Currently, I am curled up on the floor of my new living room with a fuzzy white blanket draped over my aching legs. Yesterday, I told myself that I would take it easy, let my body rest. A few hours after that internal conversation I found myself staring up at a mountain peak that I had agreed to hike up – so much for letting my body rest.
The hike itself, while steep, was not one that most people would label as extremely difficult. However, due to my health, I have not hiked at all this past summer. Being out of shape, in addition to my chronic illness, made the hike really exhausting for me. I had thought about saying no to doing it, but as soon as we neared the top I was ecstatic that I had agreed to it. It was difficult for me, but so rewarding and, not to mention, absolutely stunning. Below I could see the town of Konigssee all the way as far as Salzburg, Austria. There was a really amazing restaurant and bierhaus at the top — highly recommend the pork schnitzel or the kaiserschmarrn with apfelmus (a “scrambled” pancake with applesauce).
Pictures from Grunstein hike near Konigssee, Bayern, Germany.
Having a chronic illness forces you to be more aware of the adventures that you say yes to, and it often forces you to live at a more moderate pace. However, the problem with that while living abroad, is that you do not want to miss out on all of the amazing things to see, try, and experience. For an individual with chronic illness, there is often a bit more struggle to be found within an adventure, than for the average healthy person. And for me, it has been exhausting and exhilarating all at once. Currently, I am sitting on the exhausted end of things.
It’s been almost one full week since Wayde and I began our 6 month adventure in Germany, and in that week each day has been bursting at the seams with activity. Today has been the first day where I have allowed myself to properly rest. It feels strange, but needed.
The past week has consisted of a lot of walking, as we have no car. Everyday has been a mental stretch as I attempt to navigate my way through a new town, new bus systems, new food, new everything with a language I barely know. It has been physically and mentally exhausting, yet so fulfilling.
I’ve been thinking that, even though it’s only the first week, this adventure, thus far, is a lot different than I had anticipated. Mostly because before I came here I had no idea of what to expect when here. I had anticipated issues with health, but beyond I had no clue. I had no idea what a struggle the language barrier would be for myself; how I would miss the small everyday interactions where I didn’t have to struggle to remember basic words, or stare at the person blankly, while feeling like a complete idiot. I could never have known how I would miss the familiarity of home, or the convenience of a car. But I also could have never anticipated how proud I would be of myself when I figured out the bus system all on my own. I could never have known how I would fall in love with the rolling green hills speckled with fairy-tale houses that nestled between the sharp mountain peaks of Bavaria.
That’s the thing about adventure, I guess. It never comes without struggle.
We all crave adventure. We all want someone else’s life, or adventure, when we see the beauty of it. However, we often do not realize the struggle that they went through in that adventure. We want the “highs” of the adventure, but the truth is that we can never have true adventure without the “lows”.
While, my struggles here have been small in the grand scheme of life, I think this is a lesson that is applicable to all situations. You cannot have an adventure without friction, resistance, struggle, discomfort, etc. But, with that in mind, do not let the inevitable struggle of an adventure keep you on the sidelines of life. The only lives that do not have struggle, in my opinion, are the boring ones.