What if I climbed the highest peak of every country

Have you ever made a bucket list? I think for me it started with those Tumblr accounts that share bucket list items that 14-year-old me got all hyped up about. It would be funny to see those first bucket lists I made today, just to see how many of those things I’ve actually done already, and which items wouldn’t make it on my list today.

I’ve felt conflicted over the years about the concept of bucket lists. On one hand, it reduces life to a series of specific, pre-planned experiences without which you somehow wouldn’t have lived, and which to a large extent also correspond to what popular culture (and *capitalism*) feed us as worthy or valuable experiences. All that just puts life in too narrow of a box. On the other hand, if we don’t let a bucket list limit us, keep our eyes out of the box, think of items that truly matter to ourselves, and use the bucket list as inspiration rather than a how-to for life, I find these special to-do lists quite entertaining and inspiring. They make me dream and have a positive view on the world and the future through all the things there are out there to see and experience. In the end, whether we write it in the form of a list or not, don’t we all have some things we want to live in this life? Since I personally love lists, it gives me a lot of pleasure to gather those big and little dreams in the form of one.

My bucket list situation at the moment is that I put all sorts of items that come to my mind on a Notion page, without really thinking too much about it or when and how any of them will come true. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, there will be a time for everything that’s mean to happen. Recently though I’ve had one specific item running through my mind that’s actually a whole list of items in itself.

Since I started bouldering earlier this year, I’ve also gotten more interested in everything outdoorsy, like hiking, climbing or camping. It might be a sign that I’m getting old but let’s ignore that, okay? Anyway, I’ve been camping a couple of times this summer and started getting increasingly inspired by all the outdoors content online and thought I’d like to do more of it myself. At the same time, I follow quite a few people who have taken on challenges of doing something… crazy. Something physically and mentally challenging that gets them outside of their comfort zone and creates an extraordinary experience. Like climbing the Everest, running an ultramarathon, or walking through one or several continents for instance. I have so much admiration for these people, and have thought for years already that one day, I want an experience like that. It’s just never felt like the right time for any of it yet (this is an excuse though, and I know it). But then my brain made the connection between the outdoors and these out of the ordinary bucketlist items, and I thought: what if I climbed the highest peak of every country?

It sounds crazy. Especially considering that I haven’t climbed a single mountain in my life and I’ve barely hiked. But let’s just play with the thought. What if? Why not?

I started researching what those peaks are, how to get to them (obviously I haven’t looked into each one individually, but a sort of sample of them), what kind of training, preparation, time, equipment different kinds of ascents require, and so on. It’s been so exciting just to think about this huge mission and to plan it that I just kept going deeper into it. I got truly obsessed with this idea and can’t get it out of my head. Not in the way that I need to do it all, but rather as an exciting what if. What if I really could and would do it?

Will I actually do this? I have absolutely no idea. It would be a journey of a lifetime really. I certainly don’t have the resources to spend the next 2 years just traveling to every country in the world and climbing mountains to tick all those boxes, so this is rather something I could build over the years as I travel. I know that if I take on this challenge, there will be many times that I’ll have to ask myself whether I really want to continue, but for the time being the biggest question mark is simply that I don’t even know if I would like mounteneering or more technically challenging climbs. So before commiting to doing about 100 of those, I should probably try one 🙂

One is what it starts with though, so this is the beginning of a testing period. An exploration. A ”maybe this will be something bigger”, or a ”this was a cool thing to play around with but now I’ll move on to something else”. Because not everything needs to fit in an all in or nothing, success or failure dichotomy. I will give it a go in the next year, play with the thought and see whether I enjoy spending time climbing mountains, and then we will see. The goal itself is not strictly about climbing and mountaineering as a ”summit” in this context can mean anything between 3 and 8848 meters, which also gives a lot of color and variety to this. To be very cheesy, maybe it’s not all about reaching the top but rather the journey. Maybe Miley Cyrus was right and it’s all about the climb. We will find out.

I normally wouldn’t share this kind of project publically at this early of a stage, when I am not fully committed to even trying yet. But I wanted to change this for two reasons. Firstly, I’m tired of keeping ideas and projects secret until I have either achieved them or at least committed 100%. There’s some sort of idea that if you don’t do something you talk about, it’s automatically a failure. I hate it. Because that’s just life. You get ideas, you try things, some of them you finish and some of them you don’t for a variety of reasons. Why wouldn’t it be okay to share about those no matter the outcome, just to share the excitement, the struggles, the little wins and the learnings along the way with others, get peer support and connect, regardless of what the final outcome is? Life is just one big exploration after all, and it’s way richer shared. Secondly, this specific challenge is so big and such a long term one, that if I’d want to share about it only once it’s done, I’d probably be doing that on my death bed. I want to share this as I go with all its ups and downs (literally), no matter what happens. So – stay tuned and please, let’s connect if you are interested in any of these things! I’d love to talk with other hikers, climbers, or just people with some crazy dream or project on their bucket list!

Until then, keep adventuring.

Girl sitting in the mountains
Picture from 2017 but still one of my favorite pictures of me and also one of my favorite nature memories – Taroko national park in Taiwan. A place like no other where I truly felt something magical in the air from the nature all around.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s