I remember as a child, on many occasions, being woken up by the sound of my father’s voice repeating my name “Charles, Charles”.
Through blurry eyes and from the warmth of the blankets wrapped around me, I could see him standing in the doorway of my bedroom and hear him saying, “come on, it’s time to get up!” The time was usually some ungodly hour and I will admit I often felt tempted to go back to sleep, but I swung my legs off the side of my bed and stood up, eager for the adventure ahead.
While the rest of my family remained fast asleep, I changed into my day clothes and gathered my ready rucksack. The night before was spent preparing for the next day’s activities; checking the weather, circling points of interest on mountain maps, confirming train times and packing lunch and snacks, before getting to bed at a decent time.
Ready to go, Dad and I stepped out into the early morning darkness and headed either to our family car or the bus stop across the street.
Staring out of the window, while riding along, I would watch the dawn light gradually appear. The sun peeking over the horizon of the hills ahead and a warm glow painting the low hanging clouds above the Schwarzwald. Mist dwindled on the fields to the side, and only the early risers and long haulers shared the road with us as we approached the Swiss border.
Arriving at the foot of the mountain, with the sun’s morning beams not yet over the towering peaks, we boarded a cable car. The aerial ride whisked us up, over the pine trees and along the rocky cliff face. At the end of the line we joined a shuffle of people, as they walked towards the exit doorway of the cable station. Stepping outside, we came face to face with the main attraction of our trip; to enjoy an awe inspiring panoramic view of the majestic snow-capped Alps.
That moment made the early morning wake up and bleary-eyed journey worth it every time. A moment when you realise that exploration, outside of the normality of day-to-day activities, changes your mood, your energy and your mindset. A sense of freedom and natural ecstasy from the mundane.
2021 has arrived! Although we currently find ourselves dealing with a continuation of the restrictions we faced last year, we look forward to the dawn of a day when we can awake from the paralysis and find ourselves on top of the mountains once again. I encourage you to take this time to make your preparations. Research places to explore and engage with others online.
Perhaps, you were just about to venture out when the world came to a standstill. You should revisit those plans and build on the excitement you had. If you need some inspiration, then I invite you to read the stories of today's explorers and be encouraged and emboldened by their life changing adventures.