I started the climb feeling really good. I walked alone up the uneven dirt path, doing some stretching to move the energy around and saying some full moon affirmations aloud. There was no one around, besides the wallaby I came across, and I felt so free.
I was in Tasmania, climbing a mountain, alone.
One hour later I’d be completely out of breath and my lungs would be hurting and I’d be doing my best to channel my inner Cheryl Strayed but I wasn’t even halfway up and when I looked down, I felt sure I’d tumble over the edge. Ahead of me was sheer rock, nothing to hold onto, and I braced myself for what was coming.
I had asked the park ranger the day before if it’d be wise to climb the mountain alone. He hesitated before saying yes. But he did say yes and I went for it. It was a Saturday, after all, and even though it was winter in Tasmania, surely there’d be others hiking alongside me.
And there were, but they were few and far between. And there was certainly no one else hiking alone.
At one point, I rounded a corner and almost bumped into a couple on their way down, and the man said to me, Hey, how are you guys? He clearly expected there’d be someone else coming around the corner behind me.
There was no one else coming behind me.
Focused on not hyperventilating from the rock I'd just scaled, I said, Good, how are you? and kept walking.
My face burned as I kept climbing. A completely harmless question that threw me into a spiral of self-consciousness and shame.
I never expected to be climbing a mountain alone at the age of 29 on a solo trip around the world without any attachments to a partner or kids or a home.
When I write those words it sounds quite lovely, so free and unattached and wild, but the truth is that solo travel isn’t what I’d always wanted for myself. Most of my life, I measured adulthood in career and partnership and babies and home. I figured that by the time someone turned 30, they’d surely have acquired all those things.
The woman I wanted to be had a beautiful life in some city apartment all her own where she treated herself to fresh flowers and a bottle of wine on her way home from a wildly fulfilling job that defined her 20s. The woman I wanted to be fell madly in love with a perfect man and had a Pinterest-worthy wedding, followed by a move to the country and the births of multiple chubby babies. The woman I wanted to be did things like keep chickens in the backyard and thrift all her housewares and not need to work and only be friends with other mothers drinking coffee together in the mornings and never worry about money.
Part of me still wants to be this woman. (Who I'm pretty sure doesn't exist.) And yet, as I near the start of my 30s, I am not.
The woman I am values things like solo travel and exploring the world even if it means her savings account is empty. The woman I am is 29 and un-partnered and without children. The woman I am is independent and free and wildly happy and sometimes paralyzingly scared. The woman I am knows the value of solid friendships and genuine connection and tiny moments of joy in a day. The woman I am is willing to look closely at who she is and who she wants to keep becoming.
The woman I want to be is okay with all of that. The woman I want to be is kind to herself in all things, accepts the choices she’s made, is steeped in self love and awareness. Maybe she is partnered or maybe not, but open to connection, always. She knows that she’d rather die hoping for the family she’s always desired than settle for less before then. She fosters relationships with the people in her life who matter. She believes in herself and works hard and is always striving to make herself and others happy. She accepts that life isn’t always going to be glamorously mind blowing, and has learned to appreciate both the ups and downs. The woman I want to be completely owns who she is.
Eventually, a solid hour and a half later, I made it to the top of that mountain. There were only a few other people up there, and no one else was alone. I sat down on a rock and ate my peanut butter sandwich, smiling. You better believe I pulled out my selfie stick too, and when no one was looking, snapped a hundred pictures.
I had done it. Though at some points I was scaling rock on my hands and knees, incredulous that one wasn't required to be wearing a harness, I made it.
I climbed the damn mountain by myself.
What does the course involve?
Together we’ll explore the women we want to be, by first getting to know the women we thought we’d be and the women we are now. In a series of daily emails over the course of six days, I’ll share personal stories, videos, and writing prompts, as well as provide the option of connecting with other women in the group through Facebook.
The writing prompts will be the bulk of the course, encouraging you to look deeper into your beliefs, values, judgments, and aspirations through free-writing exercises. The prompts will be gentle and we’ll take it slow, offering a day in between each to connect with each other, share our processes, and do our own integration.
Who should take this course?
This is for women who want to get clearer about who they are and where they’re headed. It is for women who are dedicated to themselves, who want to be kinder to themselves, who want to write about their lives in an effort to understand it better. It is for women who are craving connection with others on the same path, and themselves. It's for women who are committed to their own happiness.
When does it begin?
We begin on Monday, July 17th and work together for six days.
How much does it cost?
The enrollment fee is $17 each, or bring a friend along for $27 total. (Leave your friend's email address in the notes at checkout.)
I so hope you join us, and look forward to circling together soon.