Halfway through a year of hell yes

As I rounded the final switchback on my bike to reach the summit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to burst into tears, smile until it hurt because that’s what I do, scream (or swear) with joy and perhaps a little disbelief, or maybe a combination of them all. I had read about and seen photos of this road, and while I wanted that notch in my belt, I had no idea the profound feeling that would come over me when I finally got there — nor the thoughts it would inspire in the days to follow — the reflection it would conjure, and the anticipation of what may be next it would trigger.

Conquering Mt. Mangart, Slovenia — Drinking directly from the Saisera River, Valbruna, Italy — Donning the Krampus mask in Cave del Predil, Italy

A little more than halfway through what I’ve dubbed my ‘year of hell yes’ and I felt compelled to look back. Six months of training, of so many ‘firsts,’ of the lead-up to my recent adventure overseas, which in the end challenged me physically, intellectually, emotionally, culturally — and lit a spark.

Six months of times with friends and family. Times in solitude. Stepping in and out of my comfort zone again and again. Breathing out the toxic and breathing in what fuels my heart and soul. Opening my eyes and my heart and closing doors that should be shut. Reading more. Watching less. Listening more. Talking less. Being vulnerable more. And guarded less. All have led to highs, lows, laughter, tears, confusion, expectation, disappointment, but also to hope for what’s to come.

I don’t know what that means, but I’m willing to find out.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
- Robin Williams

Summit of Mt. Mangart, Slovenia — overlooking Laghi di Fusine, Tarvisio, Italy

A life lived all-in.

A life lived all-in.