Monday, September 3, 2012


Yesterday, I went rock climbing on the Swedish coast. Now let me rephrase that: yesterday, I hopped over to another country for a few hours to scale some cliffs along the Baltic Sea and was back in Copenhagen in time for dinner. Did this actually happen? According to the hundred or so photos on my camera, it most definitely did.

I woke up early and slipped quietly out the door to walk the short distance to DIS where the bus was picking us up. The streets were relatively empty save for the few Saturday-night stragglers who were just heading home. Our group ended up being twelve girls and one guy. After an hour drive to Helsignør, we took the commuter ferry for a quick twenty minute trip across the sound to Sweden. As we wound our way through the quaint coastal towns and soft rolling hills towards the climb site, I couldn't stop smiling just thinking about what was happening.

I signed up for the trip on a total whim when a DIS staff member notified us that more spots were available. I didn't know anyone else going and while I enjoy hiking, I'd never been outdoor climbing before. I could not have asked for a better group to spend my Sunday with. As we all took turns trying the various climbs, those below cheered and snapped pictures as each new climber reached the top. It started out chilly and overcast but the sun made a few cameos as the day went on. The site was right on the coast in a small inlet so in between climbing, we made our way down to water to admire the perfectly smooth rocks and dip our feet in the Baltic Sea.

One of my biggest regrets over the past few years living in DC has been not jumping at every opportunity to try something new or different or exciting. At the beginning of the summer, I wrote up a list of all the things I wanted to do and I'm sorry to say I didn't even cross off half of them. It's not that I consider my life boring, but rather it's a twofold issue. When you're living somewhere, there isn't the same pressure to explore because it's easy to say you'll get around to it eventually. You get in to a routine, find that you're comfortable, and have little reason to change. Additionally, nothing is quite as appealing if you don't have a friend or two to go along with you.

This isn't to say that I don't like being alone or that I'm lonely or friendless (quite the opposite, actually) but I always regret not doing something more than I regret going by myself or going with a group of people that I'm not super close with. Case in point: my last minute decision to spend my Sunday rock climbing with a group of girls I'd never met. While I'm not about to go all Eat-Pray-Love on you, I'm learning to appreciate the value of experiencing new things outside of my comfortable routine and usual friend group. The world is actually a pretty small place: one girl on the trip goes to Georgetown too; another two go to American in DC. One girl is my art history class while another and I laughed about our shared lack of pictures with people in them. If half the journey is the climb, then I'm perfectly content to never reach the summit if it means laughing with new friends on a beautiful day along the Swedish coast.

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