"We act as if it is normal to say “I am busy” every time somebody asks us how we are."
How I escaped the "busy" disease
Once in the field, I felt overwhelmed with the beauty of my surroundings and I felt obligated to work hard in this incredible place lost among the clouds. But I also noticed that a grandma could walk better than me in those high mountains. Probably, because I’ve never been in such altitudes, although increasing the number of cigarettes smoked per day did not help much with the lack of oxygen. However, despite walking up and down the hills all day, getting a red peeled nose (no matter how much sunscreen I applied) and having a diet that mostly consisted of rice and potatoes, at the end of the day, I felt happy. Not busy, but happy.
Key to happiness
The people also made me incredibly happy: from the kind campesinos, who opened the doors of their houses (and their hearts) to me, to the research team, from whom I learnt a lot. I felt inspired by them, both by the wisdom of the elders and the lightheartedness of the young ones. Stunning landscapes and amazing people, what else could I ask for?
No space for problems
During the walk, I was in awe. The ground connected with the sky and it seemed as if we floated in a white atmosphere of emptiness. But we felt full, full of gratitude for being so close to heaven. I also felt really exhausted. I literally talked to my feet in order to take one more step. When I went back down, tears were streaming down my face while I was thinking about how close I was to my mum. But I also felt a strange feeling of relief. My friend was right, all the problems stayed down at the bottom. Perhaps they were too heavy for me to carry them up, and the best thing - they never came back.
Lessons that will last a lifetime
However, a cache of special moments is not the greatest result of taking this leap. Most importantly, I realised what was weighing me down. I was a little scared before embarking on this trip, I did not know what was waiting for me in such a remote area far away from home. But I took the chance, I overcame obstacles (my feet finally listened to me and brought me far away) and it turned out to be one of the best adventures of my life. I feel more relaxed, stronger and confident. I’m full of joy when I think back on this trip and I am already planning my next one. If somebody asks me now how I am, I now say “Fine, thanks!” (Yes, this is the proper answer) with a big smile on my face.
So, how are you?
If your answer is “busy” you better go travel, or at least, take a walk through the clouds
Author - Mireia Alcántara Rodríguez
I am ethnobotanist, dreamer and nature lover. Once I found myself in a foreign country, which I was not enjoying anymore. I was having a hard time combining studies, work and a grey weather for most of the days. Then I decided to sign onto an exciting project at 4000 meters high. I was amazed when I arrived to this mountain paradise. From where I came, the sky used to be cloudy, but I have never been among the clouds before. This project resulted in one of the greatest adventures of my life!