Climbing Mountains

Emily Brett - Ecuador


October 30, 2013

It was on the way down that I noticed, the beauty that was surrounding me, it was unbelievable! The orchids, the animals, the scenery were all so overwhelming.

Earlier that week the Cazuay Team and I had left our designated locations for Training Seminar Zero. We were headed to Tarqui, about 35/40 minutes outside the center of Cuenca. When we arrived in the beautiful hostel located in the rolling hills of the Southern Andes, the team and I began to relax after a long week in our communities. Learning about what we were doing for the next four days was exciting, touring the farm that we were staying at, a local zoo, but most importantly we learned that we were going to be climbing a mountain! At first when Yuri told us this I was not impressed, however, as the day drew closer and closer I began to anticipate the views and experience that the mountain would bring.

The day had come and as I was walking out of my room to breakfast the smell of sunscreen and old hiking boots filled the air. After I had eaten way too much pan and papaya, we set off. The ten of us marching towards the mountain, I knew that we were in for a great time. Little did I know that once we had reached the base of the mountain the real work started! It started out as a rigorous walk, however as we got higher and higher my breaths became shorter, and more labored. When the dirt trail ended, the steps began. When I tell you that I very much enjoy the stair climber at the gym, this was the stair climber from hell! It went on forever, as high as I could see I would be climbing. My legs were aching just at the thought of what I had to do. There I was standing at the base of this mountain ready; ready for an adventure, and as soon as I took that step it had began. Climbing and climbing, it literally seemed like it was never ending. My head was down, counting in my head the beat that I was marching. I had a system down, a system that allowed me to reach the top of the mountain.

There were about twenty steps left, I could see the top. I started running, and before I knew it, there I was. I had done it! Standing at the top with my team seemed like we had successfully completed a goal that we had set for ourselves. As we took many of the pictures that you are seeing below, it hit me, that I had not noticed the beauty that was surrounding me. It seemed as if I had only focused on the goal at hand. We had reached the top in a very efficient manner, but had I really truly enjoyed the experience. This was a question that I had to ask myself.

It was on the way down that I noticed, the beauty that was surrounding me was unbelievable. The orchids, the animals, the scenery were all so overwhelming. As I began to descend the stairs, at a much slower rate, I began to realize the beauty that I had missed on the way up. I began to think of times that I was so focused on the ending goal that I missed enjoying the experience. As I continued to walk down the stairs, I was clicking away with amazing photos that not only reminded me of the beautiful country that I am living in, it reminded me that if I take a minute to look around, I can find beauty in any situation.

It was in that moment that I was reminded of the vision that I had set for myself. Envisioning my future, my mind was exploding with the possibilities that I had at my fingertips. However I made a very important promise to myself. This promise allows me to fulfill the goals and aspirations that I have set for myself, but also to enjoy the experience, every moment of the journey. I promised that this year is one of transformation and true self-discovery.  I hope that in one year, 365 days from now, my life will be transformed into something that, at this point, seems so unfamiliar that it is hard to even imagine. Throughout my Global Citizen Year I hope to find a home within myself. A sense that I can travel anywhere with anyone, speaking any language, truly flourish and make an impact. I hope to have an adventure, seeing the end goal, but reminding myself that every step is to be enjoyed, every step is valuable in my transformation, every experience, every smile, every tear, living in the moment will make me truly become the reflective ambassador of my life journey. With this adventurous,reflective spirit in mind, I am ready to embrace this change and ready for the next mountain!

Emily Brett