For a person with a fear of heights; the earth can be an incredibly flat place to explore. At a young age, you learn to take the longer path around and avoid anything that can make you crumble to your knees. You can never see peaks — only mountains of fear. It’s hard to explain the fear of falling or worse — failing because of fear. And while others, scale height as if it were a walk in the backyard; for you, it’s nothing less than climbing your own personal Everest. So, you automatically turn to the sea for a strange mix of calm and turmoil.
Secretly, there’s a part of you that wants to get to the top. There’s an innate curiosity to see how the earth would look from above? Or, how would it feel to let the wind threaten to take you with it? Or, better still, watch the clouds engulf the last stretch of earth you could set your eyes on. Somehow, the reasons for not trying — often outweigh — the longing. And eventually, you come to trust: flat land, the stability of your two feet over giddy spells, and the idea of the earth being equally beautiful when explored — flat.
And then, you move to a new place where everything seems to be uphill. You look at those around you and no one seems to notice. That’s how your flat, one-dimensional world suddenly gets changed into undulating hills and valleys of tar. And then, one day, you think it might not be so bad to try climbing a bigger hill or a small mountain? There’s a voice saying that you might be out of your mind. But, you decide to take that first foot upwards against gravity. It’s spring, and nature seems to be on your side. Reaching the top wasn’t as easy as you expected and you might have looked a little silly in front of your friends. However, something has changed. There’s a strange longing to go back.
The seasons change and the sun doesn’t hide anymore. Walking is hard enough and yet, you want to climb a mountain. On a day when the clouds rule the skies; you take that second step towards the top. You find an isolated route, surrounded by rocky outcrops and panoramic views of the city below. The closer you get to the top, the further away you leave civilisation. And when you’re on the top; you realise: history, modernity, and nature can somehow coexist together.
Soon, the leaves turn and the sun starts to play hide-and-seek. Temperatures dip and there’s a cool wind in the air. It’s time to take that third step. This time, explore a mountain formed out of ancient volcanic activity. You’re not sure if you’d make it all the way to the top. So, you take your best shot at reaching to the next best spot. It’s when you truly realise what it means to make the journey the destination.
Now, the leaves have fallen and the earth is bare. Sometimes, it’s covered under a blanket of soft, white snow. The sun turns into that friend you think you’d never meet again. You have a choice of visiting a snow festival or hiking a mountain known for its winter views. And since, you’re not thinking straight, you opt for the mountain. So, you take the fourth step into the cold. You brave the crowds of hikers and wind to experience a moment of magic. It was never about conquering a mountain. You know you’re too little for that. But, somewhere along the way, you realise: you may have just conquered ‘fear’.