"Don't stop exploring."
Monday, June 20, 2016
Amazing! This is the only word that I have to describe my adventures of the day. I spent the final day of my journey touring the northern tip of Ireland. I imagined what life would have been like at Carricksburg Castle, braved the rope bridge at Carrick-A-Rede, and hiked the Giant’s Causeway. I started walking, but I didn’t quite know what I was walking toward. I just knew it was a suggested “must see” of Northern Ireland. After walking…and walking…and walking, I began to see the interesting rock formations, boulders, and the cliff that lead to the waters edge. It was beautiful.
As I climbed up the rocks, I was pleased that I made this trip. I took a few pictures, then made my way down to side to join the others, ready to move on to the next tourist attraction.
THEN, I was informed that we weren’t finished. I was lead through a stone tunnel to the other side of the cliff, only to see a long, winding path that lead to another
cliff mountain to climb! I wasn’t sure if I had it in me, but I had to try. The cold wind was blowing hard, cutting through my thin rain jacket. My Toms shoes and jeans weren’t the best gear for this activity. Also, let me be honest – I haven’t exercised in months! I was following someone up the trail that had experienced the hike before. He assured me that this was worth the struggle. So, I put my head down, took a deep breath, and put one foot in front of the other. I kept my hiking partner in sight, but walked at my own pace. At one point, he turned around and informed me that we were almost there. That’s what I needed to hear. As I made it to the top, I turned to look at how far I had walked. The view was breathtaking!
Then, I turned around to see what was in front of me. I was in awe. It was a completely different landscape. here were rolling green hills, fields decorated with wild flowers, farm land, white farm houses, and hedge row fences. This was such a stark contrast to the dark rocks and steep hillside that I just climbed. Who knew that this would be my reward?
As I was reflecting at the end the day, I realized that my perspective changed during my hike. I started a walk with limited information, just following along with others to see the site. It took some effort, but I didn’t have to struggle. Once I arrived at the rocks, I marveled at the formations, took my pictures, and thought I was done. If that had been the end of the attraction, I would have been happy and none the wiser. But, I would have missed so much. However, when I was told that I wasn’t finished and challenged to hike up the trail, I almost quit. I didn’t feel prepared. I needed encouragement. I had to struggle. But, it was more than worth it. I was able to experience all the views of the Causeway from every angle. Each part of beautiful, unique, and interesting.
Lessons learned: Don’t stop exploring. Accept support. Be a part of a community. Take the next step. Don’t be intimidated by the struggle. The end result is worth it!