The feeling is cathartic: it is just me and the rock. I enter into another realm of existence where I am in full control of my thoughts but my mind is empty to everything but my sole fixation on my next movement. Everything else fades away. I am thinking of the sequence in front of me. My breath controls my fluidity. Defying gravity, progressing upwards, further into the abyss. This is what I love, climbing is my passion.
However, why I continue to climb is not just this. This passion moves me but it also connects me with others. Many of my best friends are climbers themselves and perhaps it is partially due to a shared appreciation for this experience. During my climbing trips I cherish being outside and passing days breathing fresh air and pushing physical and mental limits with my friends.
Life is tranquilo: we hang out, laugh, and complain about first world problems.
This past fall I have missed this element of my life. After not being able to climb due to my injury, and then feeling overwhelmed with studying and grappling with the transition from just climbing to attending a rigorous University, I had not been able to climb outside since I was in Ceuse in August. Returning to Spain felt reminiscent. Reacquainting with my friends, climbing on world class limestone, and just living life day to day was incredibly refreshing.
The Catalonia region of Spain has always been one of my favorite places in the World to climb outside and during parts of my trip I felt nostalgic for my past 15 months when I was only climbing professionally and not in school as well; when I had the freedom to climb wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. This lifestyle was spoiling. I was living my passion and it was an overwhelmingly large part of who I was. I developed incredible relationships and I saw more of the world than many people can boast in their lifetime. Though, by the end of my time away from school I was becoming too absorbed in this realm. With passion comes pressure and the seemingly luxurious lifestyle of traveling the world can become taxing. I was tired of living in hotel rooms and never unpacking my suitcases. As much as I appreciated the opportunity to support myself just climbing, I yearned for something else, too. Something that would diversify my lifestyle and be enriching in some other way. This other facet of life that I was missing was furthering my education, so returning to school was important for me.
While my decision remains firm, I could not deny questioning it while being back in Spain. Climbing and the community involved in it will always fill a significant part of my heart and I know that the rock isn't going anywhere, but I sure do miss climbing on it while I am in New York.
At the beginning of my trip it was difficult for me to realize that my shape was less than it has been. Climbs that I before may have onsighted were redpoints and endurance didn't come as easily. I avoided holds that may aggravate my previously injured hand. My muscles were sore quicker and my skin was soft and new to the abrasive rock. Though, as the days accumulated, my trip only augmented. The climbing rhythm began to kick into gear and my skin grew back tougher. I started envisioning movements better, my pace quickened, and my hesitation to push myself lessened. Grades were irrelevant. My passion was reviving. I was happy just to be climbing. To be outside, to be hanging with my friends (no pun intended...=]), to be living life freely.
After an amazing trip back on rock, followed by a wonderful EntrePrises event at ClimbAt in Barcelona, I am now returning to New York City with motivation yet preparedness. Classes are starting and I have a lot of studying ahead of me, though hopefully I can bring in this New Year free of injury and full of energy for future goals. I am ready to sharpen my time management, to train harder, and to excel academically and athletically. Thanks to the support of the entire community, including my incredible sponsors.
The rock will be there in Spain waiting. And I'll be back =]
Venga a Muerte!!!!