A few weeks ago I experienced spring break Taiwan style. As you will see in the pictures at the end of this blog, it was definitely a good time! The beach party included jujitsu and ultimate frisbee before the sun went down, then open bars and live DJs after sunset. Things got a bit wild! But my favorite memory of the trip is actually when I unintentionally went "hitch hiking"...
I was walking on a windy road leading gradually up the mountain in Kenting National Forest. I had already been walking an hour and had no idea if I was going the right way. But my heart was set on reaching the top to witness the spectacular view some friends had described. It was a misty and peaceful spring morning.
Every so often, a car would appear around the bend and pass me. At one point, I heard a car approaching and then felt it lurking behind me. I didn't turn around at first because I honestly thought it might be some creepy guy (ladies you’ve been there) lol. Then I heard someone shout something in Chinese.
I turned around to see an older Taiwanese woman dangling out of the passenger side window motioning me to come over. Neither her nor the man driving spoke much English at all. But they encouraged me to hop in the back seat of their car signaling that they were headed up the mountain too.
Would you get into a car with complete strangers in the middle of no where?
Normally I wouldn't get into a stranger’s car with no one else sight. My Mom taught me well. But after already walking for an hour, I was anxious to get to an actual hiking trail that would take me to the mountain top. Sooo I got in their car!
Just 5-minutes into the ride I felt like we were going the wrong way and insisted they drive down a different road. So they kindly turned the car around. But it soon became obvious that "my way" was not leading to anywhere special. So we turned the car around AGAIN and this time I let them pick the route.
They knew exactly where they were going. We parked the car and before we got out they offered me a water bottle and oranges. SO sweet! I graciously accepted the water and followed them across a big open field that didn't look like anything special. But soon a trail appeared that had a guide map posted IN ENGLISH of several hiking routes..."YES," I thought! Exactly what I was hoping to find.
Actually, it was so much more than I was hoping to find...
We ventured through dark caves, witnessed the BIGGEST butterflies I've ever seen, and made a steep hike up to a viewpoint deck at the top of the mountain! The view stretched far over the lush tropical southern tip of Taiwan. Did you know Taiwan is a dynamic tropical island with white sand beaches and glorious 12,966 foot mountain peaks? I had no idea before moving here.
Another highlight was the when the man who picked me up on the side of the road pulled out the exact same D7100 Nikon camera as me! So I took a million photos with my new friend who shares my passion for photography.
After witnessing such spectacular things together I was bittersweet about saying goodbye to my new friends. They gave me their email so we could share our pictures from our enchanting morning together. Experiences like these remind me that life is all about saying YES!
4 Reasons to Say Yes to New Adventures...
#1 The Journey is Most Important
Reaching the top of the mountain was great, but not my favorite part of the adventure. The two strangers I “hitch hiked" with turned out to be the most considerate adorable Taiwanese people ever. They were the highlight of my day and my weekend for sure!
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the destination we forget that cultivating relationships and enjoying every precious minute we have on this earth is what life’s all about.
It's good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. -Ernest Hemingway
#2 Turn the Ordinary into Extraordinary
Of course it's easy to stay present and aware while hiking in a beautiful exotic place right? But let’s be real, the majority of our life is spent at work, at home, going to work, and coming home from work. Think of how many hours of our live's are spent in the REAL world. No wonder we cherish our vacations so much!
But what if we went through every day as if we were on a once in a lifetime hike? Not thinking about getting to work, but instead opening our eyes to wonder at all the new people and things you see along the way. Mindset practices like meditation help us cultivate this type of super awareness. Meditation clears out the clutter of our mind and has been proven to heighten our 5-senses.
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary. -Blaise Pascal
#3 You Don’t Have All the Answers
If I had kindly said no to the strangers and continued walking in the direction I was headed, I sadly never would have found the spectacular hiking trail! I would have missed out on the giant butterflies my new companion pointed out on the trail. Staying open to other people’s advice will get you a whole lot further than relaying on your own life experiences.
We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.
#4 Live with No Regrets
I have never regretted saying yes to a new adventure. Even when things didn’t always go peachy, I still gained something of value from the experience. The memories we make and the lessons we learn from trying new things and saying yes is invaluable. The last thing you want is to look back on your life and wonder, “what if”.
In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take. -Unknown
Check out this slideshow of my photography from this fun weekend in Taiwan:
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate and value ALL feedback and would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Is there a photo or a quote from this blog that you really liked? Let me know :)