It’s prompt time again. I did it once, and warned you that it might happen again, so here we are.
Many times I read those suggestion prompts from WordPress, and often they are great conversation starters, but I mostly focus on journaling, so they don’t go always in line with what I want to write about, or what the day was about.
Yesterday I saved this prompt, because I think the question touches on very sensitive area in my life at the moment. The area, that I hope will turn not only my life into life of purpose, but also help others to appreciate it even more.
Let’s answer this question first. What activities do I lose myself in?
If I consider activities that I really lose myself in, to the point where I am in flow, and am laser focused on what I do – it’s definitely every activity related to my outdoor hobbies. As the title suggests, hiking is one of them, and it’s really more than hiking, but I’ll use this keyword further on, as an umbrella of all outdoor things I refer to.
Scavenging for natural creations was always something that drew me in. In majority of cases I was always looking for edible plants, and fungi (aka mushrooms), but in the process I was learning many inedible, or even poisonous plants and fungi as an extra knowledge. Don’t worry, I was learning about poisonous things, before I ever might have touched them, or ate them, so no harm was caused to me or my beloved ones. I am really fascinated in fungi world, and kingdom. Most of the time, in biology classes we don’t care too much about classifications, and other learnings, because… well, because we are taught things that don’t really interest us, and rarely we use them later in life. Only further in life, we start appreciating some of these, as they come into focus when we start being fascinated in specific areas. Fungi were always a mystery to me. Over time they became a fun thing to do (foraging). Now they are next level fascination, searching, researching, collecting, eating, processing, and protecting them, as well as educating others about how amazing this kingdom is. We think about life on Earth mostly in two categories, and two main kingdoms: animals and plants. But fungi are separate kingdom, and not only they deserve it, but they differ so much from the other too, that their abilities in recent decades are explored more and more. They give us hope in pursuits for greener planet, recycling (yes, fungi are excellent recyclers of matter, much faster and more efficient than any technology that we have), food resource beating nutritional value of many superfoods, as well as enormous medicinal potential, being able to reverse cancerogenic processes and other medical conditions. So while I hike, I usually always scan for fungi (to certain elevation of course, because beyond particular points in the mountains, fungi appear scarce, and usually disappear as much as animals and most plants, too.
Since our move to Donegal area, I got fascinated in marine life too, but it’s early stages. You can be sure though, that I will be writing more as I learn how to forage for seafood.
Hiking and Climbing
Funny thing about my hiking fascination is that I have fear of heights, or as it’s called formally, a form of acrophobia. It is not on the level of panicking, or affecting my life in any specific way, but when I encounter places above certain elevation, especially open spaces with no safety measures, or with “potential” of something bad happening in my head that is related to falling down – there’s definitely a huge discomfort. So I challenge it a lot. One of the form is hiking. I often climb areas that are not marked with trails, and are on the verge of wild, and dangerous, but still doable for a human being without special climbing gear. This exposure to rocky slopes, ledges, etc. and forcing myself to look down, is my own therapy. It’s weird because, at the same time when I feel unease of being there, I also feel awe towards the views, landscapes, and some strange belonging to those places. They are far from civilization, calm, pure, and allow for thoughts that we never have time to contemplate in regular life situations. As you read it you probably think, this is not acrophobia, you don’t have fear of heights, you just feel uncomfortable like anyone else. No. I think that hiking made it much more bearable, because I found something that I like more, than I fear the heights to stop me. This might be the key to many phobias as some research say. Also, I am sure that I have some form of this fear, because I experienced it on one of our trips, namely to Madeira. We visited a glass floored balcony on top of a 580m cliff Cabo Girão, called Cabo Girão Skywalk. Let’s make it clear – I wanted to go there, me specifically. I wanted to walk across the skywalk, and enjoy the views beneath the highest cliff skywalk in Europe. Once there, something strange happened. I had to battle my own brain and body, to step on it. This was the most alien experience in my life, where I had no control over what my body did. I wanted, and steered my body towards the enforced glass pavement, but my primal brain physically stopped it, and did not allow me to step into it. Weirdest experience ever. I had to sit down on a nearby bench, allow some time to look through the glass into enormous space between us and the bottom of the cliff, with waves crashing down the shore, to eventually after quite a long time, get into four, and forcefully crawl into the middle, where I was barely able to stand up for a moment. Although I did it, it was short lived, and when we were back at the car, I was still processing what happened to my body, and I am still processing it to this moment, planning to test it again in near future, and get the chance to defeat that feeling for good.
Hiking, climbing and hillwalking in Ireland does not involve super high peaks, but is dangerous and challenging enough, to train my brain before I attack things like via ferrata in future, or higher and proper mountains in Europe, and on other continents.
So here we are, I answered it. These activities I immerse myself always 101% in. I am focused, detached from daily life, and completely attached to nature in those situations, being in the flow and feeling alive every inch of the way.
While it is changing my life, and allows me to relax, I want to take it to the next level and give it higher purpose. For a while I am researching, and preparing to join Mountain Rescue Team somewhere in Ireland. It is likely to be Donegal Mountain Rescue Team, but you never know. I want to transfer my love to hillwalking, and mountaineering, to purpose of giving hope, and helping people in difficult situations. Use my physical, and mental abilities, to bring people home, extract them from elements where they found themselves hopeless, maybe as a result of accident, but very often due to overrating their own preparation level, and underrating nature’s abilities to show us the sheer power it has, and how beautiful, but dangerous at the same time she is. This teaches respect, and many life change after surviving such traumatic events.
I want to give people a chance to live through these things, and learn to respect and appreciate nature.