Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. — Arthur Ashe, First Black Tennis player to win three Grand Slam Titles
“OSS” or “OSU” means Oshi Shinobu, which conveys the idea of “persevering when pushed.” — The Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy
It’s 3 am in the morning on the mountain and I’ve just had the best sleep of this entire trip . . . and it was only four hours! We had to get up early to get in line at the entrance of the final leg of our trek. So we pack up our things, bid farewell to our porters and march off into the darkness with our headlamps guiding the way. I’m going to miss saying “Good night Netherlands, UK, Germany, New Zealand, and Canada!” After about 20 minutes of hiking in the dark we make it to the entrance where we wait until 5:30 am for the gates to open. Waiting around for an hour wasn’t how I envisioned finishing this trail, but I took advantage of meeting people from other tours. Also, there’s always solace in beating the Sun to the sky . . .
At 5:30 am the gates swing open and we begin our last hike together. Two hours until we reach the Sun Gate. Since this will be the last time I’ll be feeling this mountain under my feet, I’m going to soak this trail in. I’ve talked about the views but man the drop is stomach turning!
After taking in the sights and sounds of the morning we reach the “Gringo Killer.” This is the steepest climb of the Inca Trail because you are almost scaling a wall. You have to climb up this wall with both of your hands and feet! One wrong move and you go tumbling down the mountain!
20 more minutes to go until we reach the sun gate. The sun is shining, the temperature is just perfect, and the momentum of adrenaline is carrying me forward. The only thing more solid than this mountain is my team’s solidarity throughout this journey. The four days of hiking, illness, close calls with falls, rain and cold mornings are all going to be worth it. I will be forever thankful for the company, energy, and memories on this mountain. It’s true what they say . . . the journey is often more important than the destination. And after one last set of stairs our guide pats on the back and says “Enjoy . . . you’ve reached the Sun Gate!”
I dropped my bag, poles, and jacket, walked right up to the nearest ledge and screamed at the top of my lungs: “OSS!” My eyes indulge the beautiful site of Machu Picchu and all of her wondrous surroundings! The crisp mountain air fills my lungs with fresh oxygen, while the sounds of cheers and high fives fill my heart. People from different walks of life celebrating as one team. This is my definition of “Pura Vida” 😉
MOMENT OF ZEN: All of us have a wish list that we want to accomplish. However, many of these items go unfulfilled because they stay as wishes. So in 2014 I decided to create a bucket list for the year. Thanks to some inspiration from the blog Bucketlist Publications (thanks Lesley!) I built my 2014 adventure. I’ve had some amazing experiences that had me jump off cliffs, earn four Spartan Race Medals, raise money for a charity, teach at a college, ride a horse against a breathtaking winter backdrop in Quebec, and even earn a promotion to a leadership position in the biggest city in Canada! My bucket list motivated me to try new things, meet new people, and find new ways to educate myself and accomplish my own challenges . . . all in the name of living life to the fullest. And on Sunday, Oct. 26th, 2014 I checked off “Climbing Machu Picchu!”
So write down your bucket list and commit to checking them off. Don’t worry about what’s on the list or how small the items are. I’ve had simple things like “karaoke in a bar full of drunk people” and “take golf lessons.” I guarantee you that the journey that you’ll take in checking off your list will lead you to new horizons to explore, new perspectives to learn, and new mountains to summit.
I don’t think there’s any one correct way to live this life. I have a feeling that this life that you and I are experiencing might just be one frame in some infinite movie that goes on forever and makes no sense to any of us! And I think that the one thing that we really choose to do . . . we can choose to have more FUN. We can choose to party more. We can choose to laugh more. We can choose to take sh*t less seriously. Be a cooler person, tip more, kick the *#?!s out of your life . . . and have yourself a good f*cking time! — Joe Rogan, Comedian live at the Tabernacle (at 53:59)
Peace, love, and adventure!