Milestone birthdays mean different things to different people. When I began thinking about how I saw myself spending my 50th, I envisioned doing something big, something bold, something totally bad-ass. I dreamed of doing something that others would hear about and marvel, whoa… a 50-year-old is doing THAT?!?
In other words, I was planning my trip based on what would wow others. Because, ego.
So I considered climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Or hiking the 80 miles of the Inca Trail to Machu Piccu. Or even hiking to the base camp of Mt. Everest. (Because at least I’m sane enough to know I’m never going to summit that bad boy.)
I considered all of these. I actually looked into transportation, lodging, guided tours. And then I realized something.
I wanted to ENJOY my 50th birthday trip.
Not to say I wouldn’t enjoy doing any of those activities I was investigating. I truly believe I would, on many levels. But I also knew that each and every one of them would be a total fucking slog. Would there be good times? Sure. Would there be a giant sense of accomplishment when I finished? Absolutely. Would all those activities involve a whole lot of roughing it? You bet your tent-sleeping, no-showering-for-days ass they would.
And I decided I wanted no part of that.
I wanted adventure. Awesomeness. Beauty. And I wanted a bit of luxury, too.
I decided to be kind to my body and soul for a change.
Within moments of this realization, a fantastic trip was booked. One which would provide 10 days of absolute adventure in incredible New Zealand, followed by 5 days of unabashed luxury in beautiful Fiji.
I share all this with you because I found it
disturbing interesting that even as I closed in on 50 years of age, I still found myself fighting an urge to do things based on what others would think, versus what was right for me.
The vacation was one of the best of my life. I got to experience many dream-come-true moments, chief among them:
- Seeing yellow-eyed penguins in their natural habitat. They are an endangered species, with only 3,000 left on the planet. What an absolute gift to see 3 making their way back home to nest after a day of fishing in the Tasman Sea.
- Taking a helicopter to the Franz Josef Glacier and spending the next 3 hours hiking with axes and crampons up the ice shelf. Seeing blue ice for the first time in my life. Flying in a helicopter for the first time in my life. Drinking glacier water straight from the source… indescribable joy.
- Entering a pitch black cave – literally so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face – and then experiencing the pure magic of hundreds of thousands of glowworms casting a green and blue bio-luminescence all around me.
All this was possible because I was true to myself and followed my heart.
Be true to yourselves, friends. Live your life on your own terms.
New Zealand highlights: