Thursday, 9 July 2015

The quest is on

Sure sitting in a cushy office and working the nine-to-overtime drill provides a degree of stability and routine, not to mention financial security, but there are downsides. For one, it can give rise to complacency. It’s easy to perhaps find yourself no longer challenged or you become comfortable with the situation – even if it’s not what it’s cracked up to be – just because you might be scared of change or can’t be bothered with the extra effort that comes with challenge and growth. In the end you’re at risk of becoming bogged down by the daily grind of it all. You become stagnant.

The thing is you may not even realise until you find yourself pondering life. Are you happy? Who are you? What makes you tick? What have you achieved in your life? What do you regret? What is your potential? What are you capable of? What can challenge you to find this out? It’s the making of the all-too common identity crisis. And what’s more, it doesn’t have to strike when a milestone birthday is looming. A wedding, a breakup, a death: all of these can trigger a bout of anxiety and self-doubt and the realisation that life is too short.

As I sat on an empty commuter train home after being the last to leave the office (again), the setting sun already cocooned in the blanket of night, I found myself pondering. These exact questions were worming their way inside my head. They unsettled me, repeating over and over like a dishwasher stuck on a cycle that can’t click off, only to start again. But worse than that was the fact there was an ugly great void where the answers should have been. I didn’t like that. Not one bit.  

And so a plan was concocted. Quit my job. Go freelance. Visit or climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 – a feat to be achieved within five and a half years.

This was by definition a comfort-zone buster of epic proportions, not to mention a savings-swallower. But the choice was simple: stay stuck in a job (albeit great with great people), content with watching the minutes, months, years go by and dreaming of the perfect life or actually making change happen, finding myself and seeking my full potential? I chose the latter because the things I could learn, people I could meet, and stories I could share (and hopefully be paid for – a journalist has to make a living you know) promised to enrich my life in ways not achieved through a Google search term.

And so, the quest was on.   

The Volcanoes*

1. Mt Teide – Tenerife

2. Mt Vesuvius – Italy

3. Stromboli – Italy

4. Mt Etna – Sicily, Italy

5. Mt Eyjafjallajökull РIceland

6. Thrihnukagigur volcano – Iceland

7. Ponta do Pico – The Azores, Portugal

8. Nea Kameni – Santorini, Greece

9. Avachinsky Volcano – Russia

10. Mt Ararat – Turkey 

11. Jebel Sirwa – Morocco

12 Ngauruhoe – New Zealand

13. Mt Taranaki – New Zealand

14. White IslandNew Zealand

15. Mt Fuji – Japan

16. Sakurajima volcano – Japan

17. Mt Aso – Japan

18. Mt St Helens – USA

19. Yellow Stone National ParkUSA

20. Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkHawaii, USA

21. Piton de la Fournaise – Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

22. Nevis PeakSt Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean

23. Ambrym volcano – Vanuatu

24. Krakatau – Indonesia

25. Ijen Volcano – Indonesia

26. Sinabung volcano – Indonesia

27. Mt Bromo – Indonesia

28. Mt Semeru – Indonesia

29. Mt Rinjani – Indonesia

30. Mt Agung – Bali

31. Mt Pinatubo – Philippines

32. Cotopaxi – Ecuador

33. Arenal Volcano – Costa Rico

34. Pacaya – Guatemala

35. Lanin – Chile/Argentina border

36. Villarrica – Chile

37. Masaya – Nicaragua

38. El Misti – Peru

39. Mt Kilimanjaro – Tanzania

40. Nyiragongo, Virunga volcanoes – Rwanda/Uganda/DRC

* These volcanoes may be subject to change depending on circumstances such as travel advisories or seismic activity that recommend against travelling to the volcanoes or the surrounding areas 

1 comment:

  1. Your comments on getting stuck in a rut are very true. The effort to bust out of any rut gets harder the older you get too. Suddenly, there are so many reasons not to do it - responsibilities towards aging parents, the onset of insidious little age-related conditions like dodgy knees and bung hips... Good on you for biting the bullet and making that leap into the Unknown. I can't wait to read your travel log as you experience the local cuisine and life style associated with these volcanoes.