Saying I DO is Not the Only Thing to Celebrate On the Trails


Source: MC Travel

Today I had a bit of time to browse through my Facebook wall and by chance came upon a video that caught my attention. It was a video depicting the famous Machu Picchu, a place that I have visited twice.  The first time was to do a one day hike and the second time was when I organized a group of 30 people to hike the Inca Trail.   But this video happens to be about  not only the ancient ruins, but also about men proposing to the ladies in their lives.  The women as expected were ecstatic as evidenced by their tears of joy and smiles.  The video gained over 4 million viewers, 65, 000 shares, 54, 000 likes and 12, 000 comments.  If you asked me 10-15 years ago whether I would “like” the video, my answer would have been a “yes.”

But fast forward to now, looking at this clip I’m perplexed by how much society celebrates the dramatic flair of marriage proposals as if it’s the ultimate goal in life.  I’ll confess one thing – I’m beyond the age that most women get married. I have never been married.  It’s not my ultimate goal even though the majority in our society sets that as a goal for me.

You see, when you spend tons of time alone on travels which I had over a decade, you realize there’s so much more to celebrate beyond marriages and partnerships.  Women are advancing in their careers at a much higher rate and breaking down glass ceilings more than ever before.  Women are expanding their horizons as they travel the world with others or solo.  Women athletes are on the rise, be it on the mountain trails or in the more traditional sense.  Women are turning towards entrepreneurship to answer their calling and define their own freedom.  There are so many aspects of being a woman that warrant a celebration beyond a piece of paper that says you’re legally committed to one person.

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in the value of having a loving partner in one’s life. Sharing moments on any and every hike would be amazing.  But as we age, we need to be more mindful of the sources from which we receive love.  If it’s from the outside world or our partners that we find the flow of love, then what happens when we lose him or her?  Oftentimes, when we don’t have a good grasp of loving ourselves, once he or she disappears, we end up easily losing ourselves.  That’s a pity.  I’d like to think that love can be more enduring and everlasting than that, at least for as long as I’m living on this planet.

This brings me to the thought – wouldn’t it be nice if one day our society places more value in learning to love ourselves and stop looking down on women who walk the trails alone?  Trust me, I get questions about my being a solo hiker along with the curious looks and wondering minds that question the whereabouts of my partner.  If this video depicted me instead with my looking into the camera directly, hence, looking at the viewers themselves, would they even have the ability to see the happiness within me the same way they did with the couple they saw kissing and hugging?

Perhaps, not. Perhaps they’ll assume the wrong things and disregard that genuine sense of joy on my face so they can instead feel sorry for me for standing alone in that photo.  Or better yet, they’ll wonder where my prince charming was in such a beautiful mountain backdrop.  If I may be blunt, as I watched this video, I felt more concerned than joyous towards the couples as I wondered if they were making the right decision for both parties.  After all, commitment on paper entails tons of hassles, both emotional and financial.  It’s a step that most people take based on societal norms even though unnecessary at times.

But then, what do I know?  I’m just a mountain fanatic who barely has time for relationships, and who, for now, is simply happy to commit to nature  because it always provides me the ability to align with my innate sense of joy.  I know it would be unrealistic of me to expect millions of viewers and thousands of people to like my videos that merely depict a lone female frolicking on the trails, but I’ll continue sharing them, nonetheless.  Maybe one day society will warm up to the idea that we can celebrate other crucial life moments besides the notion of marriage atop mountain peaks.  If it’s truly meant to be, then I’ll patiently wait like any hiker at heart.

For more, read She Becomes a Judge and I Become a Mountain Nomad.

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