January I turned 50. My good friend and Lending Journey board member
Scot Steele turned 50 as well. Scot had never been to Ecuador, so we
visited so he could see our wok there. The second part of our journey
took us to Peru, where we celebrated our 50th birthdays by hiking the
Salkantay trail to the base of Mount Salkantay, ending up five days
later at Machu Picchu. Salkantay is nicknamed the savage trail... and
For five days we walked and walked and climbed and climbed. I am not sure how many kilometers we walked each day but I think it was an average of about twenty. I thought I would never catch my breath!
At times the pathways were wide enough to walk in two's, and many times
they were so narrow you could barely walk single file. As much as I
enjoyed Scot's company on the wider parts of the trail, I must say that I
also enjoyed the many hours alone. While walking solo, I often pondered
the many ways this journey mimicked life?"
I would like to share just a few of these meandering thoughts with you.
1 - The Journey of Setting Goals.
We set out with a
purpose a goal. It was to make a five day trip starting at Cusco and
ending at Machu Picchu. It was exhilarating at the end to know that we
had completed our goal. No matter what age or stage of life, setting
goals and working towards their achievement is exhilarating.
2 - Different landscapes demand different
Our climbing trek seemed to have three different landscapes. The first
was climbing up-hill, the second was trekking flat plateaus and the third was plodding down ridges.
Moving up-hill demands
that you keep your head down and push forward. Their are times in life
this is exactly what we need to do. It is not time to study, learn or
contemplate. Ascending demands that our full attention be paid to
advancing in whatever endeavor we are pursuing.
Every so ofter we would
reach a plateau. These were beautiful times to rest, catch our breath
and be in awe of creation. I believe these are times of great learning,
times for analysis and recalibrating. These are great opportunities to
look back from where you began, reorganize and get ready for the next
advance. I believe this is a time to be intentional about seeking
mentorship, guidance and coaching.
The third landscape of
our hike was our decent. Many would say this is the hardest part, I
found it to be less challenging and more enjoyable than the climb
(although I loved both). This was the time that I took the most pictures
and had the most opportunity to enjoy the scenery. Make sure at
different stages along the hike, when you come to the decent that you
enjoy life's views.
3 - We are lost without guides.
Our guide's name was Victor. Victor had walked the Salkantay trail many
times, he knew the history of the mountain, he knew where to walk and
where not to walk and most of all, because of his familiarity with the
trail he always seemed to be at ease.
Find good guides to help you on the journey!
Ms. Diana Bishop of The Success Story
has been a great guide for me in understanding how to promote The
Lending Journey. Her insights have been invaluable in helping me to
better communicate exactly what it is that we do. Mr. Mike Huggins of Mindwalk Marketing has helped me to better understand who we want to communicate to and what that communication should look like. Ms. Carola Jaques, our volunteer fundraiser has taught me the importance of keeping good records of phone numbers and e-mail addresses. My pastor Dr. Paul Little
keeps me aware that their are greater reasons for why we do what we do
that are exceedingly more important than the social justice cause.
Each one of these people has helped to guide me on my walk through life.
4 - We all need walking aides... at some point.
The first day on
Salkantay was a pretty easy climb. The trails were wide and the climb
gradual. By the end of the second day (15,500 ft) we were gasping for
breath as we made our ascent. The inclines became steeper and the trails
Knee braces and walking sticks gave us stability, agility and strength.
underestimate the tools available to you to exceed and excel. Good
aides can turn a wild foray through the jungle into a smooth stroll
through the tulips.
5 - Life is so much more complete
when you do it with friends.
Many of you know that I
grew up in a foster home. My parents took in quite a few foster
children. It was quite a challenge. It was often quite difficult to
explain to people the trials of growing up in a home where your parents
needed to devote most of their energy to meeting the needs of the foster
One of my high school
teachers, Mr. Randy Zeagman became a close friend and confidant and as a
friend walked with me through some pretty challenging teen years.
Although we do not talk as often as I would like, he was as true a
friend as ever could be.
My buddy Scot, who I
began this journey on Salkantay with has been a close friend and
confidant since the age of 12. There are very few of life's challenges
that we haven't shared with each other. What made climbing Salkantay so
great was that I did it with my close friend and bud Scot.
Salkantay was just one
part of our journey in Peru. We spent another week in the Amazon (that
is another story though). Many an hour was spent discussing successes
and failures, providing advise on a number of different issues,
listening effectively to the dreams and visions of the other and most
importantly just enjoying each others company.
Invest in a few good friends!
Well these are a few of
my pictures and a few of my thoughts on my walk through Salkantay. I
hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did.