October 6 2019

DIVE INTO YOURSELF / exploring Velebit / Lost and found

Dive into yourself - August 2019!

 

Otward bound center in Veliki Žitnik, close to Gospić in Croatia was the beginning. Wow, what an adventure. Before I thought I will spend this year's hollidays doing nothing. And I did. For a week - resting at the sea, meditating, taking my time, my space, being alone a lot, going with what felt right at the moment. Wow it was so refreshing, rejuvenating and fulfilling. Then it was time to experience something new. Online I randomly came across a course where you spend a lot of time in the nature, in a group, hiking a lot and going close to your boundaries. Sleeping in the wilderness. Carrying everything you need for the next week. Sharing time, energy and intimacy with complete strangers. Discovering group dinamic, leadership stategies and learning more about myrself. Just my thing :).

I just felt so much drawn to this that I applied. I was a bit worried what I had gotten myself into. Mostly I was very much looking forward to it.

 

We met in OBC center in Veliki Žitnik. 8 more crazy enthusiastic diverse people who had a lot in common. 3 instructors and two helpers. With the mission to walk to the sea. What comes out of this?

 

Since we met we were actually a really great group. Different ages, diffrent backgrounds, different ideas...yet so much alike. Very soon they gave us our first mission: to come from one point to another (about 100 metres in between) without touching the ground...there were ropes, nets, wooden pieces we could use but not the ground. We had to estimate how long it will take us to finish...uuuf, quite long we imagined. Only the youngest one, Shark, yet not the weakest one, was optimistic that we can do it in half an hour. We all needed to come across, if one touched the ground we all go back. Hmmmm...we just met and didn't know each others strenghts. What will happen?

Well, we started in a bit chaos but soon organised really nicely. There were lots of ideas and we discussed more of them. Then we tried. First walking on a slack line. We soon realised that if we work as a team we can do it - we held hands which gave us strength to proceed without falling down. I must admit is was so much fun. We laughed, encouraged each other and continued steadily and carefully. We were quite inovative and that made it even more fun. We helped each other very much and were working as a team - looking back on the others and planing ahead our next step. At the end we needed to stand on a tyre and to get there use a rope. I was the last and was worryed a bit that I don't make it and that we all needed to go back. I swang across and they were all supporting each other and helped me get safely on board. Wow, it was so much fun and we were so happy we made it that we kept on hugging on the tyre for a while. We had quite good timing as well, a little over half an hour. Amazing :)! For me it was ineteresting to hear Ingebourg say that I seemed so fragile but am so strong. So centered and grounded. Nice to hear ;).

Yeah at the beginning we needed to give ourselves names we would be called this week. This was weird yet soon a name came to my mind. Lilly. Like a water Lilly, so gentle, peacefully floating in water, going with the flow. And so Lilly was born. I really liked this, like I has a second chance - to become who I wanted to be and leave all the rest behind :). It sounds simple and at the same time can be the most difficult thing to do.

On Sunday we ran to the river and swam there and continued getting ready for our adventure. We did another exercise, and this seemed impossible. There was like a  big net and each of us had to go to the other side, without touching the net and each of us had to use a different hole to get across. Half of the holes were 1 metre from the floor. Some were small and others were smaller. We started and we failed. We didn't know how to do it. We became a bit frustrated. Time went by and we didn't do much. Later we started trying. Trying different ideas and failing, yet with every failure we learned a lot, so we continued exploring. We made a plan and just kept on practicing. Soon we were all across the net and very happy this mission impossible was behind us :).

For the week that was in front of us we needed to make a plan of what we will be eating and go shopping with a budget of about 4 eur each for a day. Not bad :). I wanted to be involved in the shopping to make sure we buy nice things - it was quite frustrating making a plan what to eat for the whole week, luckily only  half of the team were meat eaters so we had good diversity of vegetarian option.After packing all of the things in our backpacks and after taking a plunge onto the hands of the rest of the team, it was time to leave. We got a map and instructions where to sleep that day, put our backpaks on and started walking. Ah, it wasn't easy. Carrying everything we needed for the whole week, including half of the food (we had a refill one time) and our group utensils - cooking pots, axe, toilet tool and some other things. We walked less than two hours but it was quite hard. I was happy we finally started our journey and was wondering what lays ahead.

In the camp it was already getting dark so we needed to hurry. The instructors explained us how to make a fire and our homes. We had two bivouacs, made of a large plastic thing put over a rope. It was opened at the sides. I am usually not super comfortable sleeping outside in the wilderness, yet I ended up sleeping at the side and didn't really mind :). Wow, the borders of my comfort zone already started to move :)!!

 

                                DAY 2 / the impossible day

I do not sleep really deep and I wake up usually as soon as the dawn is calling my name. I did some alone time in the morning, as usually I need a lot of alone time. Here was very weird as I was much comfortable being all the time in the group. Sure some walking we did alone, in peace, but mostly I didn't feel like I needed more alone time. This meant for me that the group was something special.

After morning exercise, we took down the bear trap (to protect our food from the animals) prepared breakfast and started to walk quite soon. Still the instructors were very active the first day and were keepeng track of the time. Soon their role would be less and less vivid.

Very soon we had a new adventure,which was descending into a cave with a rope. Although at the beginning it seemed a bit scary it was quite fun :)!

We continued climbing a small peak with a view, it was nice. Descending was adventurous as we did our first bush pushing. This is usually exactly how it sounds - you are heading directly straight, using bearing (azimuth) to get to the goal, and while doing this pushing lots of bushes :)! I usually like a normal path to walk on and this was very much new for me, although in the past I did some improvised bush pushing, but without the compass:)! The path was short and wild and we continued to find a spot for lunch. As we crossed the river we knew this was our spot. The swimming break was awesome. The whole week was very hot and it was so refreshing and recharging to dive our heads into the cold river. We had so much fun, but we needed to continue soon. Backpacks oooon!!

It was easier to walk now, fully refreshed, and we had some talks with the instructors - one on one, about how we are feeling and what is our goal here, what do we want to focus on. I wanted to focus on leadership techniques. To see which are different types and to improve my leadership skills. At my work I need them a lot and that was the reason why I was so interested in exploring this. The walk was quite nice but our goal for that day was very far away. We were getting tired and the sun was getting lower and lower. When we came to a real road I felt better. Soon I realised we can not reach the goal that day so we will surely sleep somewhere close. At the place where we could refil our water, we rested a little and explained our instructors that we will not reach our goal and asked them what are our other options. We were tired. Exhausted. We could sleep somewhere very close or walk about two more hours. The night was approaching. First I wanted to continue but soon I changed my mind. I suggested we rather stay and wake up earlier to continue. At the beginning there was only Forca who wanted to stay, soon I thought this was a better choice. The others wanted to go. I said I can walk but I will not cook and not eat the dinner at midnight. Simba was leading with Filip that day - in the morning we needed to decide who will be two leaders of the day, in charge of navigating and time management and other stuff. Now this was one big challenge. How to make a group decision. I thought that if more people wanted to continue, than we continue. As I was not in the majority I wouldn't imagine to make others stay for my benefit. For me, the best decision would be to do what the majority wanted to do. Yet soon the others started to discuss. Forca and I, who wanted to stay here, were pushing now to start walking. As the majority of the group decided to continue walking, I wanted to respect that and start walking soon. I was ok with the decision of continuing the walk, just very much frustrated with staying there and rethinking what to do. Soon the others decided we will stay. I was upset actually. My wish came true yet I felt it wasn't a group decision to stay and I felt like a burden as we did differently as the majority wanted to do in the first place. Soon as we started to prepare the camp, I settled with the decision. They explained that they were exhausted also and thought that this would be a better choice. I also learned that group decision making can be also valid even it is not what the majority wants. The group is more that the sum of the individual 💓! And the instructors explained us that this day was called impossible day - they set us a goal that we couldn't reach and observed what would happen with the group dinamics:).

Lilly relaxed soon  and cooked the dinner, which was very awesome :). I love cooking and preparing, so this is quite nice for me although it is a bit stressful making sure everyone gets enough and eats good. And in the evening I was very tired already so it wasn't so much fun to do it, but nobody else was volunteering, so I just did it. To be more efficient.

Our second night it the woods. The first night my "bed" was a bit tilted so I didn't sleep good, but now it was time to have a good night sleep.

        DAY 3 - THE CRAZY DAY

In the morning we did some joga and gave feedback to the leaders of the the previous day. We told them one good thing, one thing to improve and another good thing (sandwich technique). Time management wasn't really our strongest point. The leaders were in charge of this and I thought that each day it would be easier to start walking but actually we needed more and more time each time to prepare. That was getting frustrated for me as this meant that we ussually arrived at the camp at the dark, exhausted...for me it would make sense that we would get ready soon and have a quicker tempo in the beginning so the end of the day wouldn't be so hard...


Finally my body was so full that I needed to empty my bowel :). My body was getting heavier and less fluid - I haven't done it for 3 days which is not normal for me... yet it was hard to do that as we were hurrying a lot. I went twice and still was too full of the food we ate the previous days. I didn't feel good and I was very tired because of this, like some poisons were getting into my body instead of out of my body. This day could be called a bush push day. We started bush pussing very early and Frank and David were doing a great job at it. Soon I realised I really need to stop. It was hard for me to communicate this  with the group, to ask for a poop break :). We didn't discuss much about this so it was harder to start the subject. Soon I realised I really need to stop and take my time. As I didn't ask for what I needed when I started to feel this need, I was already very upset - I told them what I needed and of course they listened and made a break, so I took my time. I was upset because I didn't want that the whole group stops because of me...but it was necessary...oh, it was hard balancing between the group needs and the needs of an individual. 


Yet soon I realised the most important thing is to ask for help. And to specify what you need, to be concrete. That helps the group to understand the individuals. I was much aware of when this happened to someone else - someone needed help but didn't ask for it, I was a bit worried about them, offered help and at the same time gave them space. I really wished for them to speak up what they needed - to take care of themselves, as that actually meant to be taking care of the group. When this happened to me I couldn't see the bigger picture - I just didn't want to be a burden, so I didn't ask for help. How ironic ;)!!


This day was a hard day. The thing that made is easier was finding raspberries on the path. Oh, they were so sweet and repowering. Yummy and energising. We did a nice alone time after lunch. Soon we came to a crossroad we weren't sure which road to take next. We were looking at the map, even people who didn't have much experience reading the map so it was a bit chaotic. We tried scouting - going in one direction to see if the road is right. We spent quite some time there and at the end gave up and asked the instructors where we needed to go and they told us to go back a bit. Ooooh, we spend one hour getting lost because we followed the road which felt better and didn't check the map. The group's motivation went down. I was tired and not really happy. I thought that I wouldn't be able to walk much more that day...the group dissolved a little and there were some small conflicts. We were tired and annoyed a bit. 
I tried making some stupid jokes and soon started to have much fun with Filip and David, joking around. We find more raspberries and the motivation went a bit up again. The singing or chanting or making some rythm also helped us to become more connected to each other. As we found a water refill place we were happy. We rested just for a while and somehow got back on track with the energy that was leading us to the imppossible adventures that lay ahead. For me it was beautiful to observe how the energy of the group changed  - there was always someone who started doing something and we connected again!


The singing really helped - Shark was singing a great song ...The littlest warm..I ever saw...got stuck  inside..my soda straw.... It was so nice hearing her with her energy and powerful determination. And to hear her story how she made lots of bracelets to be able to come here from America - she is a very special girl, not yet 18 and ready to take this adventure into the unknown, with her smalldownhillrockafobia....wow!!


Looking back it was actually very funny that just before the crazy conclusion of the walk this day (we just needed to ascend a little more, bush pushing and then were supposed to find a path) I felt amazing. We were very much tired, we all had sore backs and yet the energy level was so high, we laughed and were looking forward for another one hour walking to get to the camp. Although the night was coming we were happy


I must admit that what followed that night couldn't be described in words. I will try anyway. We started with some simple bush pushing which turned into a more and more crazier bush pushing...going down and up on the unknown terrain, being careful about the rock that were moving and not really knowing what was around or in front of us. We were cheering each other and taking care of each other. Soon we came to a place that seemed as a path. I wanted to follow it and told about  the path to the others. Some wanted to continue bush pushing. I thought it wasn't a good idea as we were alredy very tired and one wrong step could lead into injury. Yet I didn't voice it enough - luckily Shark was loud enough to make us discuss more about the decision where to go next...so we decided to continue along the path. Soon we found markations which for me is a good sigh - I love following the markations, knowing it is the right path, especially in the middle of the night. Still the leaders of the day and some others decided not to follow the markations. I warned them and was worried, yet wasn't loud enough again. At that time I thought that not being the leader of the group meant I can not decide where the group goes. And I also realised that for me it is hard to be persistent about what I think is right if there are  more people against my idea. Oh, how I was wrong. I learned from that experience that every voice matters. It is important  to say out loud your worries, especially in a situation we were in - in the middle of nowhere, exhausted and with limited visibility. Soon we were heading down hill and  were bush pushing again..we came to a rock wall and we were very tired as we crossed it. I could see the instructors were getting a bit nervous. They were asking us where did we see markation last. We knew it was quite up. I got that as a hint to go back. When our instructor was passing the rock wall it fell down and the rocks started to fall down. Luckily nobody got hurt but I realised that this happened to the instructor because he wasn't caution, present, he was worried I guess. That was the time he took over. We stopped so they discussed what to do. We turned off our lights and enjoyed looking at the stars. It was beautiful. It was calming. Stopping, making a pause to think and not do something stupid. We returned to the markations and tried following them but soon they disappeared. They made another plan and we did another, crazy bush pushing until the campsite. Wow this was hard. Exhausted, without much energy we chewed on some sugar refills and Crunchies to get us high. I started to get dizzy. I have low blood pressure and adding the exhaustion to that was a great way to the dizzyness. I talked to the instructors about this ( yeah, it is really important in this situations to let others know how you feel) and Flow gave me some dates...still I needed to continue moving very slow and carefull as the terrain we walked on was vey hard - very steep, rocky and full of surprises. At one point the instructors told us we have only 100 more meters. We thought they were talking about the walking discance and since we walked much more I was getting worried that they actually don't know where we were. Yet after much more struggle we managed to come to the camp. Everybody safe and sound. They explained later that 100 metres was meant to be measured in the air distance :). Oh, exhausted and freezing we needed to put up tents. We ate something as we were told that this will make us warmer. We fell asleep in a second....

The funny thing is that for quite a lot of people the crazy day was the best one :).

        DAY 4 - CLIMBING BAČIĆ KUK


Wednesday...although up here it didn't matter what day of the week it was. Without our phones and watches time moves in a different way. There is more time. I loved spending time offline and without any devices that distract us from being more present, from feeling more.


As the night before we arrived at the camp after midnight (so much for our expectation that the ascent will last about an hour:)), we could sleep longer in the morning. We weren't in a hurry and we were so happy when we learned we could shower that day:)! After swimming in the river we didn't have a chance to shower. We found a well and used it to take a great shower and it was much enjoyable. We cooked what should have been a dinner the night before (pasta time-and finally there was someone else in charge pf the food - the Italian :)), and started our walk for today. It wasn't long and yet that day we refilled our backpacks with some extra food that would last us untill the end so we were a bit heavier. It was nice when someone had problems taking more stuff we rearanged and who could carry more offered and later we changed. I liked this - listening to the need of another, we were quite good at it during the day....not so much in the early morning or in the evening. 


Our camp was quite near and the walk to there was pleasant. We set up the tents and packed our bags for an ascent to Bačič Kuk. It is a stoney hill top just above the camp. It took us less than two hours to get there and the end was challenging as it included some climbing (secured) - it was nice to use our own strenght to get to the top and yes, there it was - the Adriatic sea. Wow, it looked so beautiful and peaceful. And far :). Our goal was there, waiting for us. Remember gave us a motivational speech and despite the wind we enjoyed ourselves on the top. But I already started to feel a bit weak. On the way to the top I had some strong pain in the chest which passed very quickly. But then descending my head started to hurt. It was just the begging of a big headache which spread all over my head after dinner. In between, the descend, I was still enjoying as usual I love to walk downhill. Reaching the camp at night time again I started to cook again. In the beginning nobody else enjoyed cooking so it was kind of already normal that Lilly cooks. And ofter it became normal that Lilly also prepared the breakfast and the lunch....I don't really know why accepted that....At the begining we said that each night there will be a different cook yet I kept on cooking most of the night. I do enjoy it and at the same time could use more ease in the evening, not having to take care of everyone's need for food. When I started to distibrute the food I realised this is too much - now looking back I wished I would have asked before that if I cook domeone else distibrutes the food - it seems a small thing but actually when you are already exhausted it is a big thing. And when I needed to ask more people to clean the dishes after the meals and said clearly that  I will not do it (after already cleaning one pot) my frustration grew, along with my headache. When they put bear hang I couldn't even move to  go there. I was so looking forward to close for the day and go to bed. I really needed it. And then the instructors said that we have one mission and that is to keep the fire burning all night and to have always two people next to the fire. 


I was upset. I was angry. It didn't make sense to me that after already a very hard night our next night would be disturbed. We were all very tired and I was frustrated and wanted that we arrange soon how to split guarding the fire. I volunteered for the morning shift as I am already awake very soon. I made it very clear that I have a headache and was exhausted. I really wanted to be heard and seen for the shape I was in. Some people saw my pain, some were more focused on their own. At the end we managed to make an arrangement that I will come at the end for one hour, while the other's mission was one hour and a half long. Everybody wanted to contribute into guarding the fire. I felt a bit guilty already doing less that others although I felt that I really needed to rest this night. When I went to bed I talked to one group member and she said to go back to the fire and to make sure two girls who are staying there get prepared for the bed, as I am doing the shorter shift. The voice I heard her say this made my guilt grow a lot. I felt bad already, like I was not contributing enough - looking now back this is crazy as I cooked 3 dinners out of 4 and prepared lots of other meals. Surely I had some great help, yet most work was on me and I felt responsible to fill the bellies of other with warm, delicious food and that it would be enough of it for everyone.


Going back to that moment, when the guilt was starting to rise exponentially. I told this girl that the girls staying there told me to go to sleep. She was still insisting for me to go back. At that point I felt so unseen in the crappy condition I was in and not seen for everything I did for this group. As this girl was very dear to me I felt even more hurt. I went back and the girls there told me to go to sleep and that they were ok. They were persistsant and to me it seemed fair that we arrange ourself what to do not that someone else interferes and tells us how to organise. As I was walking back to the tent I really felt bad. Although going to bed and not actually having to wake up soon I could have used well that night and got enough sleep. Yet my guilt was nibbing me from the inside. Am I not doing enough? Could I contribute more? Should I do more and more? But where does this end, the feeling of not doing good enough, not being good enough? Wow, a delicate trigger was activated in my body. I couldn't really sleep the whole night. And at the end I didn't do just an hour shift, as I was awake anyway I voluntered to go to the shift one hour before. Luckily I was doing the shift with Ingebourg. She saw what was going on in me. I just kept on crying. She didn't push me, she was just there. Holding the space for me. Letting me my time to process what happened. I felt so unseen by others that I didn't feel anymore a part of the group. If it wouldn't be for Ingebourg I would totally disconnect from the group. She was my connection. My support. My trust.

 

          DAY 5 - FINDING BACK THE CONNECTION 

My frustration continued in the morning as in the end I actually did about 2 hours and a half at the 🔥. So much more than everyone else. Because in the morning when people started to wake up nobody offered to go to the fire and keep it burning, so that I could be released from the duty. I had to ask and got not very supportive response. For me the mornings were chaotic. Instead of preparing ourselves quickly we took so much time. I really don't know why was that.  It made me even more upset and disconnected. I wanted us to organise better so we do it more efficiently. I asked them to come to take the bear trap down so we can prepare the food. I went to the girls camp, to the boys camp, they agreed with me that we should do it now and put down the tents and yet nobody came. I got very frustrated. Where was the misunderstanding? What went wrong? I felt not being heard again. 


The breakfast I spent alone. It felt sooo good. Finally some quiet time, not hearing others, only time with my self. I needed to reconnect again with my self. I felt better. In the group circle I couldn't speak up about what happened. I was just crying, especially when someone said that we are getting better at hearing everyone' s need. I felt the opposite. We could do this during the day, but not in the night. I surely didn't feel being seen.


Oh, I didn't mention yet that I had blisters from the second day on :) - luckily Remember took care of them with so much caution that they didn't grow. And on top of all this and the crazy night that was behind me my shoes were starting to fall appart. Both soles were coming off. I wasn't bothered by this much, Jack Rabbit took the duck tape and taped it well - it was surely less breathable but this managed to do the trick. And so Lilly became robocop for the next two days:).


Ok to get back to my nervousness - this morning was even worse that mornings before - we needed 3 hours to start walking, so I was actually awake 5 hours since we started walking. Unbelievable :). Good organisation skill were sure not our best quality, at least time wise. This day I realised that in the past days I put too much onto the hands of the leaders. I thought it was their duty to do that. And when they didn't do it well I was upset. Yet I did nothing to change this. 


Thursday was the day I changed this. I wasn't ready to lead this day as I didn't feel so connected to the group in the begining. Soon I realised leading is more than a name. It is an action. Everyone can lead without actually having the title. By this I mean to be in charge of something, to keep something moving. I wanted us to be on time for climbing, so I walked fast. Mostly others were walking slowly and soon the tempo was stronger. They were keeping up with my speed. I talked to Forca who was leading and told him that I will keep the tempo up that day and if I need to go slower he should tell me. As we were walking on a road we could walk the speed I was suggesting easily. And it worked. We managed to be on time, after being lost at the very beginning. This can happen if too many people want to read the map :).


I must admit that this change of my attitude - to be more active and not just complain what was not working, was making me feel better. I felt more present. I took some time to stretch on my own - to listen more what my body needs and not just follow others. Lilly was getting back on track. I even started to connect with others again. 

I enjoyed a game we played about 4 different types of leadership. Mine was relationship master - the glue that is essential for a group to function. I could find myself in the description. I liked it :)! There are surely some things I can improve though :)!!


It was time to start climbing. I thought I will have a lot of troubles getting on top, but I actually never fell. It was fun, I needed some encouragment from my team and told them what I needed. They were yelling : trust the shoes :)!! It was much fun also belaying - helping others to climb, being their support. Doing it for the first time felt intimidating as it almost felt like somebody's life was in my hands :)! And the zip line for the end was nice also :)!!


After lunch (we cooked only dinners, other meals were cold, yet delicious :)) we started to walk again. Soon it started to rain and I was worried what this will bring - we were just thinking to ascend one hill top and then some people didn't feel comfortable going up in the rain, so we chose to go around. I really wanted to climb that top but didn't want to push it. We were walking on marked paths which I am used to and know quite well to use the map - but not compass so much. I was helping again from the distance to navigate the map - and it was nice to participate in this also. 


The rain luckily lasted maybe 3 minutes, we were really lucky with the weather. If it would have been raining I don't know if I would have so much fun. Yeah I was having fun again, it also helped me that I had a nice talk with Ingeboug there, about how  I was feeling, I was ready to share with her.


I was so happy that we decided to climb that hill top, from a different path. A precious moment happened there. Shark was not feeling well, a bit dizzy and overwhelmed. We stopped. We supported her. We saw her strength, an amazing beautiful being she is. We gave her time. Soon we were ready to move on. Wow, the view on the top was speechless. Wow. We were happy. All of us. We took the time to make some fun there and I managed to pee on the top. I really enjoy peeing with a view and  to do it I needed to ask them to let me (to have more privacy as I didn't feel comfortable to do it in front of everyone - we were close, but not that close :)). I started to ask for what I want!

On the top the markation path went into a strange direction. We didn't know what to do. Lilly figured out where to go, read the markations well and foung another, beautiful path. We were told we can climb two mountaun tops this day or one or none. Mostly people wanted to do one. And we didn't even consider to check out the path for the next top. I would want to go there but didn't want to push people into it. Later I was sorry we didn't even coinsider the other path because I think that walking on the other top would have been so much fun and beautiful and probably even easier that doing the path we did - going down on a bad path, going backwards quite a lot, and then ascending some more. Luckily Shark took over the timing and she was amazing at that. Clear, giving enough time but also clear about going on.

 
Arriving at the camp we already anticipated what would happen - they told us we won't cook this night so Shark said that we could be doing solo over night. If someone would tell me we will be doing this in the beginning maybe I even wouldn't have come. Sleeping alone in the nature is something that brings a lot of fears in me. Yet since I heard about this option this day I actually looked forward to it. Let's see what happens :).


Each was put into a special place and was given our own tart and ropes to make a small tent. When we were waiting for this I realised I didn't manage to learn any knots as we were always hurrying. No problem, Hope taught us patiently how to do it. And it worked. I peacefully tied the rope and put the tart over it. As this tent is opened on the sides it did feel a bit uncomfortable at some points, I really didn't want to share my bed with a snake. Yet I trusted that everything will be great. I even made an improvised bear trap for some food I forgot was left in my bag - I just put it high in the tree, very simple. Soon I went to sleep, exhausted and looking forward for some alone time :)!

 

  DAY 6 - THE BEST DAY!


The night went by quick. I did wake up more times, mostly because the nights were getting warmer as our altitude was getting closer to the sea level. Yet I wasn't comfortable sleeping outside my sleeping bag, so some times I was getting sweaty in the nights. In the morning finally we weren't hurrying. We had our time for ourselves. I was enjoying it. Taking in what had happened in these few days I had met my team. Lost and found. That how we named ourselves. We came up naturally after a few days walking in the nature, loosing every day just at least a bit and soon founding back our track. Like in life, sometimes you loose your track only to find the right path, your path.


I did spend quite some time planning this day. It was my time to lead the group and I didn't want to repeat the things that I saw could be improved. As I was the only one who didn't lead yet this week I thought I would have to do it alone. I delegated different roles to different group members, so that everything would be more smoothly. I couldn't do everything alone and that is not the leaders role anyway. I wanted to delegate so we would be really performing as a team - coherent and suplementing each other. By these day I have learned quite a lot about my fellow walkers. I have learned to love them, each of them in their own way. I must admit at the begging I did create some stereotypes about them. Unintentionally. Yet each of the member surprised me every day and grew closer to my heart. It opened it quite a lot. To be able to look deeper, beyond what is visible at first site. I could see a jewel in each of them. Hope, so full of hope and love towards every living being. Forca, so light and easygoing, leading us with his rhythm. Frank, so honest and direct and trying to share his wisdom with us. Filip, oh we made so many jokes and laughs that changed our energy from a bit darker to being very bright. Simba, her big heart and a strong will and determination was quite a nice balance. I was admiring David's strenght and calmness and could connect with his humour a lot. Ingebourg, she was like a mother to all of us I think, combining extreme power and stability and also such amazing compassion. And Shark. Morski pas. Such a privilige to see more sides of her - strong and fragile, and everything in between. She was the only one who could keep us on time, doing it efficiently yet with care. Her capability to cheer up the group was also very visible.

Oh, and the instructors. Flow, so gentle and yet so strong and calm. Remember, although joking a lot, being very caring and supportive. And Jack Rabbit, I really admire his patience and being always present. I must admit, there were times I was mad at them, as they were playing with us (throwing small rocks at us, making other jokes or challenges, or giving us a challenge to keep the fire all night long). Yet I felt very safe having them around. And later I realised that everything they did was actually supporting us.


I have also learnt a lot about myself. I want to say more often the things I think are worth saying, although I am in minority or even alone expressing it. To speak up more often when it is something that needs to be said. In a gentle way. And ask for what I need - and maybe I even get what I need :)!!


I did have a nice talk with Flow, about my journey here, what was going on inside. I was thinking about sharing it with the group if the moment would come and later it didn't matter anymore. I talked to the person who was involved and Flow and Ingebourg and it was enough. I felt the group was complete without me sharing what had happened.


After having a nice alone morning, we were surprised to find a special breakfast, just for us. The instructors cooked it with love and gave us lots of sweets. They even decorated the place with colourful baloons. 


It was time to organise the day. We didn't have much walking but we wanted to come to the sea today. I was leading together with Shark, as it was supposed to be always two people leading. It was great to do this with her, I think we suplemented each other very nicely. She was in charge of timing, which was really important. I didn't want to hurry walking and wanted to be careful with our walk, but I wanted to have a nice tempo and quick stops. It worked out very nicely. At the end I didn't even have to divide the roles I prepared for the group, they were mostly naturally helping anyways, so I was just going with the flow. At the beginning I did get a strong negative reaction connected to my decison to take the baloons with me. Everyone was against it. Yet to me they meant our success, our struggle and our efforts. I wanted to take them down, although it was quite possible they wouldn't survive the dowhill walk through the bushes. Yet I wanted to try...and to hang them on our last campsite, to celebrate our succes. I felt so strong this that I didn't want to listen to others who were against it. It seemed useless to them, stupid.  I explained them I will pick up the parts that will blow up and that I will be responsible for them. Yet I felt that during this week I left my needs and wishes a lot behind because of the group needs, and I didn't want to do it anymore, especially as I felt that my decision actually doesn't concern them as they won't have more work because of this. As I was so sure of my decision I insisted despide the opposition of others. 


We started to walk, and I must admit I did feel a bit nervous about me leading ( or actually co-leading), and soon it disappeared. I think that the situation with the baloons helped me to get relaxed - I know what I want and I will get it (of course not at the cost of others). I explained them that the navigation and maps I will be in charge with Filip, and others should trust us that we know what we were doing, because we do. We both felt good reading the map. And we were explaining on the way about the path but didn't discuss everything with the whole group, because it can be confusing if everyone wants to read the map at the same time. And we were always available to explain where we were going and always opened to hear suggestions and concerns. This worked very well actually. We were more efficient this way and the trust of the group in us was building. 


Tha walk downhill was really nice. We climbed a small peak and enjoyed the view, yet the sun was getting stronger and stronger so we kept on moving. There was one part where the path was a bit uncomfortable for some, so we stopped often but still kept the group. At one point I could see the group was dividing into those who wanted to go quicker and those who wanted to go slower and talk more. Yet somehow we balanced again and connected. We made a nice stop and had so much options to eat, I think we ate mostly sweets that day :). Soon we continued and we were very homogeneous. The path was leading us through the meadows with a large family of cows sharing the same direction. We were wery careful with walking on rocks as some were not fixed and supporting each other. It was so much fun singing along the way, I think we sang all of the songs we knew. We were relaxed. We were tired. We were having fun. We stayed allert until the end. And to me coleading this group on this amazing day was also so much fun. I didn't put too much pressure on myself. I divided some rolls (scaring away the snakes) and asked some people to keep up with the energy if they feel like it at if they see we need it. To me leading isn't about one person. It is about the whole group. Each should participate to make it easier and smoother. Each in their own way, within their limits. I realised that as a leader it is important to delegate - some roles can be delegated to the people who are very good at it, and some at people who are not very good with one role, yet it is an opportunity to make them grow. And by one person growing, the whole group grows. Yes we did it, we found our camp and with quite a nice timing, I was proud and satisfied. And one baloon survived the journey :).

 

When we finished preparing the camp it was already getting dark, yet we continued to walk to take a shower in the sea. Oh it was relaxing walking to our goal, without heavy backpacks. After our last short bush pushing we arrived in Karlobag and found a nice place at the beach. We were so happy. We stepped slowly into the sea, reaching our goal, and remembering our journey. Beautiful journey. I wished we could sleep there and not have to walk back to our camp. My wish came true as the guy who took care of this part of the beach offered us to sleep there. We couldn't believe that was possible and yet it was. We had a great evening and were happy and at peace.

In the morning we enjoyed waking up next to the sea. It was a great conclusion of our journey. We talked about our journey and we got great feedbeck from leading the last day. And it was also nice to hear that my decision about taking the baloons with me wasn't well received - I could see how if I would explain more why I insisted on doing this it could lead to more understanding from the team. 

Our bus ride back was telling us this journey we shared is coming to an end. Yet I knew I would still need time to process what had happened.

I was ready to leave although it was a bit hard saying goodbye my group. I must admit, when in the evening I returned to the beach we spent the previous night together, it wasn't the same. I missed the group. I missed our connection.

 

I am very happy I chose this experience and I am exploring more and more the group dinamics and what is the thing that makes the connection between people so strong and real.....

 

July 30 2019
NOVEMBER 2019 ADVENTURES

NOVEMBER 2019 ADVENTURES

27.11.2018. Just sitting in my bed, overwhelmed with emotions. La Palma, such an amazing island and experience that is hard to be described. But this was only a part of my journey. This one I could split in three parts: 1. The wedding 2. Morocco 3....  

February 12 2018
BACK TO THE “NORMAL” LIFE

BACK TO THE “NORMAL” LIFE

 

                                  normal = conforming to a standard, usual typical or expected

 

June 7 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 4 / March - May 2017): training consciousness: meditation, trekking & conscious impact

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 4 / March - May 2017): training consciousness: meditation, trekking & conscious impact

May 22 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 2 / February 2017) - DISCOVERING NEPAL: Joining All Hands Volunteers Organisation

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 2 / February 2017) - DISCOVERING NEPAL: Joining All Hands Volunteers Organisation

21.4.2017

 

 

March 23 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 3 / March 2017): Vipassana meditation - silent 10 day meditation

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 3 / March 2017): Vipassana meditation - silent 10 day meditation

March 1 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 1 / January 2017)- the beginning: Thailand, here I come again :)!

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 1 / January 2017)- the beginning: Thailand, here I come again :)!

June 25 2016
THE LOVELY VIETNAM

THE LOVELY VIETNAM

May 6 2016
MY BURMESE ADVENTURE

MY BURMESE ADVENTURE

March 22 2016
MIXED MALAYSIA

MIXED MALAYSIA

February 27 2016
TWO MONTHS OF THAILAND

TWO MONTHS OF THAILAND