I heard my voice on the podcast and it felt surreal to listen to her talk about the life I had just six months ago. Just as I am now, at the time of the recording I was riding a wave of optimism as I was getting ready to take that leap of faith. We’re only into the second month of 2019, and I can honestly say that this year feels totally different. It feels lighter, more peaceful and full of possibilities. In a few days, I’m taking a step towards a goal I set for myself last year. Does it make me weird to be excited about stepping into the unknown?
Often people ask how I can do all the things I do. Like solo travel, to follow my passions, you know, basically be me. My answer is simple:
Be one step ahead of the fear and the rest you’ll figure out along the way. Stop comparing my progress to others, because if I wanted what they have, am I willing to do the work to get there? You see, you are energy, feed your passions, be kind and let go of judgement. The rest are just details. And yes, you are enough.
The simplicity of joy
As the soft rain fell in Huaraz this morning, I’m finishing breakfast and sipping the last of my morning coffee. The kitchen in my apartment is
on the fourth floor, and I get to walk past the mountains every morning.
I wanted to watch the sunrise, but the rain beat me to it. The mountains were shrouded in morning mist, which created a white backdrop for their silhouette. As the light wakes up my neighbourhood, invisible fingers swipe away the clouds, revealing the mountains like cat scratches. Rainy season in the highlands is temperamentally beautiful and breathtaking.
This year I only have one goal in mind and that’s the unapologetic pursuit of joy - however it presents itself. Being another year closer to my forties, that’s my gift to myself. To celebrate how far I’ve come, and just do more of what brings me joy. Life’s all about choices, and sometimes, I think what can get me stuck is that I feel like I have too many. So I’m going to keep it simple. Do what makes my soul happy.
On Saturday night, I had dinner with a couple of friends at a local restaurant less than ten minutes from my apartment. Casa de Zarela is also a hostel, which like many in Huaraz, makes most of its money in the high season when the tourists flock here. Zarela, our host, serves Thai food every Saturday night - it had been over four months since I’d had Thai food, and it was the first time for one of my friends. I even had Pad Thai! Since becoming allergic to crustaceans at 27 years old, I pretty much gave up on eating Pad Thai at restaurants (traditionally the sauce is made with shrimps). As Zarela explained, they only used fish sauce as like me, many customers also had food allergies. That first bite of Pad Thai transported me back to the sweltering heat of Thailand, a glorious escape from our cold, rainy night in Huaraz.
Own your energy
My feet have taken me to some incredible places, and I’ve learned that I’m most energized by nature or being on my own. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed solo hiking in New Zealand so much. Now I’m slowly learning to share that love with others, it’s not easy, but if I’m honest it’s been a lot of fun when I do. Like hiking with my friend Mabel, who came with our massive group to Laguna Shallap - her first ever! I saw some of the same doubts in her that I had while hiking to Laguna Ahuac with Jorge and Joanna. So I became her cheerleader along the way, because sometimes, we’re our own worst critics. I’m so proud of her for owning her energy
As I’m finishing this blog, I look to the mountains and see blue skies popping through the scattering clouds. I’m creating a mental shopping list as I’ll be heading to my local produce market this morning. I was eating out a lot last month, and I’ve decided to go back to cooking at home. I’ve been making myself “busy” on purpose, an excuse I had in New Zealand to justify my lazy food choices. Self love starts by respecting your body, so I’m doing just that.
Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, writer and slam poet currently based in Peru. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.