I tend to underestimate myself, never truly seeing my full potential. Maysen’s the name, self- deprecation’s the game!
Yesterday, despite my self-doubt, I climbed a mountain.
The morning was brilliantly lazy – I woke up by the ocean, lounged in my tent and caught a ride to the trail at 11. Despite the sun and my lovely company (Trish the absolute gem), the voices were loud. I dithered about the start of the trail for an hour, trying to convince the voices to shut the fuck up. I cried then cried some more out of sheer frustration.
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, I was fed and rested. So why was my mind doing all it could to convince me to wallow the day away?!
Many false starts later I started up the mountain. Now, bear with me as I get a bit cheesy. Halfway up the initial ascent I walked past a horse and I swear to you, that horse looked me right in the eye and stared right into my very soul. I’ve never really believed in this nonsense but cross my heart, the horse gazing into my soul invoked a state of complete calm. With each neigh it was encouraging me “Neeeeeeeigh you can do it Maysen, neeeeeeigh!”
(I’m dying of laughter as I write this, but seriously, this really happened).
And so, with the horse cheering me on, one foot in front of the other I climbed higher and higher, my mood growing more positive with each step. By the time I reached the top I was a completely different person. This wasn’t my first mountain yet there was something about this specific climb that felt so incredibly significant. Maybe it was the battle taking place in my mind, but I fought the voices, and I triumphed and nothing was going to bring me down.
I sang my way down the other side and arrived at my stop for the night – Gougane Barra. The single most picturesque spot I’ve ever encountered. I’m talking mountain reflecting off the crystal clear lake with a chapel on an island in the middle kind of picturesque. Sheer perfection. Upon arriving at the hotel (where I was meant to be shown to a camping plot) the owners of the Gougane Barra Hotel (Neil and Katy and the friendly receptionist Justina) showed me to a room. A room with a bed and (wait for it…) a BATHTUB. My own room, for 2 nights if I so desired. I was so overwhelmed by their kindness I could hardly speak.
A 3 hour soak later while mingling in the lounge, I met a couple of fellow backpackers (Melissa and Randy). American, they had traded in all their belongings for packs and a tent and set off to backpack across Europe. They were so interesting and I quickly found myself caught up in conversation. They then proceeded to invite me to join them for dinner – a 5 course Roman feast the hotel was hosting as part of the West Cork Food Festival.
I mean…it was more food than I’ve eaten collectively all week and the company was absolutely spectacular.
Throughout my life, I’ve found it hard to accept kindness. Maybe it’s because things like this have never happened to me before. I’m not used to it (you should see me try to accept a compliment!). Yet all of these people so genuinely want to support my journey any way way they can, and I am infinitely grateful. I sincerely hope that I can put as much good back out into the world as I am currently receiving.
Today I rested. I laundered my filthy clothes, soaked my aching muscles, and had the most entertaining conversation with 2 absolutely delightful American women over a local whiskey. I feel ready to move on.
Tomorrow I hike on to Ballyvourney and from there to Millstreet. I can’t wait to see what views await me in the upcoming days.
For now, I retire to my bathtub for one final soak.