(Re)Discovering Your Passion: How I Found My Feet Abroad and on the Climbing Wall
How It All Began
I grew up in an extra outdoors-y family. Weekends would be spent walking, cycling, or hiking up various peaks in the British countryside. My father’s passion for extreme sports meant that if you could do an activity outside, even in the pouring rain, we’d probably done it. Some of them stuck and some of them didn’t. For example, I remember a very traumatic sailing expedition in high winds and rain, which ended in me vowing never to step onboard a ship again. I decided that sailing wasn’t going to be my life-long passion.
Something that I did take a liking to though, was the indoor climbing center we had near us in our town. We would go every week for an hour or so and being a young energetic nine-year-old meant I could scale the wall with ease. It was something both my father and I could do together, and I always looked forward to our mid-week climbing sessions. As I grew up though, the pressures of homework and choosing to spend time with friends my own age after school meant that my passion for climbing eventually fizzled out, that was until I moved to Germany.
Just Give It a Go
After taking some time to find my feet in the new city, get used to the job, and feel a little more like myself in my new life, I overheard some colleagues talking about a popular rock climbing center not too far from our workplace. Although it had been a while since I’d scrambled up a wall, I thought it would be the perfect combination of trying something different with a touch of familiarity, leaving me with fewer chances of making an absolute fool out of myself.
A group of us got dressed in our sports gear after work and “chalked up”, ready to give these bouldering walls a go. We made our way around the site, trying out a variety of walls with different difficulties, encouraging our fellow teamies as they climbed above us while also making sure no one landed on us as we cheered from the ground. I loved every second and I realized I’d been missing out on something I loved for far too long. I could have spent hours in the center. However, ten years of limited arm strengthening exercises left me feeling weak and a little sore, so we called it a day. From this point on, I was hooked.
Why I Love It
I spent the next few months slowly buying my own gear and proudly proclaiming to my dad that, after a long break away, I am now a “rock climber”! Rock climbing has found a special place in my heart once more. I love the physical and mental endurance of the sport. You engage your core, use your brain to think ahead and plan what your next move is going to be, all while exercising your arms. It truly is a full body workout and you feel fantastic afterwards. It’s also allowed me to get out and do something fun during the dull, cold winter months when going for a run in the park wasn’t an option. It’s given me focus and an aim when I go to the gym as I can isolate my exercises to improve my rock climbing abilities. Strengthening my core and arms is key and means I’m more committed to staying fit so that my climbing ability improves. Lastly, it’s a great place to socialize and energize during the week. Meeting like-minded people is always a bonus of taking part in any hobby. Whether you already have a dedicated group for the activity, or you meet other welcoming, friendly people when you’re there, the opportunities for socializing are endless. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have rediscovered a sport they knew in the past and I won’t be the last. All I can say, is I highly recommend it.
Have you got a hobby that you enjoyed as a child but have forgotten about since entering the “adult world”? Maybe it’s trekking in the woods or playing an intense game of frisbee. InterNations has thousands of different activities around the world each month so you, too, can rediscover what you used to love. Share your story with us between 21 February and 21 March 2019 for a chance to win a GoPro! Find out more.