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Seven Life Lessons From Patagonia

Seven Life Lessons From Patagonia

Hi my sweet friends,

I was so lucky to be in Patagonia recently. Let me tell you, I have never seen such  breathtaking landscapes in my life, with mountains that somehow look like a mix of all the seasons, water so blue you could swear it's liquid sapphire, and skies so clear you wonder if you could even look into the heavens above if you just try hard enough.... it was magical

And, as it's famous for, I went hiking... a LOT

But even though my legs were well and truly worn out from the demanding days, it turns out Patagonia is more than just a beautiful destination with exhilirating experiences that really challenge you physically... it's also a classroom for life lessons

Lessons that I'd love to share with you today...

  1. Encouragement goes a long way

On my way down from one of the mountain peaks, I noticed there was one  man who was also making his way down too. He noticed all the other trekkers as they were resting against the rocks, with sweat trickling down their red faces as they were gathering their breath. Without fail, he was stopping by them all and cheering them on, saying, "Well done! You've come so far! You're almost done, and it's gorgeous up there!"

And I know that doesn't seem like a big deal... after all, they're just words from someone who's already completed the 'hard part,' but it was so unexpectedly kind that it brought a smile and a confident nod to everyone's face. It reminded me that a kind, supportive word or gesture can make a huge difference in someone's day, even if it's coming from an absolute stranger... after all, ripple effects are not always seen

  1. Enjoy the journey

Nothing was constant on the hiking trails; some parts were easier and flatter, and others were incredibly steep (and a bit terrifying). And I heard a few people saying that on the flatter parts, they would push themselves to gain time and as a kind of preparation for the more challenging parts

Even though I could see where they were coming from, I personally feel that it's crucial to take those times to enjoy and appreciate the journey instead of pushing your way through. Your journey is going to be longer than the destination, and the destination is just a stop along the way actually. So if you're only going to savour and enjoy the destination, while you treat the journey as just the means to get there, then what's going to motivate you on the journey, and what's going to bring you joy as you keeping challenging yourself to reach the peak? 

You know what I did on the flatter, easier parts of the trek? I stopped for a few minutes, took in deep forest-scented breaths, enjoyed the bright blue sky and listened to the birds' song floating on the wind. And then, I felt renergised...

  1. Take breaks

When we're on a mission to achieve something, it's easy to forget to take breaks... but rest is a non-negotiable that's only going to help you! During my trek, I realised the importance of taking breaks to sip on water slowly or have a small snack, even when I didn't feel like I needed one. The breaks helped me pause, reflect on my progress, and reset my mindset before getting back up and getting going

  1. Focus on the path ahead

At some points during a trek, I needed to take a moment... there were some routes that were on mountain thin mountain edges and the sound of rubble falling to the rivers at the base were terrifying

But I couldn't look down or else there was no way I could move ahead

In those moments, I learned to focus on the path in front of me, my pace, and my grip. As with all challenges, a deep breath and slowing my heart also did wonders for me. Remember, there's nothing wrong in focusing on a single step at a time, especially if it beats the overwhelm, worry and fear... you'll still get to your goal

  1. Embrace discomfort

Would YOU like to wake up early on a cold, dark morning and commit to a trek, when all you really want to do is have a hot cup of tea when you're still in your pjs?

Absolutely not, but I tell you what... when you fast foward and see yourself on a mountain edge looking down at the world rolled out beneath your feet, you're filled with the most unique mix of pride, gratitude... and determination to keep choosing the discomfort

Because you realise the uncomfortable up-and-down path is going to be what teaches you to keep your cool, balance, and focus... all the gifts that have the potential to change your life for the better and prepare you for the bigger challenges...

  1. Laugh at yourself

I nearly fell... quite a few times (so much for my high grip shoes, honestly ha)

And because you don't see every loose stone amidst the quary or the mud beneath the leaves or the glint of ice on the path, you definitely can fall in any journey you take...

But you can't let that stop you from moving ahead and experiencing all the joy and beauty in life... Instead, let out a laugh, dust yourself off and get going, because there's a life waiting for you to show up.

  1. Be adaptable
I can't explain how fickle the weather was; I was freezing in the icy wind one minute and sweating bullets under the sun the next! After the first day of being caught off guard, I clocked on and saw that I needed to be smarter with how I was going to show up - I changed my hiking outfits, understood what I needed to pack and layer for different times of day, and what was just extra weight to take with me. It made the other treks far more pleasant, since I could then focus on the experience of being there (no more shivering for me)!
So, even though we can't control what's happening outside of us, we can still work on how we adapt our response to them with small, definite steps
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These were just seven lessons I took away from Patagonia (and that I should probably work on my gym routine a bit!)
I hope you enjoyed this, and tell me in the comments which one lesson speaks to you the most
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Love,
Affie

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