“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate people than to travel with them”- Mark Twain
I love this quote, because of the humor that we all can share in it. Each and every one of us has taken a trip with our loved ones, and left the experience wondering how amazing the experience was of experiencing the world with someone. The quote highlights the fact that one cannot simply love or hate someone till they travel with them. I recently went on my Live Big Trip. This trip is something TrAk Athletics funds for its coaches in an effort to help us utilize our strength and fitness outside the gym in a normal life setting. It helps us to push our boundaries, and to explore more in life. It’s a true showcase and testament to the value this organization places on fostering an environment that promotes optimal physical, mental and emotional growth and wellness of everyone that is a part of it.
After a few changes in my plan, I decided to go for a solo trip to multiple countries for 10 days. I had a chance to experience multiple languages, border controls, culture and flights in these days.
The entire experience of traveling alone helped me push my boundaries to seek physical, mental and emotional comfort, which quite often left me in a vulnerable position. It was quite similar to walking into a new gym or new community for the first-time. However, I was already ready for the fact that growth and change would need uncomfortable moments, and uncertainty as that is what is going to help me propel in a forward direction.
I began the trip flying to Cyprus. Cyprus is an Island in the Mediterranean that has a fascinatingly different way of life. I made very few plans for the first 3 days I was to spend in Cyprus. I went for hiking to the Salt Lake Trail and I had the opportunity to witness the preserved ancient aqueducts there. It took me 15 minutes to walk to and fro from my Airbnb apartment and the entire hike lasted for 2 hours in total. It made me feel fresh and it was definitely a fantastic way to start my morning at Cyprus. The training experience at TrAk helped me enjoy my experience of sightseeing and hiking and even after 12 km of round trip, I was feeling as fresh as I was feeling before. The rest of the day at Cyprus was spent in walking through the city streets and backways, which included the experience of watching the Larnaca Marathon from the coffee shop.
The next day was spent exploring the Troodos Mountains, through a wine tasting. I went on this trip with a couple from Mumbai, and our tour guide. I was excited to see the mountain region and what it had to offer. It did not disappoint as we had a wonderful time getting to know each other, and thoroughly enjoyed the sights. The pace of the day was slow and relaxed and we hiked a little around the vineyards and walked through the older villages. We also sampled local food and learned how to make bread and other local treats that this place has to offer.
The reason I enjoyed my experience to Cyprus is because of the members and coaches at TrAk. They pushed me and helped me live the best experience that my life has to offer. It is because of them that I can tell my story to Cyprus so openly and freely.
The next day I was off to Dublin. After reaching Dublin, I strolled through the Airbnb apartment and went to the Temple bar district, local coffee shops, Museums, Howth Cliffs, the Jameson Distillery, Guinness, and Phoenix Park. Every place provided a unique opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and test my capacity in various ways just like the hiking I did in Cyprus. The cliff hike took place on Howth, which required a 40 min train up from Dublin. It starts at the harbor and proceeds for about 17 miles around the peninsula. It includes wonderful sights from the edge of the cliffs, through various terrains, that go from sea level to the summit, around 500 feet above sea level.
It was rainy and muddy that day which only added to the challenge of the hike. This hike took a little over 4 hours altogether and this does not include the experience of visiting the side ventures that the trail has to offer. Getting to the edge on the cliffs and taking looks over or even sitting on the edge to think, provide more than a wet and dirty pair of jeans, it provided great opportunities to reflect.
Every few miles I had to stop, rest, and think about life. I was physically challenged more on this part of the trip than I thought I could be on any other activity. Lack of sleep, and a little bit of travel stress no doubt didn’t help but I was physically pushed here. Had I gone in worse shape, I would have had to cut the hike short, or end my day at 3:00pm. When I finally got back I went to the train station, instead of going out for the night and meeting new friends or having a lovely dinner with some of them.
I would have missed the second lighthouse, jumping off the trail to go down to various bays, and climb the side of mountains and rocks. I would have also missed some of the most memorable moments of my trip, had my physical capacities not been where they were. I think that says a lot about the importance of training and going to a place in TrAk that pushes your fitness forward in the right way. It allows you to experience the moments that matter. Whether that includes hiking on the cliff of Howth, the salt lake of Cyprus, or as the last night of the trip did, walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Arch de Triumph.
It was during this time that I realized the actual meaning of the quote mentioned above. I realized how one can fall in love with parts of themselves they had forgotten, ones you get to remember after traveling alone. Luckily I have an environment where I am pushed to get ready to experience such moments. It made me more confident, strong, curious, bold, and adventurous and it helped me enhance my physical, mental and emotional capacity in the best way possible.