Travel and Work

I have a vision for the world.

A world in which all professionals and ordinary alike can travel and work together from all around the world to achieve a greater purpose and fulfillment in life.

The current shift in the world is allowing that more than ever. It’s hard to see that now, as the world stumbles to find it’s feet and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

But in these changing times, we are challenged to see opportunity instead of suffering. The opportunity for the world to do better, to learn from our past mistakes and our past inability to take the action that was needed. I don’t just speak of the ever-increasing risk of pandemics, but also other global challenges we all face; those of climate change, growing inequality, social and racial injustice, and the continued loss of biodiversity just to name a few.

The amazing thing is that we are all capable and willing hands, we all seek to contribute to solving these great challenges of our generation. The real challenge is finding exactly where that purpose and sense of achievement can be found for each and every one of us and I believe that can be found by broadening our horizons outside of not only what we know but also whom we know.

Feature image – On a warm and cool day, graduations would be taking place in a few hours time. Taken on the 20th of January 2020.

Recording the Journey – Ask Why

The Golden Circle at it’s core teaches us to ask the question of why we do what we do in the world of business and life and the fact that the two are becoming ever less separated from one other. If we can start with the why, the purpose of your goals, your ideals and beliefs will be something that is engraved into the how and what it is that you do.

Those of whom believe in what you believe will see this. Those of whom who wish to achieve a similar goal, who wish to see a similar ideal succeed in a world where it does not yet will join you in the great cause.

This generation is at the greatest crossroad in human kind. We are stuck in between the way we have always done things and the modern world where anything and everything has been enabled and opened up for us. For once people truly have access to global information and opportunities and with this we each seek for more purpose than ever.

The great challenge of our generation will not be to find what our purpose is, the challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose. Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness. I truly believe these words and they’re not just mine, they’re shared by many who believe in humanity.

With this in mind, I believe it is one of the most important things in life to ask ourselves why we do what we do, why we follow the things we do, why we believe what others believe and most importantly, once we’ve found purpose within, how we can create a sense of purpose for others.

Feature image – Awoken by my thoughts early in the morning as often happens, I leap to my desk to brainstorm ideas and put my thoughts on paper. Taken on the 7th of June 2020.

You can’t choose

Sometimes, you can’t choose when it is the right time.

When it is something you love to do, the time can be anytime. It’s often I wake up in the middle of the night or absurdly early because my mind wants to get to work, it wants to build on the ideas in which I’d dreamt but not remembered.

Do you ever get this feeling? I believe it has something to do with flow because these times are in which I am most loving, most passionate and most excited to do whatever it is I am doing. The best part is that it is easy, it’s something that just happens because I let it, it’s as if these words write their own and I am just a passenger looking out into the world, seeing my fingers typing and warm body moving.

Snap me back to reality you might say. I really dislike that term, reality is where the impossible really does feel impossible and this state is it’s exact opposite.

❤ Jason

Remember

Around this time two years ago…

A pit stop on my journey through The United States, this was none other than the Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas.

In times like these, we always remember what was and how things have changed. The lock down has distanced not only ourselves from one another, but also our individual goals, our check-lists, the to-do’s & the forever could-of-been’s. It is easy to see this as time stolen from our short time here on Earth, but it is merely a stepping stone to something that we will look back upon with reflective eyes.

We must always remember too, that with all great changes (or challenges) throughout history, there has also been opportunity; the opportunity to return not to the norm, but something far greater. From this we (and humanity) will be stronger together; have faith my friends.

For me, when we are once again all reunited through the love of the sound, we will remember this.

The Human Isolation

Even in the worst of times, we must look up at the possibilities and see a brighter future amidst all the chaos and fear.

What I find most incredible during The Isolation is the way people came together in ways that were unexpected and inspiring. It’s incredible to think that although we are more isolated than ever, we are also closer to one another than we have ever been before. There has never been another time in history where the people of the world have been forced to close off from one another but at the same time not be in fear of one another.

It’s incredible to think that although we are more isolated than ever, we are also closer to one another than we have ever been before.

Jason Li

The virtual media we have fostered over the last few years have allowed us to seamlessly upload our lives online. It was never intentional for this to be the case, yes we connected the world but at what initial cost? It was our attention that we lost first, a constant attention to social media. But who would of guessed that this virtual world, this social media would actually be a power for immense good during the worst of times?

At first it was our families and close friends who reached out to each other. It was as if they were by our side in the virtual plane. We couldn’t play outdoors so we played in-virtual-doors. Something that would normally take weeks to bring us together was a click away to see each other’s laughs and smiles, and there it was, as quick as we were isolated was as quick as we were reunited.

Our places of work, for years working from home was a “thing” people did but we rarely ever did ourselves. We looked at the work we do and wondered how this could even work at home, for some it was a lot easier than others, and for others it never seemed so straight forward. It took years for a company’s culture to change it’s perspective on working from home. It took days for the world to realise it’s actually a reality.

It took years for a company’s culture to change it’s perspective on working from home. It took days for the world to realise it’s actually a reality.

Jason Li

Then it was those age old friends, colleagues and one-on-one’s which you rarely ever get to see that catch up with you. And this is when something special happens. Even with years of separation, long distances and random conversations, you’ve never got to really know each other until now. It might be that a portion of the population is in fact more comfortable opening up (maybe at first or over time) in the virtual plane rather than in real life. There are barriers that are unseen or unbroken in reality that are, when we see each other over a distance. This is an interesting thought, one that I’ll carry to another day.

What all of this tells us is that what we lose from physical presence, we gain back by a virtual presence. It may not be the same, nor may it be more or less comfortable for some than others, but it is the way we’re moving forward for the future of humanity. I ask you this, readers, how long will it be until this virtual presence takes even another step into a virtual reality?

What all of this tells us is that what we lose from physical presence, we gain back by a virtual presence.

Jason Li

Thank’s for reading my friends. Let’s reach out to our family, friends and long lost friends during these times and make the most of it whilst it lasts.

Much love, Jason

P.s when I refer to The Isolation, it was the unprecedented event of Covid-19 which shook the world in 2019/2020.

Feature image – Pondering over the world in the backyard of my beautiful apartment in Notting Hill, London during The Isolation. Taken on the 22nd of March 2020

Five Years

Is it just me or does everyone hit a point in their lives where they think about where they are in life and how a lot of it, or certain aspects of it are not aligned with their goals and dreams they had in their minds.

Sometimes, even the thought of this reminds me of what sounds quite funny at first at the humble age of 26, but on a serious note, a midlife crisis. But what if this crisis is actually a representation of a modern crisis, one where it is a by-product of a generation that has been raised in the most globally connected, wealthy and “free” time in the history of mankind. We have something that our predesesors didn’t have until they were in their late thirties and that is more knowledge, more freedom and more choices. These choices whenever abundant can give rise to doubt; the what if’s that run through our minds when given options and we choose one over another.

The real big question is how does any of us know they’ve made the right choice? Some might tell you to follow your instincts, others base their decisions on the judgements of their close family and friends and furthermore others would use pure logic and reasoning to judge the right move. Risk over reward, right? Well, everyone has their own take on this and the truth is, no one really has the right answer.

All I know is that for me personally, I am at a crossroad, a point where I’ve still the freedom to change the direction in my life. Maybe that’s one we can all take away though, maybe at any given “present” moment, we can make that change. But for now, I am reaching what people call the 5-year mark, or the 5-year rule; it marks when you have been at a company or role for that amount of time and it’s a good time to change companies, go for that payrise or what I think is becoming more and more relevant in today’s age, change careers.

It was only years ago where we would say that job stability or dare I say life stability came from the amount of years you were employed for in a company. In fact, it’s quite likely we get that from our older colleagues of whom we work with; 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 30 years! They’re incredibly proud of it and to me, that is one hell of an achievement because I can’t see further than 6 months into my future let alone 10 years!

Times have changed and they’ve changed so rapidly at that, I struggle to believe that staying in one company, in one role, being the “master of one” instead of the “jack of all trades” will be enough to survive in this modern world. This is not because it is not important to be a master, it is because it is increasingly becomming tougher to be a master of any trade. The knowledge that a master holds is becoming increasingly easier to access, you can see that with not just the immensity of the global knowledge held on the internet but the expert driven courses which can be found at your fingertips. Anyone can be an expert in a field so long as they put in the effort and significantly less time than 30 years. But even then, it is not those singular experts that truly move the world and make a difference, I believe it is those whom can bring expertise from a number of fields into one that can make the real change in the world.

So let’s say, we follow the 5-year rule, but the modern one. In 30 year’s you would of had 6 different careers, all spanning a wide range of interests, hobbies, dreams, goals and passions. Maybe one or two of them you really enjoyed and stayed on for longer, and maybe those in which you did not enjoy so much you stayed less.

Now I propose the most important question, one for the readers to think about, who has more expertise after 30 years? Who is more likely to have followed his or her dreams, achieved greater heights and will live to tell more stories?

It’s still a tough question, one that we all still have our own opinions on, but maybe this time after reading this, with just that tiny bit more clarity.

Thanks for reading my friends, I guess this one was more for me at this point of time in my life. It hasn’t come across because I don’t enjoy my work or I think there’s something better out there for me; it’s more the side of me that seeks to learn more about the world, the undying curiosity and adventure that I seek. Is one life too short to be spending 80% of your time on one thing? I would always, always, always say yes.

Feature image – Represents how slow we should be living life in retrospect to how fast it feels; this was during my wanderings on a little island national park at Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea taken on the 30th August 2017

The Little but BIG Things In Life – Appreciation List

  1. THANK YOU for giving me the strength to be alone and be okay with that. To find and fall in love with who I am, to be my own self in a world that can sometimes feel like it’s tearing you apart.
  2. THANK YOU mum for being there for me, always. For always having the most beautiful smile in the world. Mum, I want you to know that when you’re happy, the world lights up and there is nothing but happiness in this world.
  3. THANK YOU dad for being the biggest and most incredible role model that any son could have ever hoped for. Dad, I want you to know that you are my inspiration in this world, your strength and fortitude, bravery and persistence to make a better life for you and your family has taught me everything I know about what it means to raise a family; no doubt this will be passed on to many generations to come.
  4. THANK YOU Michael, my older brother. You are the smartest person I know, most of the time. You give advice that is often sound and responsible and has always kept me on the right path in life. You’re the first person I go to when I seek guidance, without you, my life would not have the structure, the building blocks it does today and I can only hope that I continue to listen and take in your knowledge.
  5. THANK YOU Ken, my youngest brother. You have taught me that everyone is on a different path to success, that there is not one but an infinite number of ways that one can reach success. I know us older brothers sometimes can seem to have expectations that are not always easy to achieve; you shouldn’t have to live up to them because you are on your own path in life and I realise that now. Just know that we have always wanted the best for you and are here to support any decision you make.
  6. THANK YOU Jasie, my dear sister in Law. Far more than anyone else in the world, you have taught me to welcome others with the biggest open arms. Our family is incredibly lucky to have and welcome you into our home. I thank you so much for your patience and acceptance of who we are. I know that we are not always perfect, myself especially but know that we will always be here for you and the little ones.
  7. THANK YOU little Jasmine and Alicia, oh my two little beautiful nieces! You two are an absolute bundle of joy! The hardest question I’ve had to answer since moving abroad was what will I miss the most about home and the answer is not what, but who and it’s you two. It saddens me greatly that I am not there to see you grow up, running around the family house chasing each others tails. I hope that you will remember your old uncle Jason, known for his bravery to chase his dreams, to jump into the unknown and explore the wild corners of the world. I promise to bring you wild gifts and stories from distant lands, even dragons if he ever comes across one!
  8. THANK YOU so very much, my best friend. You taught me the true meaning of what that meant and it only took two decades to meet you; but oh my am I glad we finally did! You’re a big part of my life and a big reason why I can stand tall and not be afraid. I’ve always got your back and you’ve got mine, a great day? Tell me about it while I cheer you on, a really bad day? I’ll be here to listen! And ofcourse by the end have you smiling away 🙂 stay strong, keep being you because you are awesome!
  9. THANK YOU teddy Beary for being there from the start. For being the light in the darkness, for fighting off the monsters under the bed and being the comfort I needed when I was young, scared and weak; so that now I have become none other than the protector.
  10. THANK YOU for the sun and warmth that comes each but not every day. It reminds me that life is not all sunshine and blue skies, but instead it’s how you overcome the grey to see the light of another day.
  11. THANK YOU for my good health! I know I don’t always appreciate it as much as I should, but I know my physical body is strong and in good health, that it can take me to places and move mountains at my call.
  12. THANK YOU to those of you who keep in touch even when I am so far away, even when it’s been so long since we last spoke. The little things such as “how are you” keep me going knowing people out there do care about me just as I do for them.
  13. THANK YOU for my absolute LOVE to bring people together. I find the most happiness when I am connecting people, when I am bridging the gap between you and me, between you and him and between him and her. This is because I truly believe in the power of the mutual connections that we give each other, it is one of the few things that really matter on our short time on this Earth. This love to bring people together has made me feel loved by many, has helped me build real heart filled relationships with those around me and simply has helped me become so content with the life I have been given. If there is ever a goal in life I cherish more than anything, it is that I continue to pass on the bright light that I have been given by you and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  14. THANK YOU to all those who post recipes online whether that’s on my favourite Subtle Asian Cooking page, blogs or websites. They give a big newbie like me hope to cook things that I never thought I could of, to enjoy the food i make and most importantly to know what’s going into everything i make and eat.
  15. THANK YOU to the world wide web! How crazy does it sound to know that was a time when the world wasn’t even near as connected as it is today. Not only are we more connected to each other socially but more importantly, connected by information. This is to ensure I never take for granted how easy it is for me to satisfy my thirst for knowledge, more open to me than 99.999% of humans ever been in the past.
  16. THANK YOU to the sound of music. You move me. You have always moved my body and heart, made me feel emotions that I could not describe but only feel. Music really is the universal language that connects us all, vibrating strings is what we are made of and vibrating strings is what we are all changed by. I am glad that we have ears to listen, hearts to feel and our bodies to move along with it.
  17. THANK YOU to those who choose to smile. I often get caught up in the movements of the day to notice that I haven’t stopped to enjoy the moment, the life each day that I have been given. But you, stranger, with your smile remind me. You remind me of the good that is in the world, to not get sucked up in the pattern, the mindless moving. You remind me to smile back and give a smile once again to another stranger.
  18. THANK YOU for listening. To those who listen with their hearts to you and mean nothing but the best for you. I know who you are because I know how you have made me feel, absolutely and undoubtedly supported through the ups and downs of my life. Without you I would be an empty shell, cast out into the ocean with no one to pick me up and listen to my tune. We all need heroes in our life, we all need that wind beneath our wings that allows us to fly and soar above the clouds; so I hope you know that it is you who has made it all possible.
  19. THANK YOU to my outbound friends. Those of you who are eagerly finding adventure beyond the horizons of what you see and crossing borders to places you’d never thought you’d find yourself. It is you I seek out most because when I see you doing this; I want to join you. Often I will and I do, the stories we share with one another are unforgettable and the bonds we make are unbreakable because one of the things I do know is that friends who travel together, stay together.
  20. THANK YOU, my mentors in life. I see mentors in so many people that I meet, so naturally I have many mentors both personally and professionally. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that there is something to learn from anybody and it is with this thought that has allowed me grow into the person that I am today, a combination of the many whom I’ve met and looked up to before.
  21. THANK YOU for giving me the chance to truly be proud of the work I do, of the projects that come to life in front of my eyes. Not often enough do I pause to remember that I and with the help of many others, change the shape of the landscapes we design. That we design and build things on this Earth that will stay for lifetimes past; places where people come together and bring joy and love to one another! That is much to be proud of and I am thankful to remember this each and every day.
  22. THANK YOU for my forever curious and wandering mind. You keep my on my toes with new questions and new discoveries each and every day. You keep track of my sensors and question the things I see, the scents that I smell, the taste that I taste, the sounds that I hear and the feeling of what It is I touch. Maybe more importantly, you make me think about the way I think and wonder about how it is to feel about the way I feel.
  23. THANK YOU for allowing me to give meaning even to the most mundane of things. Today I found great meaning in even the letters of the Alphabet. The T for Tau for example, used as a symbol for life and resurrection in ancient times was also used by the Greeks to symbolise death. Soon after, in biblical times it connected to the cross of Jesus. I realised that even the most simplest of things we take for granted weave across the history of time and space. There is meaning all around us, it is only for us to open our eyes and see. So beautiful.
  24. THANK YOU for the high life energy. One of the most profound things I have learnt about myself over the years is what makes me want to move. In moving I mean to excitedly jump for joy, to enthusiastically wave my hands up in the air and to sing on top of my lungs. It made me realise that it’s not something you’re born into, but it’s something that can be found and the secret is simple, to do something you love. When I do something I love, the energy I put into it feels like my all plus an extra battery pack to top it off. So, I think you for helping me find my high life energy.
  25. THANK YOU for my smile. I never knew the power of a smile until others made me smile with theirs. It’s contagious! Often, people say that I am that person who is always smiling, I’d like to think it’s because of the storyteller in my mind. The vivid imagination that is weaved by the subjects that it finds in everything. But also, I smile because I know it can make you smile too, it can brighten up somebody’s day even for a little moment so I think you for giving me the big bright smile I have (and the wrinkles that come with it!). P.S. that’s why the sunflower is my favourite flower, it makes people smile just by looking at those beautiful golden petals.
  26. THANK YOU for the music community during these times of incredible isolation (2020). Whilst we are more isolated than ever, the strength of communities like these to shift onto the virtual world has been amazing giving a sense of unity, support and love from afar. DQ 1 @ home is a great example of this, uniting the community through Zoom chat where we can all see each other and communicate over chat whilst we enjoy an event that would have been in person. There have been many more great examples of this with individual artists hosting live streams where fans can come together for the love of something common. This sense of community gives me a sense of hope that one day we will return to normal and we will be reunited once again.
  27. THANK YOU for giving me the insight of seeing the beauty in each and every person I meet. I’ve always had the natural ability to see the best in people because that is what I truly believe myself; that within each and every one of us, there is beauty, there is talent, there are achievements that cannot be compared. Too often do we doubt ourselves and see the flaws from within, so it is with this ability I am able to share this beauty with those around me.

As time goes on, this list will continue to grow, to forever be a reminder of how much good there is in this world and to that, I THANK YOU for being the biggest and most important part of it ❤ Love, Jason.

Opportunity and Luck

Opportunies can be found around any corner of life. Often, it is not about the search to find them, but instead about being able to see them for what they are. They all have one thing in common and that one thing is how they all begin and this beginning, starts with you.

Opportunities don’t always come in the shape of you recieving. In fact, the greatest opportunities in life are those in which you can give. People say that the greatest gift in life is what you can give to others without expecting anything in return. Because what this gives you, despite the expectation, is luck; and what is luck? I believe that luck is simply opportunity in disguise!

I believe that luck is simply opportunity in disguise!

Jason Li

When you share your good fortune with others around you, over the long term, it will come back around and surprise you in so many ways. People who often attribute their successes to luck and just being in the right place at the right time often are understating all the work that has gone on behind the scenes. The truth is that it is not that fortune or luck favours them, it is how they position themselves now to create the opportunities that bring luck in their future! So how can we do this? Be proactive, get out there, talk to people, interact and engage with them, be genuine always, let them know what makes you excited and make sure they know how your talents might be able to help them with what makes them excited

Be proactive, get out there, talk to people, interact and engage with them, be genuine always, let them know what makes you excited and make sure they know how your talents might be able to help them with what makes them excited

Jason Li

Have you ever thought about what you can do to create an environment where opportunities flourish around you?

Thanks for reading ❤

Feature image – Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan taken on the 5th December 2018

The Great Lakes District

Quick Facts

  • Title: The Great Lakes District Multi-Day Hike and Camp
  • Status: Completed
  • Dates: 18th April 2019 to 22nd April 2019
  • Objective: To trek the most popular mountains and gorgeous Lakes District over the Easter long weekend.
  • Route: Self-determined involving Inland, mountainous terrain, lakes and river systems.
  • Approx Distance: 100+ Kilometers
  • Approx Hiking Time: 35+ Hours in Total
  • Accommodation: 4 Nights Camping

Facts and Insights

  • Two of the highest peaks in England were tackled during this endeavor. Scafell Pike (978m) and Helvellyn (950m).
  • England’s longest lake was an incredibly popular destination, Windermere stretching over 16km long!
  • Weather; a low of 5 degrees and surprising tops of 19 degrees! Windy but not enough to close off any trails. Weather took the surprise of all who visited over the weekend, sunny everyday, an incredibly rare sight for all.
  • This was a personal challenge. Climbing almost a dozen mountain tops including the two highest in England has inspired me to undertake other great endeavors throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and in time, no doubt mountain ranges of the world.
  • A colleague said that this was more like an expedition! haha makes me feel like Indiana Jones, exploring and discovering hidden treasures. Although it was only 4 days, the fact that it was a unique and personal path made it the more special.
  • During the hike, I pondered over many thoughts, one of which was the reason why I chose to do this. I think for me, it’s not just a hike up the mountain. It’s not about all the incredible sights that you set your eyes upon nor is it predominantly for my own physical fitness. The journey to me is a mental challenge I choose to face, it is continuing to walk even when your whole body is shaking and aching for you to stop. It is making it to the top, to the finish line without doubt in your mind that you have stuck to your own word. I think everything else, the lakeside views, mountaintops, sleeping under the stars and moon, the physical fitness it brings…they’re all bonuses, incredible and amazing bonuses that come with all great achievements in life.
  • Also, dogs climb mountains too, so many of them! so cute!

Introduction

The Lakes District is an incredibly popular destination for the English not only for it’s natural beauty but also for it’s challenging hikes and mountainous ranges. Over the past few months I have taken my time to plan a personal route (made up of many others whom have come before me) to experience a one of a kind trek through the district. From the early morning’s and till sunset, I spent hiking and during the evening’s I set down my tent and gear and prepared for a night under the stars in the mountain tops! Before you think I’m crazy, I’ve done this before! and with each and every adventure I become better equipped both mentally and physically.

I’ve missed home sweet home Australia for all of her natural beauty. I hope for my friends out there whom are home, they never take it for granted. In so many ways, I will always return home to finish my round trip along her beautiful coast. This to me, is just a little detour.

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The planned route including major checkpoints. But all plans are never solid, charged with my trusty map and compass, I crossed areas with no tracks but just my own.

Day 1 – Friday

What a great idea it was to spend the first night at a bed and breakfast. Arriving at Windermere quite late into the night, there was no time nor the light to hike to the first random checkpoint; plus, the time was spent well making preparations for the long journey ahead. I loved the whole homey feel of the place; an old wooden charm and the warm and inviting fireplace and lighting made me feel right at home. She also had a great history to tell, with photo’s, artworks and decorations dating back to the old days. Bed and breakfast’s are a big thing out here in England, they’re in-between air-bnb’s and hotels because the owners are usually also living in the home, retired and invite guests along to enjoy their home, they also cook you breakfast to top it off. There is also no doubt in the world that the traditional English breakfast that was served that morning was delicious and aided in my survival throughout the first day.

How nice it was to follow the beautiful walls of stone that climb the sides of these mountains. Often would I think about how and who had the job of placing each and every one of them, perfectly in a position that looks as if it has held for decades.

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It was not long after the beginning that I stumbled upon a bunch of young travellers, taken aback on the hillside inhaling what I could clearly tell was a joint. In fact, this wasn’t only a singular occurrence, I saw this numerous times during the hike and furthermore there were groups of people hiking whilst half drunk! How this was achieved is beyond me, I was more worried about not twisting my ankle on the first day of the trip and asking for them to take photo’s of me hah! If it wasn’t for them, all I had was my non-steady Go-Pro to rely on which took longer to set up than I’d liked.

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Day 2 – Saturday

Who knew that after today Scafell would be conquered?! I should of known that, but really, it was hard to know where you would end up by the end of the day. The plans and tracks that had been made, the checkpoints were only a guide, it would take me a few more great hikes to be able to predict how long it would take me to climb any one mountain; and so the sights were set to go as far as one could along the planned route.

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It was an incredibly rocky road to Scafell Pike, and I don’t say that figuratively! Three paths to take up the peak and the toughest of them all had to be taken, but I guess I’d say, for have we really conquered a mountain if we did not take on her greatest challenge?

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Scafell was busy. Like really busy! Forget about a peaceful climb to the top with nature and the birds and bees following you around. Dozens of hikers arrived at any one time, small and large tour groups made it to the top with cheers and clapping heard all around. When I’d finally overcome the rocky pass, my arms were in the air, a big smile could be seen and an aura of one who had just made a great achievement came over me. From a distance, the peak looked really cool, a pile of rocks stacked on the top allowed visitors to stand and sit up there in unison to enjoy a 360 panorama of the entirety of the lakes. It was beautiful, the energy up there was a high and so there I sat and let time pass me by for hours on end.

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The “easy” way down the mountain was towards the lake of Wast Water. It was a long way down which felt like forever but what made it all the worthwhile was the sun setting down against the lake, probably one of the biggest highlights of the entire trip. A warm orange glow encompassed everyone going down that mountain and after achieving such great heights, it was the best way for most to end their day.

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I on the other hand had taken a slight detour shortly before arriving down at the lake. Making my way down to a super small town called Wasdale in search for a place to camp. As luck would have it, the tiny town had a little campsite with food and drinks to be served along with all the amenities required by those who hadn’t showered for days!

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Day 3 – Sunday

I would say that Sunday was the most relaxing of all the days. Despite a slow start to the day (slow because of an alternate far tougher path up a hill), the day was spent mostly on the lower ground or shall I say, on the lower levels of the mountains.

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There was a moment of real peace when I stopped by the riverside, between two adjacent trees that gave off a perfect shade beside the rapids. There I kicked up my feet in the water and took a much needed break from the sun as by then parts of me were as red as tomatoes! (And FYI, if you’re wondering, of course I used sunscreen and wore a hat!).

Another mountain top later we were overlooking yet another gorgeous lake right off the small town of Buttermere. More tourists flocked here to walk around the lake on footpaths meant for child strollers and bicycles. The one ice cream parlor was overrun by eager children hoping for something sweet and cold. I was definitely one of those children and couldn’t resist one myself; with chocolate icing of course!

Close by was the nice town of Keswick. Keswick is a must visit local town in the Lakes District if you do come up here, it’s a really beautiful old town with some great spots to take photos of the streets and town square. I have to also mention how great it was to meet two locals travelling in for the weekend with their dogs, it made for such a great conversation about the Lakes and other hikes to be done. They’d told me how in all their years they’ve been here, they’ve never seen it so sunny all weekend around because of all the mountains and all. I guess I was lucky! or I’d just brought the sunshine with me haha lame joke*

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To end the day, I made my way up as high as I could towards Helvellyn, this was an exciting part of the trip and couldn’t stop thinking about the “scramble” across the Striding Edge, you’ll know what I mean by that soon. An hour into the hike I’d completely lost the pathway but with my trusty compass I was never too far away from one I’d make myself. I put in the extra effort to climb till the sun set further before I pitched my tent, by then and because of the constant upward battle for over 2 hours, I was sweating a heap and there I was, shirtless half way up the mountain without a town in sight as the sun set in the distance.

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Day 4 – Monday

I woke up this morning with the wind rocking the tent side to side. It was 6:30am, cold outside but surprisingly warm on the inside. It really pays to know what is required in a good tent! Despite this, I found it hard to fall back asleep till the sun rose above the mountains. I made the decision right there and then that I was to have my breakfast consisting of some tuna, nuts, a carrot, an apple and some sweets to top up that sugar level. I cuddled back into the sleeping bag to let the food warm me up before I lept out there into the cold, damp and slightly foggy morning to unpack it all.

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Today, I made an incredible head start on the track towards Helvellyn. As the night before I had put in some extra effort to get as high as I could, I was almost at the top before 7am. From up there, the suns warm glow was a sight for sore eyes and so I sat there basking in her delight. Pillars of rock were all around me and as for those who are experience hikers knew, the pillars are a piece of each person who’d made it up there with a rock of their own to place on the mountain. It was a beautiful sight when I added yet another one to the pile. Would you call these checkpoints? I think you would, they’re checkpoints for the individual to be proud of, to have made it so far.

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At the top it was quiet, peaceful and calm. Because I had made it up there so early, there was no one else there. Oddly enough and don’t tell my parents, there were some sweets in a goodie bag stuffed at the peak of a pillar, they looked fresh so I took it upon myself to have some and say thanks to the kind mountain gods, I in turn added some of my own goodies to the bag to pay it forward. Shortly after, I’d basked in the sunlight some more, a couple arrived at the top and we sat against the wall and talked of mountainsides around Europe and the way ahead. For ahead me was yet another challenge known as the Striding Edge!

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Now, the English have a saying for walks like this, they call it scrambling, I’ve not actually heard the term before so I’m not sure if it’s entirely an English thing but it pretty much was rock climbing on the peaks of the mountains ranges! Most people do so monkey-like but not holding 10kg of baggage as I was so I made sure that I climbed on slow and steady, for one slip meant falling hundreds of meters down below. To be honest, I’m not sure why this is even allowed and again to be honest, it was the first time I’ve actually been scared for my life in a long time. Sadly many people actually die from this very scramble (20 deaths in fact and many more injured in 2017 alone!) I won’t be taking on any more challenges like this for now, no thank you! Looking back it was fun and thrilling but I love life too much to risk that again haha

Did I also mention there is a gravestone with a touching story of a life lost because of this edge? In summary, a man climbing these edges fell to his death, his dog was found wandering around his corpse in incredible sadness and distress. The plaque is to remind us all of the strength and enduring love of our companions during great endeavors. And then a tear fell from my eyes.

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The final stretch of the hike proved to be quite merciful and with gorgeous views of Lake Ullswater, there was nothing more that could have ended this trip on a high…

Except, a really pretty town and lamb shanks by the lake!!! Seriously was well deserved after conquering such a beast in which was The Lakes District.

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Thanks for reading my friends. What challenges do you choose to face in life to help you prepare for the worst?