Body / Discovery

Before You Say No

Kaibigan,

I see the faraway look in your eyes every time we meet. I know you are dreaming again of being in another place- in an adventure that will let you see the breathtaking beauty of the world. You always tell me you want to travel, to go out there and discover places away from the ones you’ve always known, and to meet people that will inspire you. You want to escape your rather repetitive days, you say; you want to find yourself.

Go! I told you. But you don’t know where to start so I suggested you come with me to the mountains. I said it because all the things you’re longing for, I found in there. I thought, maybe, you’d find it there, too. I am not an expert at this, but I think I have climbed enough for me to know how mountains change people for the better. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it.

We’ll start with small mountains that are close to home so we don’t have to shell out money. It will be exciting: you, me and other friends in a trip to the wild side. Can you imagine? We’ll walk among ancient trees, hear different birdsongs and see the world get small as we get higher and higher. We’ll talk to other hikers and hear their stories as we eat packed lunches at the summit.

But then you say that the mountain is not for you. You said you’ll never climb. I respect what you told me, I really do. I understand that not all people are made to love the outdoors. However, I feel so sad because you seem to have given up the mountains even before you had the experience of climbing one, even before you experience how the birds must see the world when they fly.

I climbed again just a week ago. It was a small mountain, it really feels like we just went up a hill but the view at the summit was amazing: the great landscape spreads like a green carpet, towns so small now, they seem to fit at the palm of my hand. I thought about you up there as I stare on and on until I see the outlines of faraway islands. And the more I trace the landscape with my eyes, I keep wishing you could also see the wonders I was seeing, feel the lightness that I feel as all burdens vanish to a point where all that weighs me down is the little pack on my back.

Tell me, where were you that time? At home watching TV? Idling at the mall? I know you would’ve loved that view more than the concrete walls that box you. It would’ve made you feel freer, more alive.

“The world is so much bigger than what lies in our familiarity”, I read somewhere. You’ve met the sea; don’t you want to get to know the mountains as well? It is a whole new universe up there. If we go and you decided that climbing mountains is really not for you, then I will not push you again. Next time, let’s just go to the beach or meet at a cozy cafe to sip lattes. But for now, please, please give the mountain a chance to captivate your heart. Who knows, you might fall in love with it, too (or find love in it).

The time is now. There is beauty waiting outside your door. While you still have your strength and your dreams of adventure, try do something that you might not do again. Don’t be afraid of the sun, don’t be afraid of the long walk because it might be on that walk that you find yourself and discover the strength you do not know you possess.

Kaibigan, I do not know if I have convinced you enough with this letter. But if I did, please, give me the honor of bringing you to your first summit and together, let’s view our world from a new perspective. Let’s get high, let’s get drunk with all the beauty around us.

Sincerely,
Your Friend

About the Contributor

Patricia May Labitoria is a graduate of Environmental Planning and Management at Miriam College. She is currently working at the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The natural environment has always been her inspiration and her north star. She is passionate about the outdoors and does not mind going out of her comfort zone. Her adventurous nature has brought her to live in Baguio as a volunteer for nine (9) months under the Miriam Volunteer Mission (MVM), and pushes her to climb up mountains.

She dreams of seeing the Andes Mountains, and the northern lights someday.

See all of Pat Labitoria's posts →

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