Have you ever had a shift in your life. Ambassador Meg talks about a major shift that pointed her in a different direction – the right direction.
Don’t panic! I scream on the inside. My knees twitch uncontrollably as I lean back over the 80-foot cliff. I start to shake all over, white knuckling the only piece of equipment stopping me from plummeting to my death.
“You don’t have to do this.” Chirps John, a friend at the time. As I teeter on the edge of the cliff, my hands death gripping the rope, I wonder why on earth I’m trying to repel into the abyss.
Two days ago, I ended a seven-and-a-half-year relationship. I was engaged and had just bought a house. I had never lived by myself, and I needed something, anything, to prove to myself that I am capable.
I look down and nearly vomit. No. I thought. You’ve got this. You can do it. Trust the gear. Don’t let fear consume you. With one deep breathe I struggle over the edge and slowly make my way down to the bottom of the canyon. While descending, I start to see life from a new angle. Here I am dangling off the edge of the world in a place few venture. The second my feet touch the ground I know that my life just changed forever.
Four years ago, you wouldn’t recognize me. I stressed about whether or not my house looked like a magazine. I wasn’t comfortable in public without makeup. I measured my accomplishments by how many new, hip restaurants I had been to. Sure, I was well traveled.
Yes, I had taken public transportation across the island of Java. I had trekked through the Peruvian Amazon and traveled solo through Mongolia. Despite my safe habits, I had an adventurous soul.
However, somewhere along the way that flame got buried. Covered by a deep pile of everyone else’s expectations of who I should be. I was told to grow up and move on from my silly dreams of adventure and exploration. Get a “real” career. Buy a house. Get married. Have kids. Settle and be thankful for what you have. Why would you ever want to run from a picture-perfect life? Instead of going against what everyone told me, I played along.
Here’s the thing with adventurous souls, the more you bury the monster, the bigger it grows.
One day, I woke up, looked at myself in the mirror and thought; what the hell happened? The wild was calling and I needed to answer.
And answer I did. I ditched the relationship that held me back. Instead of eating out, I spent my hard-earned cash on gear. I left my soul-sucking career as a commercial architect to start my own business as an outdoor writer. Over time, I transformed. Once deathly afraid of heights, I am now a multi-season mountaineer. I went from calling myself a “bad hiker” to a bushwhacking backpacker. The wild made space in my life to change. With every challenge I became more and more myself; the strong, confident woman I was born to be.
The wilderness offered me a chance to change the day I rappelled off of that cliff. After that point I had a choice: Do I continue to drown myself in what other’s want out of me? Or do I let myself be wild? A door opened, and although I couldn’t see what laid beyond it, I was drawn to the smell of dirt, sweat and wildflowers.
So here I am. Strong. Wild. And Free.
Meg is a freelance writer for the outdoors and an Ambassador for Hike Like a Woman. You can
find her making her way up a challenging peak, searching for powder stashes on her
backcountry snowboard, or discovering the perfect camp spot in her home of Colorado. She’d
rather be dirty than done up. Discover more at www.foxintheforest.net