“The mountains were his masters. They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality beyond growth, beyond struggle and death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change” – Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward Angel
I’ve been quiet a wee while. Perhaps its because I’ve needed some space or perhaps I’ve exhaled as much as I could following the last few years on the road. But now I am still... I have a home in the French Alps where I am managing three chalets for a family run business. I love my job despite the early starts, which begin with an alarm clock ring tone the least offensive I could find on my work phone (back in the smart phone dimension after a prolonged detox!). That has taken some getting used to and my body clock seems to enjoy waking me up an hour in advance to minimise the shock it has on the system as the sunrises over the valley.
So I am back in my happy place; Mountains. The mountains always feel like home for me. I guess it is because of my mother, with her indigenous roots of the mountain people of Venezuela that I have this affinity with them. It is a place where my spirit thrives and I welcome each day looking up and being in awe of the world around me held in nature. “Well, you’re in the mountains now, time to relax and slow down” I say to my guests when they arrive after their long journey getting here.
And I also turned thirty. I did find myself a little reflective on the past few years. It’s not been easy. Choosing to live a life on the road has come with risks, vulnerabilities, existential crises, financial crises, foreign bugs and a whole plethora of realities, perspectives and paradigms to look at the world through. But then seeing after all the experiences, the depths of emotions and all the fears faced, I wake up on my thirtieth birthday surrounded by the most beautiful mountain landscape fulfilling a dream I’ve sat with so long to do a ski season I can look back, appreciate the funny way life takes one on it’s galavants to put you where you’ve wished to be and feel pretty glad.
In the afternoons I can get on a snowboard and glide through the mountains, work on my balance, carve at speed through snow, along ice. Moments of euphoria flood my body as I feel ever present and in awe of the peaks around me. Mountains teach strength, endurance, patience and peace. They’re dangerous. They’re steep. There's the constant change of weather yet they’re also the gentle giants of the Earth that take you higher to the sky as you gasp for breath.
So life in the mountains is good. Life is more grounded in routine and familiarity while I get to embarrass myself regularly with my terrible French that I will continue to try to speak despite being responded to in English. I’ve got to keep learning my heart says - how else will I get better?
And the adventure continues.