirping in the distance. The universe gave me new-found friends, delicious meals by the camp and the experience of sitting down on the dirt listening to good music.
It gifted me with a weekend of shared laughter in between catching my breath and late-night conversations about life, love and the good kind of nonsense.
We stayed up until 3 a.m. that night talking about so many things, learning more and more about each other and ourselves.
When I talk about travel, I always mention all of these places I want to go to. The concrete jungle of Tokyo, Kyoto’s zen temples covered in bright shades of red and yellow foliage, European cities that look straight out of children’s story book, and so on…
I’ve always been so focused on the place, not the people in it. This has made me neglect the importance of human connection. After all, so much of our happiness comes from our relationships with people. This weekend in the mountains has made me realize that the people I meet along the way and the friends that I take with me during my travels play a much bigger role than I thought in the memories that I make.
Travel is much more than just seeing the world. It’s also about discovering parts of yourself through human interaction, learning about others, what is going on in their lives, their opinions, changing their perspectives and letting them change yours, because what good are these experiences if you still come out the same person at the end of the day?