By: Corrine Lin, IATG ContributorAugust 25, 2016
Have you ever wanted something but were afraid of the risks?
What did you do? Pursue it or pass it up?
Recently, I signed up for a trek up to the rim of a volcano in the middle of the night so that I could watch the sunrise. Considering that this was my first time hiking in the darkness, it was slightly overwhelming for me.
The night before, our guide told us that we would have the choice to climb into the crater of the volcano to watch the 'blue fire’ at our own risk. As much as I was interested, I was more worried about my safety than the adventure. 90% of me knew the dangers and wanted to avoid the risk, but the other 10% lingered. What if I missed the chance to witness this once-in-a lifetime experience? There are reportedly only two volcanos in the world with 'blue fire,' and this one is the biggest. What would I miss if I skipped it? Would I be disappointed?
The night before the hike, we had several hours of rest before gathering at midnight to head out to the hike location. As I shut my eyes, various thoughts floated in my mind. The guide had described the terrain as 'dirt mud with some loose stones.” He told us that the first section is 'really steep,' and that it would be really helpful to have a trekking pole. I visualised myself trying to maneuver around in the middle of the jungle full of tall trees, trying to haul myself up the steep gooey muddy steps without any poles to support.
What if I fall off the edge? What if I couldn't do it? What if I decided to climb into the crater and the fell into the fire? There were too many what-ifs running through my head.
I woke up to the alarm buzzing. As I quietly packed my stuff, I decided that this had to be it. I had to do it. I have made it this far.
We arrived at the hike location. I made sure I was warm enough with scarf around my neck, two layers of clothing beneath my windbreaker, my socks pulled up, and my gears ready.
We made our way up to the entrance. The route was winding and steep but nothing like the deep muddy jungle trek that I had imagined.
We arrived at the crater rim faster than I thought. After a serious briefing and warning on the risks and consequences of going down into the crater, the local guide started his way down the rocky steps towards the crater. There was little time for me to consider. I followed the guide as close as I could.
In the darkness, there was only me and my headlamp shining on the rocks ahead of me. The route down was narrow and rocky. Only the guide would know which rocks are safe to step on. Luckily, these were little steps and there was little room for slips or trips, so I focused my attention on the little steps in front of me while trying to catch up with the local guide.
We stopped a few times to let other miners who were carrying baskets full of sulphur rocks to pass, but there was little time to take in the view. I could only see the small spot of blue from afar.
A while later, the guide told us to stay where we were as he turned back to get the rest. It was then that I realised that we had reached the base, where the 'blue fire' was dancing away at a near distance. We were told to stay where we were, because the sulphur smoke that was emitting from the crater rocks was toxic and would be too much for us to handle if we get caught in it. At the base below, the miners were hacking away just inches away from the sulphur rocks.
It was a dangerously beautiful sight.
I stood there thinking about my journey in the last three hours and what I was struggling with internally before I came. What I went through and what I feared were two different scenarios altogether.
My worries, my fears, and my concerns, though valid, were far from what I had experienced.
I came to realise that fear is always within us, but if we don't pluck the courage to face it, we would never be able to achieve and experience what is beyond the fear. I would never have been able to witness the spectacular sight if I chose to stay and wait for the sunrise.
Having said that, it is definitely important to prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically for what may come. When we are prepared, we are more inclined to want to face our challenges head on and overcome our fears
The only fear holding us back is the one inside us. Move past that fear. Be comfortable with plucking up courage and face your fears head on. You might find yourself in a journey of amazing life experiences.
Don’t let fear control your life. Instead, control your fears! Make a list of some adventures you’ve always wanted to try, and start planning to do them today!
Corrine shares her challenges and experiences at L3Hub (Live, Learn, Laugh), a space for girls who love a dash of Confidence, Acceptance, Love, Independence, Beauty, Respect and Empowerment where they discover, debunk and develop themselves to live their lives their way. Follow L3Hub on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.