Sumatra is the largest of Indonesia’s 17,508 islands and it was the first island that I would visit during the trip in November 2018.
The island has several active volcanos and was once populated by dense rainforests.
The areas that were once dense rain forests are now populated with deforested fields and palm oil plantations. The road to Gunung Leuser seems like a never ending stretch up money driven devastation.
The remaining rainforests are populated with a diverse variety of wildlife and friendly locals.
Click the images for full size and their description.
Mental health is in a way mental wellbeing. This is about our emotions, feelings, thoughts and ability to solve problems or overcome difficulties.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll be very familiar that I spend a lot of time (most weekends) in the Bavarian or Tirolean alps.
Since moving to Munich, I have realised that in a lot of ways that my my mental health has improved because there are a lot of activities here that I enjoy.
That said, there are also a lot of opportunities on the door step to my parents such as Northumberland and the Lake District, but I never utilised these while I lived in the UK. One thing I did utilise was mountain biking. This was something that I did a lot of just before moving to Germany in areas such as Kielder, Wales and Glentress.
That said, it isn’t just being in the mountains or outdoors that helps my mental health, it is everything surrounding it.
How have the mountains improved my mental health?
Emotion, thoughts and feelings: when I am out in the mountains, mountain biking in the UK or even by the coast, it takes me away from the rush of life, away from my apartment and into nature.
This connection with nature enables me to concentrate on the surroundings, which clears my mind and then enables me to put my feelings into perspective.
Problem solving: being in the mountains or on a mountain bike trail, things don’t always go to plan. The weather can change from one moment to the next, the avalanche risk means you have to wait or take a different route or your path slide away.
This means that you always have to analyse the situation, discuss options and find another way to do things, which continuously helps with problem solving skills.
Resilience: at times you want to give up in the mountains. You could be tired, things aren’t going to plan or just can’t be arsed.
By pushing through these situations, we can learn how to be resilient. You can read more on that here.
Social connections: when on an adventure, regardless if it is mountaineering, a polar expedition or a solo travel, you will always be required to connect with people. This connection could take place in an airport, train station, with your fixer or with locals in a remote town in Albania or even with fellow team mates.
Consequently this helps to strengthen social skills and communicating to different personality types across the globe.
Mindfulness: being mindful means that we are aware of our surroundings, feelings and sensations.
When preparing to head for the mountains or on a mountain bike adventure, it isn’t just being on the mountain or trail that helps with mindfulness, it is also everything before such as route planning, packing, booking travel, prepping food and travelling to the location.
Then whilst on the mountain, the sounds, smells, views and weather all bring me into the moment and enjoy the present.
It is more than just “being” in the mountains that has helped me. It has enabled me to have good mental health even though I live with mental illness (anxiety).
This will also be the same for your hobbies, even with things such as knitting. My mum and gran always have fun looking for their latest project, then finding a pattern, buying supplies, doing the knitting and seeing the result. This all helps with their mind.
Do what you enjoy.
Visible from Munich, it is no wonder why the Zugspitze is one of the most iconic peaks in the Garmisch alps. It’s little sister the Alpspitze protrudes from the ridge like a pyramid perched at 2600m and it one of the most iconic peaks of the Garmisch region.
Although the Alpspitze is the little sister of Germany’s highest peak the Zugspitze, this ascent and descent should not be underestimated.
Are you game for the ascent? Here are 5 things to know for climbing Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze & sister peak, Alpspitze
– Overview -
Zugspitze (Eibsee – Zugspitze)
Length (to Summit): 8km | Level: Hard | Duration: 7 hours | Elevation: 2962m | ↑ 2000m
Alpspitze (Hammersbach – Alpspitze – Alpspitzebahn)
Length : 10km | Level: Hard | Duration: 7 hours | Elevation: 2628m | ↑ 2016m | ↓ 600m (to the Bergstation)
– It isn’t a walk –
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Can you fail at something you can’t control?
Is it failure if you learn from it?
If you stay safe as a result of not pursuing something, is it failure?
These are questions that I asked myself during a June trip to Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites. During the month of June, it is often still spring above 2000m. There are still substantial amounts of snow, especially in the north faces.
Long story short, I wanted to attempt Piz Boe, which stands at 3152m in the Sella Group of the Dolomites.
At around 2600m I was faced with very steep unstable snow fields >3m deep on the north east face with melt water running under the snow fields. In addition, there was a storm approaching.
I didn’t make it to the summit. But was that failure?
Collins Dictionary defines failure as
When you break down this definition, you can look at it two ways:
- I was not successful in reaching the summit of Piz Boe
- I was successful in remaining safe and I achieved survival. This may seem extreme, but in reality, people do die and surviving is an achievement.
So is it really failure if you do not reach your end goal, but you listen to your gut feeling and the conditions around you and consequently succeed in stay safe?
If anything, this is success. Living each day is a success.
The day after this summit attempt, I decided to give it another go via the south face. Was this unwillingness to give up perseverance or stubbornness? I don’t know.
Long story short, I summited Piz Boe via the south face with a lot less snow and more stable conditions.
If anything, it isn’t failure: we learn from each attempt at something we do and this facilitates both personal and professional growth.
I learnt from my first attempt and applied these lessons learnt to my second attempt.
Although I never summited on the first attempt, the scenery was amazing, plus I saw 2 mountain goats hurling themselves down a steep slope and a marmot running to its hide.
It’s about the journey & not the destination💪❤