What I learned from walking in the Blue Mountains

I recently went walking around Echo Point and the Three Sisters at Katoomba. It was a way to breathe in some quality fresh air, get some quiet, and have a journey. The best thing about journeys is they always teach us something along the way.

The Giant Stairway is an official track from Echo Point down to one of the sisters. For some reason, I was determined to prove a point by taking this walk. What was I proving? You see, I am scared of heights. This was the perfect way to prove I can survive challenges. So I clung onto the rail for my dear life. So what? I still did it. Here's what I learned in the process:

1. There is a time and a place for handbags. Sorry, this slightly superficial point had to be made. I had a long shoulder bag for this journey. And yes, the iPad was in it. If I ever got accidentally stranded (which luckily never happened), I still had E.L.James. But this pretty frilly handbag looked somewhat out of place when surrounded by foreign tourists who carried practical backpacks that you can find in a camping store. The point is that when we are not dressed for the occasion, it is easy to look like we have just rocked up to something randomly. And yes I had.

2. Always have something to hold onto. My walk descended down a few cliffs with just a steel rail standing between me and the tumbling mountains which probably had very little phone reception. So what if I was the girl who literally would not let go at all times. It meant I had confidence in what would happen . So what if the little kiddies happily dawdled along without a second thought about worst case scenarios? I was happy holding onto something. We often hold onto a faith, a routine, or our whatever if takes to keep metaphorically walking.

3. Stop to smell the roses or check out the view. The view was like a sea of trees. This carpet of bushland just continued beyond he horizon. There was no more suburban sprawl anywhere to be seen. I was on the other side of Sydney, in the complete opposite direction of anything resembling metropolitan life. The  vast wilderness looked calm. Who knew a landscape could have a mood? Yes, I gave into temptation to Tweet when trekking in the wilderness. I just roll that way. But we should all stop to see the pretty side of life regardless of whatever digital devices may have been glued to our palms lately. Take nothing for granted. I love appreciating the little things like nature.

4. Take up a challenge. And hydrate. Just saying. Don't be surprised when easy activities become challenging jobs. You see, some tourists told me something insightful as I walked down the start of my journey. They were walking back up and completely out of breath. They told me the path is more tiresome going back up the hills. I felt so much more fit than these exhausted newbies. The walk down was like a casual stroll. Was I really walking? It felt like standing on one of those conveyor belt things you find at the airport. But the trip back up was exactly as the newbies had said. I wasn't just hyperventilating as my body tried to recover air as quickly as possible. The altitude worked together with the incredibly uphill slope to completely gang up against my efforts. I felt like I was going to faint. The litre of water was far too easily consumed. Entire five minute sit down breaks felt completely reasonable. Yet nothing was impossible when perseverance was involved.

5. Have fun along the way. It's possible to take up hobbies or tasks like this and take them so seriously that they don't seem fun anymore. That should not happen. There was no use stressing over exhaustion or anything else. The point was to have fun and see the bonuses or positive sides to this. I didn't need to consider visiting the gym after this outing. And I got to check out a brilliant part of the world for the first time in a while.

So take a journey to anywhere at all. Even the little journeys in life always teach us something. And even when we don't want to get all philosophical on a day out, it's still just heaps of fun!


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